Rolling up effort in hierarchical work items in MS Project RRS feed

  • Question

  •  I have been playing with the Dinner Now sample Team Project in the latest CTP, looking specifically at the hierarchical work items. There appears to be some inconsistency between the way work is rolled up (or not rolled up) in the different tools.  It also appears that an issue that existed in previous versions of the Project Integration still exists. 

    To reproduce:
    1. Run the "Dinner Now | Work Items | Team Queries | Workbook Queries | Iteration 1 | Iteration Backlog" query
    2. Examine work items 115 - 118, for the User Story "Customer enters personal reviews"
    3. The Completed Work for the three sub work items is 8 hours each, totalling 24 hours. There is no Remaining Work. Yet the Completed Work for the parent is 72 hours.

    There is no relationship between the Work in the sub work items and their parents. That is fine, as I can use MS-Project to sum these if necessary. So:

    1. Select all the work items in the query
    2. Right Click and open in MS Project
    3. Show the Completed Work in MS Project by inserting the column "Actual Work"
    4. This updates the Value of the Actual work in parent Work Item (115) to 32.  But the total should only be 24. 

    If you check with the other groups, it appears that the effort for one of the work items is always added twice. This problem exists with VSTS 2008 and VSTS 2005 as well.  In the past, we got around it by setting the "Publish and Refresh" property in the parent task in MS Project to No. The rolling up of the Work fields then performed as expected. In this CTP, that does not seem to make any difference. The total is still out.

    From my perspective, MS Project integration is one of the key reasons for hierarchical work items. It means that I can generate a meaningful Project Plan directly from the work items, keeping both the developers and the PM happy without the need to duplicate things.

    Am I missing something? Do I need to change some settings somewhere to get this to work? Or is it a bug?



    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:26 AM

All replies




    We investigated the Dinner Now fields and found that the work items all had a state of Closed.  As you have indicated, the work of the Resource and the other work rolls up in an unexpected way. 


    We changed the state back to Active and Project Pro does roll up correctly.  To achieve this. the TFS Add-In changes the assigned Resource to 0% utilization.  This way we can have an owner without doubling up on the work.


    That being said, I think the scenario for rolling up with closed work items should still work the same as active work items, so thanks for uncovering this bug for me.


    I am interested in your other thoughts about TFS 2010 so please email me and we can set up a time to talk.


    John Nierenberg

    Program Manager

    Team Foundation Server

    Office Integration / Project Management


    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 5:18 AM
  • I really like the hierarchical work items, but why is the rolling up feature only work in MS Project. Why is it not a feature of TFS itself, it shouldn't be that hard to implement it.

    And now we are only talking about rolling up the completed work. I can imagine that a user story is set to resolved when all underlying tasks are resolved or closed. Is that available?
    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 7:45 AM
  • Hi Ewald,

    My example was looking at completed work. The issues exists in both the Remaining Work and Work fields as well in Project.

    I too would like to see the rollup happening in the TFS workitems. It should be consistent with both Excel and Project. However, I can also see an argument that says that it should not behave that way. That people could do work and want to record it at both the parent and subtask level.  Making the behaviour configurable in the Process Template would solve that.

    There is another thread in the Rosario forum that talks about what behaviour is desirable when work items are closed. It would be good to be able to kick off a configurable workflow that can read and modify other work items. We use a concept of "Maturity" to report on progress of deliverables, features or User Stories. It would be nice to have the completion of a task to move the maturity of the parent User Story along to the next level, or to schedule a review task.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 10:05 PM