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Thomas Rümmler
Thomas Rümmler arbeitet als Managing Consultant und Projektleiter bei AIT und ist von Microsoft als Most Valuable Professional (MVP) für Visual Studio & Development Technologies ausgezeichnet worden. Sein Arbeitsschwerpunkt liegt auf Application Lifecycle Management und DevOps. Thomas hilft Unternehmen ihren Entwicklungsprozess ganzheitlich zu verbessern. Seine Erfahrung gibt er als Autor des TFS-Blogs und Sprecher im Microsoft DevOps Umfeld weiter.

Thomas Rümmler

There is no rose without a thorn: Using the TFS Task Board to maintain remaining work disregards completed work–learn how to handle it

Freitag, 03. April 2015

The TFS Task Board that is accessible by Web Access is a common and comfortable tool to update task status. A lot of our customers use it e.g. in daily meetings to show what they have achieved and what to do next. Since the Remaining Work field is visible in the task board as shown in the following screenshot, its value can be updated on the task board directly.


On the downside, another important field is ignored in that case: Completed work.


This is an out-of-the-box field of the following Process Templates:

  • MSF for Agile Software Development
  • MSF for CMMI Process Improvement

Typically the result is that completed work remains on the original value, which usually is empty or zero.

In the happy day scenario we can assume that a settled team “burns” the time that they have spent spent on a task. Based on that hypothesis, the following algorithm can help.

Happy day scenario:

If a user reduces Remaining Work but leaves the field Completed Work untouched, the difference of Remaining Work shall be added to Completed Work field. E.g. Remaining Work = 10, Completed Work = 4; user changes Remaining Work from 10 to 6 and does not modify Completed Work; we assume that the difference (4) can be added to Completed Work –> Completed Work = 4 + 4 = 8


Normally, the fields Remaining Work and Completed Work have the following values after updating Remaining Work as shown in the screenshot above:


Under the previously outlined circumstances we actually want to have the following values:


In other cases:

Certainly there are tasks that are not that easy to estimate. Even experienced developers might have some blocking points that counteract their estimation. In those cases the user might manually open the Task work item to manually set values for Remaining Work and Completed Work.


We have automated the manual activity of setting Completed Work in the happy day scenario using a server-side background service. This feature is available in TFS ASAP Online, the Automation Service and Automation Platform for Visual Studio Online. It is available as an official extension for Visual Studio Online as shown in the following screenshot.


However, there are scenarios that do not correspond to the hypothesis explained before. Especially if the accuracy of estimate is too low, the manual work for setting Remaining Work and Completed Work tends to be the happy day scenario.

All others might be happy with TFS ASAP Online, taking care of calculating Completed Work field in the happy day scenario. Hence, in most cases, the developer only has to maintain Remaining Work without any further manual effort. This reduces manual work and avoids mistakes and inconsistencies. Feel free to register for TFS ASAP Online. In case of any questions, don’t hesitate to ask via

This feature will also be available in TFS ASAP  for on premise installation soon.

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