Process Customization

June 19, 2023

Last week, we saw an overview of four system processes that Azure DevOps provides out of the box

No two organizations are the same and no two departments are the same when it comes to processes

even though at a high level the processes may look the same, under the hood each organization/department will have its own variant of the processes

We will see how we can customize the processes in Azure DevOps based on the organizational needs

To view the processes, click on "Organization settings" and then "Process"

Organization settings

Process settings

The Processes tab has the list of system processes and the Fields tab provides the complete list of workitems that are available across all the processes

Processed tab

Fileds tab

Click on the "Agile" process

Agile process

Click on the "Epic"

The process tab for all the work item types will contain the following two tabs "Layout" and "States"

Let's say we want to add a new state called "On-Hold" to the Epic workitem type, we cannot do that in the system process

Notice that the "New state" option is grayed out

New states grayed out

we will now create an Inherited process to be able to add new fields

Inherited process:

Click on "Create inherited process" option from the processes screen

New inherited process

Supply a name and an optional description for the inherited process

Inherited process

Customize the States:

Click on the "Epic" and then navigate to the "States" tab

Click on the "New state" button

New state

Name it "On-Hold", select a suitable category and a color

Onhold state

when we start working on an Epic, we will change its state to "Active" and due to some reason if we need to stop the work in this Epic we need to put that "On-Hold"

So lets move the On-Hold state to an appropriate position

Order states

Now the "On-Hold" is placed between "Active" and "Resolved"

Ordered states

Customize the Layout:

Navigate to the Layouts tab of the Epic work item

The Layout editor is a simple WYSIWYG(What You See is What You Get) editor

Here we can add or customize pages,groups, and fields

Customize the layout

Custom Page:

Let's say we want to review the Epic once its implemented and document the lessons learned

We will add a page called "Review" apart from the default "Details" page

Click on "New page" option

Select the new page option

provide a name and select "Add page"

Review page

Custom Field:

The Review page is now created but is empty

Click on "New field" or "add fields"

Add new field

Let's add a field called "Lessons Learned" of type Text(multi lines)

Add lesson learned

The "Lessons Learned" field has been added to the Review page

Added lesson learned

Custom Group:

We will now navigate to the "Details" tab to add some custom groups

Let's say we want to record and track the approvals of different stakeholders in the Epic

Click on "New group"

New group

Name it "Approvals" and select a column

New approval group

Added new approval group

we will add two fields "Business Approver" and "IT Approver" to the Approvals group

Approver fields

Custom rules:

We discussed customizing the Layout and States of a workitem , we will now look into the process of adding custom rules

Navigate to the "Rules" tab

let's say that business approval is required before proceeding with the implementation of an Epic

we will add a rule to make the "Business Approval" field mandatory if the state is changed to "Active"

click on "New Rule"

new rule

add the appropriate when and then condition as shown below

when and then conditions

Here onwards if we change any Epic to Active state, "Business Approver" field will be mandated


In this article, we have seen the various customization options in the Azure DevOps processes

next week, we will look into the best practices to be followed in azure devops processes

Thanks for reading, Good bye until next week!

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Written by Thillai Madhavan who lives and works in India. Stay updated by following him on LinkedIn.

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