There are a lot of tools available in the market that can help in automating the Software Development Life Cycle. One of them is Azure DevOps.
Derived from the combination of the words “development” and “operations”, DevOps is a methodology that connects people, processes, and technologies to enable the continuous delivery of foolproof products to customers.
What does it mean for the teams? DevOps is a culture or practice which fills the gap between the development team and the operations team. It coordinates and connects previously separate roles to create better, more reliable products. By applying a DevOps culture with DevOps tools and practices, teams gain the ability to better respond to customer needs, increase trust, and achieve business goals faster.
Azure DevOps is used to set a project which provides a repository for source code and a place for a group of people to plan, track progress and collaborate on creating software solutions. All the data related to software is stored under the project.
In Azure DevOps we can create two types of projects:
- public projects (chosen for open-source solutions),
- private projects (chosen for commercial solutions).
For our clients, we always choose a private project due to security issues. Private projects are only visible to limited users and logging in to Azure DevOps to get access to the project requires a unique URL.
Azure DevOps Services: Boards
There are few services available on Azure DevOps – Boards, Repos, Pipelines, Test plans, and Artifacts. Let’s focus on Boards Service here.
Azure Boards is one of the main services of Azure DevOps, fully compatible with Scrum and Agile, and is used in a project to manage and track the work, work with Backlog, report, and provide a clear picture of the progress of a team member.
Advantages of Azure Boards
Azure Boards allows tracking all the ideas at every development stage and keeps the team aligned with all code changes linked directly to work items. It can also help gain insights into the status of the project with powerful analytics tools and dashboard widgets.
What are other benefits of Azure DevOps Boards? It ensures fast delivery of the product as deploying the code to the server is very fast. Consequently, it reduces the time needed to develop the project, as it allows many processes to happen automatically. Thanks to the automation, it’s easy to ensure the highest quality of the developed product by regularly checking the quality of the code before deploying it to the server. It also allows us to roll back any releases or features that should not be seen by the end customer.
And that’s not the end of the list of the advantages of Azure DevOps Boards. It provides us with more agility, at the same time being easy to use and reliable. Thanks to this solution, all teams work together to build a great product. On top of that, it ensures that the whole process of product development is secure.
Features in Azure Boards
Work item is a unit (small or large) of work that has several characteristics and is a part of the product development. Those characteristics are title, description, state, assigned to, completed by, priority, etc., and the most important for me, effort (original estimate, remaining, and completed).
There are four types of work item processes while creating a new project – Agile, Basic, CMMI, and Scrum. Each type provides different types of work items and workflow. I personally like working with the Agile work item process which I find the most complex. But there’s something for everyone.
Work items details in the Agile process are:
- Epic that represents a business initiative to be accomplished,
- Feature that typically represents a shippable component of software,
- User story, which is an implementation of new work,
- Task – a small unit of work,
- Bug – something missed or implemented in a wrong way,
- Test case for a feature,
- Issue – any other custom type.
The collection of work items that will be used for future development is a Backlog. There are two types of Backlog: Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog. Product Backlog is an ordered list of everything that is known to be needed in the product. Sprint Backlog is the collection of work items that are in the TO DO state. Backlog is used to quickly define the task, user story, bug, and manage priorities, as well as to quickly assign work items to team members and forecast work to estimate what can be delivered within a sprint.
Azure DevOps Boards – Powerful and Customisable Project Configuration
Azure DevOps allows us to customise the project to meet the specific needs of the clients. So, we can adjust any existing Azure DevOps work process to create your own, dedicated version with your custom names and other features. Furthermore, it’s possible to customise work item’s layout as well as add new custom fields and their location. It’s completely flexible and tailored to your requirements. Custom dashboards give you all the information you need to organise projects in a single view, as well.
Expert Insights on the secrets of running IT projects