In Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2012 Update 2, Microsoft introduced the ability to tag Work Items. You can check out the full article form Microsoft here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/vstudio/dn132606.aspx. I absolutely love the idea of tagging Work Items. Especially because they allow you to add custom metadata without needing to do any WITD customization.

Product Backlog Work Item Tags

Product Backlog Work Item Tags

As I mentioned in a previous post, this is a great help to enable the Single Team Project approach. However, there are some big problems, that IMO, make Work Item Tags almost unusable for any large project.

  • Tags in their current form are only really usable in Web Access. When viewing WI’s in VS or MTM you can’t enter/modify tags, and you can only even see them in the results grid, the WI Detail form doesn’t appear to include tags.
  • I can’t query by tags in my WI Queries
  • I can’t merge tags.  Say if I had a tag to indicate hot fix bugs, and some people typed “HotFix” and some typed “Hot Fix”.  Even once I discover this there’s no way to easily correct the tags other than going into each Work Item one at a time and changing it (can’t use Excel to bulk edit Tags either).
  • I can’t delete tags.  So in the above HotFix example, even if I go through and change every WI to “HotFix” the next time somebody creates a new one they will still see the incorrect “Hot Fix” tag in the dropdown.
  • If I have tags that I’m using to categorize Work Items, say “Priority: High”, “Priority: Medium”, “Priority: Low”, I may want to go and ensure that every WI has a Priority tag assigned.  As far as I can tell there is no way to search/query/filter for this.  I can’t do a “show me all work-items without one of these 3 tags”. You can’t do any kind of “negative” filtering.
  • I can’t filter SSRS reports or generate excel based reports on tags.
  • I can’t have security on tags, who can create tags, delete tags, scope tag groups to teams, etc.

These issues are big enough blockers that I can’t recommend teams use tagging until at least some of them have been resolved.  WI Tagging makes for a great demo, but it needs some more love and care before most of my teams can actually start using it.

This Article Was Originally Published on Dylan Smith Geeks with Blogs

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Imaginet is your trusted technology partner who turns your business innovation ideas into reality. 20+ years | 1200+ satisfied customers | 2500+ successful engagements. Located in the United States and Canada. Services offered worldwide. Contact us today at info@imaginet.com or 1-800-989-6022.

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