TFS Integration Tools – Can I migrate all work items from one team project collection to another?

This blog post summarises the test results in response to the MSDN Forum post: Migrate ALL work items (for all projects in team collections), whereby my understanding of the forum post was targeting scenario 3 below.

Scenario 1 – Migrate all Work Items from a team project collection using a 1:1 team project relationship


Answer to this one is YES, this is a standard and supported scenarios when using the Team Foundation Server Integration Tools. You can create one session group with multiple sessions (manual configuration file tweaking) or perform the migration team project by team project, each configured in its own session, within a session group.

Scenario 2 – Migrate all Work Items from a team project collection using a many:1 team project relationship


Answer to this one is YES, this is a standard and supported scenarios when using the Team Foundation Server Integration Tools.

Scenario 3 – Migrate all Work Items from a team project collection using a 1:1 team project relationship, but tweaking with the WIT query to read all WIT from source team project collection


This one required some testing to confirm the immediate response that popped up in my mind, which I performed as follows:

  • Create a testing Virtual Machine and create two team project collections.
  • Create two test team projects in team project collection A and one team project in team project collection B.
  • Create a migration session which looks for all Work Items of types used in source.
  • Cross my fingers and run the migration

The results show that even when we remove all filters from the WIT query, the migration is still tied to the configured team project and only the WIT data from the configured source team project are processed. Only WITs from the TiP_POC_Test_2 team project were migrated.

Answer to this one is NO, when using the tools out of the box.

You could customize the out-of-the-box WIT Adapter so as not to be bound to the source team project, but this is NOT recommended.

Take NOTE of limitation!

  • Source and Target team project process templates need to be identical, otherwise custom field and value mapping must be included with the session configuration.
  • Limited to migrating only Version Control items, Work Items, and the links between them.
  • Work Item IDs and Changeset numbers are not preserved during migration and new IDs are assigned sequentially as items are migrated.
  • Timestamps on work item revisions and changesets will be updated to the time of migration.
  • Work Items of type Test Case are not migrated completely.

If you are looking at moving or splitting team project collections, we recommend that you explore the following first:

Comments (12)

  1. Martin Hinshelwood says:

    When you say "Work Items of type Test Case are not migrated completely" what does that mean? That is a pretty critical limitation that makes the TFSIP all but useless for users of 2010 that have adopted MTM.

    When will this be fixed?

  2. Test Cases are just Work Items and they actually migrate as part of a Team Foundation Server Integration Tools migration, BUT … Test Cases contain custom controls (test steps), which themselves contain metadata that is specific to the team project environment. The content of these custom control is migrated “as is”, which will causes breaks on the target environment.

    When will this be fixed? At this stage we have no dates, but it is on the backlog.

  3. Allen Feinberg says:

    No Date?!?! Grrrr…..Still waiting to see this fixed.

    I'm a firm believer that due to the lack of adoption of the TFS TIP by any partners the TFS TIP is Dead on Arrival and should be avoided at all costs.

    See what I wrote exactly 2 YEARs ago to the day.…/8001497c-75f1-402a-a72b-aaf67bc349ce

  4. Allen, I would not go as far as saying "any partners", because there are a number of partners who have successfully used and extended the TFS Integration Tools. Any solution that replays history through the Team Foundation Server API has the same constraint, which is why we are strongly recommending the in-place upgrade or backup & restore scenarios for upgrades and migrations.

    You will be the first to hear when we finally tick off the date impediment 🙂

  5. Gil says:

    Hi ,

    So I cannot migrate work items content which connected to the MTM…?

    assuming I want to migrate work items from other types and keep the links from the work items to these test cases.

    Do I have an alternative way ?

  6. @Gil, what do you mean "connected to MTM"? I assume you mean test cases and unfortunately there is currently no support for test cases and shared steps. Can you not use a team project collection move?

  7. Gil says:

    Sorry I meant test cases which connected to MTM, meaning that the test cases has already test runs and data and not only the test case steps.

    In addition the test cases are linked to other work items like bugs etc..

    I didn't see any problem with shared steps, the TFS migration tool doesn't migrate them ? cause I saw they were migrated fine.

    I can't use team project collection  move , cause I have one project in a collection that I want to split to 3 projects in another collection,one part from the work items and VC files to move to one project, second part of work items and VC files to another second project , and rest to a third project, and the WI contains test cases and shared steps and more types like Bug, VCR, SR and Tasks and of course I want to keep the links between them and the links to the changesets of the VC files.

    what are you recommending me to do ?

    Thanks a lot ,


  8. Gil says:

    Hi ,

    you are right I meant test cases, I saw that the content of the test runs is not migrated to the target project.

    I need to migrate work items including test cases and shared steps (which I saw that passed fine to the target when I tested it) and keep the links between them and also VC files and the changesets between them to the work items.

    I cannot use move collection because I need to split 1 project to 3 different projects, and I thought to do that with the queries in the TFS integration tool.

    What do you recommend me to do ?

    Thanks a lot,


  9. The best is to carefully test your scenario. For example the moving of Test Cases and determining if the limitations are acceptable or are blockers. Likewise you would need to carefully test your queries which you are planning to use to split yout team project and be aware that narrow queries can introduce ubnexpected behaviour. See…/tfs-integration-platform-configuration-question-answer-9.aspx and…/tfs-integration-platform-why-you-should-avoid-narrow-queries-q-amp-a-32.aspx for more information.

  10. Gil says:

    I understand from the links you sent me about the narrow queries that it will not behave well in a synchronize situation and not in a one way migration ,

    am I right ?

    cause I'm looking for one way migration from source project to destination.

    about the test cases so you are saying that I should consider the limitation and see if I can live with that, so I don't have any under option….?

    except from maybe implementing my own adapter, which will take my along long time cause I don't need just test cases but and 5-6 types. Correct ?



  11. @Gil, narrow queries can also raise their ugly head during migrations in terms of links. If your WIT migration is narrower than your version control migration, or vica versa, you may lose links. As outlined in the migration guidance we recommend a pilot and testing, testing, testing, before you click the button in production.

  12. Anand Sudhakaran says:

    I need to keep 25 Team Projects workitems in sync between 2 TFS Servers. A(left) TFS 2010 and B(right)TFS 2012 [Update 2]. The TFS 2012 Update server has a detach and attach from the TFS Server of 1 collection. The team projects have been upgraded to the latest update 2 templates via the web access configuration wizard. I can't seem to figure out how to have multiple team projects setup under 1 session.

    How do I setup a multiple team project mapping in one session?

    Is it now possible to sync test case workitems? Some of the teams are heavy users of test cases.

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