Promoting a PBI to a Feature (Epic)

Promoting a PBI to a Feature (Epic)

January 29, 2015 | Scrum, TFS

For Scrum Teams using TFS 2013 to create and manage their Product Backlog, they may want to take advantage of the new Agile Portfolio. This “higher level” backlog allows a team or organization to plan and track initiatives, features, epics, etc. The term “Feature” is the default, but with on-premises TFS, you can customize this.

Recently, a team I was working with renamed Feature to Epic, and then wanted to “promote” several of their current PBI work items to Epics. I supported this decision, because it helps keep the Product Backlog “pure” – only containing items than can actually be developed. I wrote a script to create Epics which were basically copies of the respective PBIs. Part of this script was to set the original PBI to the Removed state, but I wanted to add a new reason that was more meaningful than “Removed from the backlog”.

Step 1 – I edited the¬†Product Backlog Item work item type definition to add a new Reason …

<TRANSITION from=”Approved” to=”Removed”>
<DEFAULTREASON value=”Removed from the backlog” />
<REASON value=”Promoted to Epic”/>

Step 2 – I removed the ReadOnly=”True” attribute from the respective Control (if necessary) …

<Control Type=”FieldControl” FieldName=”System.Reason” LabelPosition=”Left” Label=”Reason” ReadOnly=”True”/>

After importing the updated WITD and refreshing the page, I get the capability I want …


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