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.
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.
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