New “Basic” Process available in Azure Boards

Microsoft introduced a new process in Azure Boards called “Basic“. Now Azure DevOps supports four different templates to address different team size and projects with different needs and processes. New “Basic” process is very similar to github issue concept.

What does the world look like in Basic mode?

It’s all about simplicity. It just makes the process very simple and take the heavy-planning-and-backlog-management bits out of the equation. If you are not maintaining an extensive multi-layer portfolio backlog where delivery must be tracked in different levels (and you probably have couple of cross functional teams), then “Basic” is for you.

You have a three-level hierarchy of ‘Epics”, “Issues” and “Tasks”. Technically speaking, everything is an Issue. If you are familiar with “Agile” or “Scrum” templates in Azure DevOps, an Issue is equivalent to a “User Story” or “Product Backlog Item (PBI)” or “Bug”. You’ve heard it right, there is no such a thing like Bug item. An issue is what you and your team need to deal with – it can be a bug investigation, bug fixing, feature development or a code improvement. You can breakdown an issue to some small tasks (this is usually done by developers) and then track your tasks as usual. Epic comes into the picture when you want to group couple of issues as a deliverable.

Is “Basic” template right for me?

First, lets’ look at the summary of all templates:

Agile:
This process is great if you want to use Agile methodologies to execute the project. You should choose Agile template if you want to track “User Stories” and “Bugs” on the Kanban board. This is recommended if you want to deliver a User Story from requirement gathering and design to coding, testing and deployment in one “iteration”. You manage your portfolio backlog through “Features” and “Epics” in this template.

Scrum:
Choose Scrum process if you want to use Scrum practices to plan and execute the project. Using Scrum template you can track “Product Backlog Items” and “Bugs” on the Kanban board. You manage and track your portfolio backlog through “Features” and “Epics”.

CMMI:
You should choose CMMI if you want to have auditable record of decisions and change requests. Using CMMI template you have to manage “Requirements” at backlog level and “Features” and “Epics” at portfolio backlog level. “Change Requests”, “Issues”, “Risks” and “Reviews” are other types of work item in this template.

Basic:
You should choose Basic if you don’t want to manage your portfolio backlog extensively and you see “Epic” as a deliverable. in this template you only have “Issues” to track your feature development and bugs.

Basic is a right fit for you if you are not into complex processes. It may not be scalable enough when it comes to big teams and complex plannings and executions. In both Scrum and Agile you can plot out complex delivery and feature road maps, while basic by nature is not really suitable for long-term multi-level planning where sometime you need to track the progress of a deliverable across couple of sprints or even (Hopefully not!) releases.

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