New Feature: Delivery Plans for Visual Studio Team Services

Today, we’re announcing a brand new Visual Studio Team Services feature… Delivery Plans.

plans

What are Delivery Plans?

When you’re planning and tracking work, it’s often necessary to see that work across Teams and Projects.  Visual Studio Team Services already provides customizable Kanban boards and Backlogs to help teams get their work done, but it’s often difficult to assemble the data from all those Boards and Backlogs into a comprehensive view.  Delivery Plans changes all that. A Delivery Plan is a view of the work from multiple teams (and multiple projects) laid out on a calendar with each team’s interations. Each row in the view represents the work from a team’s backlog, with each card corresponding to a work item — user story, feature, or epic. As you horizontally scroll through the calendar, work in future (or past) iterations comes into view.

Like the Kanban board, a Delivery Plan is an interactive work board, although one designed for multiple teams. You can add teams from across all the projects in your account.  If the plan needs updating, you can simply drag cards to update the iteration path. And, like the Kanban board, you can customize the card fields so that you can see relevant information for your work.

Delivery Plans in practice

Internally, we’ve been testing delivery plans for several months with a focus on sharing the schedule of new Features being added to Team Services. Every three weeks, we review our Delivery Plan to discuss whether we’ve set the right priorities and determine if dependencies exist.

Some of the questions that we ask of teams in our 3-sprint reviews are:

  • How confident are the teams in meeting the deliverables scheduled for each sprint?
  • Are dependencies across teams adequately addressed via the planned deliverables?
  • Are there gaps in the schedule? What’s the cause? Can this be mitigated?

Next steps

Delivery Plans are available for public preview on all Team Services accounts. You begin by installing the Plans extension available from the Visual Studio marketplace. Delivery Plans will be made available in Team Foundation Server (TFS) in a future release.

We have additional features to add to Delivery Plans in the next few months. A few highlights are …

  • Markers to highlight key dates (such as release dates and customer demonstrations) on the plan.
  • Field Criteria which will allow you to tailor your plans to only show a subset of cards (such as work items with a certain tag or other field value)
  • Dependency tracking. Highlighting dependency links between work items and whether they are scheduled to be resolved successfully.

Please install the extension and leave feedback on Uservoice about other views and additions that you would like to see on Delivery Plans.

To learn more about installing and using delivery plans, see Review team plans.

Derrick Fu
Program Manager, VSTS

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