Linking Work Items to UML Model Elements with the VS 2010 Feature Pack

Now that the Visualisation and Modelling Feature Pack is out, I thought it was about time I had a look at some of the new capabilities. As is it happened I needed to look into one specific feature first; linking work items to model (UML and other) elements. Without the feature pack you can associate model elements with work items but this allows the reverse association.


I’d use this for a couple of different reasons. First, I’d like to be able to simply navigate in either direction – from UML to work items and vice versa. Second there are some instances when the most important association is from a work item to a model. An example might be a UML activity diagram that provides the business process description that relates to a requirement (user story, use case etc.).


First, you need to download the feature pack. Note that this is only available to MSDN subscribers, and this is part of the differentiation between a Feature Pack and a Power Tool. Slightly strangely this particular feature is not installed with the rest of the feature pack, so you need to follow these instructions to install the model link element. It’s straightforward and only takes a minute but it would have been better if this was installed for you….


Now it’s installed you can start to use it. You’ll need two things: a work item and at least one model element. In the work item you want to link to a model element select the All Links tab and select the Link To button:


If the installation of this feature was successful you should now see a new link type of “Model Link”:


Next, click on Browse. In my case I have several UML diagrams and an architecture layer diagram to choose from:


I’ve expanded the Use Case diagram and selected UseCase1 to link to my work item. Click OK, and the link should be added to the list of links:


Double-click (or right-click and use the menu) and this will open the linked model element:



So; pretty straightforward and very useful. Note that you can have more than one model link in each work item, and that the modelling project needs to be open and under source control in order for the link to work for other users.

I hope that was useful and I’m going to take a look at some of the other feature pack, well, features, shortly.



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