Agile process using Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps

The agile process proposes an incremental and iterative approach to software design. Here, we build the software incrementally from the start of the project, instead of delivering it all at once at the end. Agile projects have sprints or iterations which are of short duration i.e., it can vary from 2 to 6 weeks. At the end of each iteration, a working module should be delivered. This process allows the customer to interact and work with functioning software at the end of each iteration. 

  • Each release has separate test plans which help in tracking things easily.  
  • Less Documentation.
  • Regular feedback from the end users.  
  • Defects were identified and fixed immediately; hence it reduces the cost.  
  • Minimal planning. 

What is Azure DevOps?  

Azure DevOps is a version control, reporting, requirements management, project management, build automation, testing, and release management are all functions offered by the Microsoft software known as Azure DevOps Server. Software teams may track work, manage code, perform builds, deploy applications, and manage testing with the help of the Azure DevOps toolkit. It is a centralized, full-featured, and flawlessly integrated collection of tools that can be applied to almost any software project.  

How can this process be achieved through Azure DevOps? 

Here we use Work item types to plan and track the progress of software projects. 

Mapping Azure DevOps with Agile process terms 

  • Defining epics, features and user stories as Azure DevOps work item types. 
  • Prioritizing and estimating work items. 
  • Dividing backlog items into tasks. 
  • Creating test plans and defect tracking. 
Defining Epics, Features and User stories as Azure DevOps Work item types 
  • Epic: Epic helps teams effectively manage and groom their product backlog. It is a very large user story which is further broken down into sub-stories. They are generally too large to be implemented in one Sprint/Iteration and are difficult to measure due to their complexity. 
  • Features: A feature is a section of epic’s work that offers value and advances epic’s completion. It provides business value. It must have enough definition for the team to provide an estimate of the work involved in implementing and testing. Features are further broken down into stories. 
  • User Story: A user story helps to develop a simplified description of a demand. A user story is used to describe how a project will provide value to the end user. Then, it is the responsibility of the development team to figure out how to write the code that will satisfy the user story’s requirements, and the QA team will begin creating test cases documented using the acceptance criteria in the user story. In ideal circumstances, developers work closely with business owners and stakeholders to elucidate the specifics as they create the code. 

Azure DevOps

  • Test Scenarios and Test cases: Azure Boards provides a specific work item type to track all the end-to-end functionality of the software application. It includes steps, data and expected results for testing. 
  • RTM (Requirement Traceability Matrix): A document called the Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) connects requirements through the validation process. The Requirements Traceability Matrix’s goal is to make sure that the test protocols cover all the criteria that have been specified for a system.

Azure DevOps

Prioritizing and Estimating work items: 
  • Create a List: This step includes meeting customers and taking down all the details and features that they want to see in their software. We call it a User Requirements List, and this becomes the to-do list for this project. 
  • Estimating and Sizing: After creating a user list, scale stories in relation to one another using agile estimation methodologies to determine how many days it would take to complete each story. 
  • Setting Priorities: After giving an estimate you can get the customer’s help to know their preference. The user will be able to prioritize the list so the user will be able to complete the task and the rest of the user can pick the least prioritized tasks.

Azure DevOps

Dividing backlog items into tasks 
  • Using Agile processes, the team divides the work and defines tasks at the start of each sprint/iteration, and each team member works on those tasks. Tasks can be development, testing, and any other kind of work. For example, a developer can define tasks to implement the assigned user stories, and a tester can define tasks to write and execute the test cases. It helps in tracking Original Estimate, Remaining Work, and Completed Work. 

Azure DevOps

Creating Test plans and Defect tracking 

Test Plans include creating test plans, test cases, running manual tests, and explanatory tests for every person involved in the software development process. 

  • Requirement based: A requirements-based test suite is mainly created for a work item that has defined acceptance criteria. 
  • Query based: Users can create a work item query for selecting the test cases. Users can create their own query, along with the values of work type and category. It works on the criteria available and allows you to reconstruct a query for user acceptance.
  • Static based: Users can be created just by entering a name or tags is used as a container for other test suites or a place to create ad-hoc test cases. Also test cases can be added manually.

Defect Tracking in Azure DevOps is used to capture the issues, prioritize, assign them to team members and track the progress. In such scenarios, Azure Boards provides a work item type said to be a bug. Work items of bugs provide all the features of other work item types. 

Azure DevOps

Organizing backlogs 

  • Inputting features and Backlog items 
  • Estimating start and end dates for releases and Sprints 
  • Recording work remaining and completed task status 
Inputting features and Backlog items: 
  • Use to plan, prioritize, and organize the work for a team to do within our product backlogs. Backlogs represent the work items as lists. A product backlog represents the project plan, the roadmap for what the team plans to deliver. It also provides a repository of all the information you need to track and share with the team. 
  • We have different types of backlogs which are as follows:
    1.Portfolio backlog: User will be able to see backlog for epics and features
    2.Requirement backlog: More detailed backlog with issues, product backlog items, or user stories
    3.Iteration backlog: Task-level backlog for each time-scoped iteration 
Estimating start and end dates for Releases and Sprints: 
  • Scrum: Scrum is an agile project management framework that helps team members to structure and manage their work through a set of principles and practices. Scrum helps teams to learn through experiences and self-organize while working on a problem which leads to team collaboration and continuous improvements.
  • Sprint: Sprints makes projects very manageable, allows teams to ship high quality work faster and more frequently, giving them more flexibility to adapt to the changes.  
  • Sprint Planning: In scrum, sprint planning is a process that establishes what can be accomplished and how in the upcoming sprint. Sprint planning’s goal is to specify what can be completed in a sprint and how it will be done. The entire scrum team collaborates on sprint planning. 

Azure DevOps

Recording work remaining and completed task status: 
  • A burndown chart is a data visualization tool that Agile teams use to track the progress of a project in a sprint. It helps management teams to outline the remaining work and the percentage of work completed in each iteration.   


Azure DevOps can drive a development team to achieve more. Specifically, unlocking key benefits like ensuring project tasks that are entered into the system with estimated effort and time. Determining a series of iterations to break the project into time periods, constantly updating the effort remaining on the tasks and applying forecasting and analysis tools to action for continuous improvement. Thus, all the work items available in Azure DevOps describe approaches to help the teams for tracking results, end-to-end incremental delivery, maintenance of requirements, team collaboration, continual planning, learning and work items with respect to the Agile process. 


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Bellapu Rupa

She is an experienced Senior Quality Analyst specializing in the field of SharePoint and Database Testing. She has been handling multiple client-facing projects and training and managing a team of QAs working in various projects. 

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