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TFS 2012 - Priority being changed through web browser RRS feed

  • Question

  • A couple of strange things have been happening to our 2012 TFS instance running the Scrum template.

    Our Microsoft.VSTS.Common.BacklogPriority field, which I've renamed "User Ranking" seems to have a life of it's own. Two separate users have apparently changed hundreds of our PBI Priorities accidentally through the web browser interface. They have not gone into each PBI or have knowingly done this, they were just browsing the backlog - it's just happened.

    Has anyone come across anything like this before? Could it be a bug in TFS? An issue with me renaming the Backlog Priority field?

    Thanks,

    Andrew


    Sad old developer

    Friday, October 4, 2013 12:54 PM

Answers

  • Hi Andrew,

    To explain you what happens see how it works here when you create PBI trough Web Access in two different ways. The second way is exactly similar to you adding PBI through VS.


    In simple terms Microsoft.VSTS.Common.BacklogPriority is the field automatically gets updated by TFS when you change backlog priority. (This will be a random six figure number by default)

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers!

    Chaminda



    • Edited by chamindacMVP Friday, October 4, 2013 5:57 PM
    • Marked as answer by Lockhouse Monday, October 7, 2013 8:13 AM
    Friday, October 4, 2013 5:26 PM

All replies

  • Hi Andrew,


    I think your user have unintentionally dragged PBIs in web access and changed their order in backlog. When you do this Backlog Priority automatically changes. This not an error as far as I know, and it is the way normally a product owner would re-prioritize his backlog in TFS web access. You do not have to open a backlog item (PBI) to do this change.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers!

    Chaminda


    Friday, October 4, 2013 1:30 PM
  • I understand what you are saying but I'm not convinced. We seem to have generated random six figure priorities where none existed previously - possibly when a new PBI was added as one of the users said that's what he was doing when it happened. This was more than a simple drag and drop issue. Also it's happened with two separate users.

    Thanks,

    Andrew


    Sad old developer

    Friday, October 4, 2013 3:42 PM
  • Hi Andrew,

    To explain you what happens see how it works here when you create PBI trough Web Access in two different ways. The second way is exactly similar to you adding PBI through VS.


    In simple terms Microsoft.VSTS.Common.BacklogPriority is the field automatically gets updated by TFS when you change backlog priority. (This will be a random six figure number by default)

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers!

    Chaminda



    • Edited by chamindacMVP Friday, October 4, 2013 5:57 PM
    • Marked as answer by Lockhouse Monday, October 7, 2013 8:13 AM
    Friday, October 4, 2013 5:26 PM
  • Hi Chaminda,

    One thing though - When I add a PBI via the web interface, the Backlog Priority field is always blank. This is the first time we've seen these six figure numbers. We're using the Scrum template.

    Thanks,

    Andrew


    Sad old developer

    Monday, October 7, 2013 10:11 AM
  • How do we turn this crap off, it makes forecasting priorities painful as hell. We're competent human beings that prefer to input priorities with significant value, and then your website insists on changing them ALL to random numbers. Was this really the best solution your producers/devs could come up with?
    Thursday, January 23, 2014 8:28 PM
  • Agree! We were using the backlog priority to group and prioritize items in our backlog and TFS has just started randomly reassigning backlog priority numbers, even when we have already assigned them specifically.  We need backlog priority to be persistent, and not be reassigned by TFS!

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:56 PM
  • The fact TFS re-generates backlog priority field automatically based on specific events yet allows users to plug-in their own values is wrong.  We have several product owners who have managed backlog priority manually by specifying their own values only to learn later all their numbers are gone and replaced with 6 digit meaningless numbers.  It's caused a lot of grief and frustration to some of our users.

    IMO the field should be set to work one way or another, perhaps via a setting so PBI backlog priority order can be managed automatically or by end users on a per-project basis.

    OR, continue to let TFS auto-assign numbers and make the field read-only or entirely hidden to end users.

    Ever try to use drag-n-drop on backlogs containing 200+ PBI's?  It's painful!


    • Edited by jdlaw64 Wednesday, June 4, 2014 12:17 AM
    Wednesday, June 4, 2014 12:16 AM
  • Hello Chamindac,

    sorry that I have to say that but this one of the worst implementation of a "feature" in TFS I've ever seen! It's so much pain that we have to repriorize our hole backlog! Please tell me that Microsoft is planning a solution?! Or is there a user voice item so that we can vote for it?

    But for now I have not understood how I can avoid if I just want Prios from 1-4 that don't get renumbered again and again. Do I have to use VS instead of WebAccess? Do I have to define my own prio column for the TFS Scrum Template?

    Thursday, June 5, 2014 12:35 PM
  • Hi,

    I do not believe it is possible to turn off auto updating of backlog priority in Scrum template or Stack Rank in Agile template as of now. If this is allowed to be disabled then I think it is required to disable the capability of prioritizing backlog using  drag and drop altogether. I am a fan of this drag and drop capability so I admit I am biased in this.

    Look at the explanation of the fields here 

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudioalm/archive/2014/05/14/behind-the-scenes-the-backlog-priority-or-stack-rank-field.aspx

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd983994.aspx

    I think you may have to suggest this in https://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/category/30925-team-foundation-server

    Cheers!

    Chaminda

    PS

    ---

    This is what Ewald Hofman (TFS Program Manager) says " The Backlog Priority field was always intended to be a system field, and our recommendation is to not update field manually." in http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudioalm/archive/2014/05/14/behind-the-scenes-the-backlog-priority-or-stack-rank-field.aspx

    May be the ideal suggestion for this is... this field should not be editable -- Readonly .. or completely invisible as jdlaw64 says
    Friday, June 6, 2014 5:33 PM
  • If it was always intended to be a system field then why is it visible and editable by end-users?

    That's the crux.  It lets end-users supply their own values which lets them work with large backlogs MUCH more easily than drag-drop ... then TFS comes along and blows away the user values.

    Bad design IMO but others are starting to feel the pain in the way it works presently.

    Friday, June 6, 2014 5:42 PM
  • Agree with you jdlaw64 ... It should be invisible or readonly ..since it is a system field and ideally turn off capability for people who do not want it , and make it configurable for a team project - even a customization is ok I think..

    Raise user voice here  https://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/category/30925-team-foundation-server and you have my vote if it suggests turn off capability of drag drop and make it manual reorder -  is configurable for team project 

    Cheers!

    Chaminda

    Friday, June 6, 2014 5:50 PM
  • I posted on UserVoice weeks ago.  I think in time it will get attention as we have Product Owners who are abandoning TFS for other tools to manage backlogs as they think TFS is unusable working with backlogs with 100+ PBI's ...drag and drop just don't cut it.  It's unfortunate such an important aspect of TFS is not very user-friendly for people who likely work with backlog the most.
    Friday, June 6, 2014 6:12 PM
  • Can you please post a link to the UserVoice?
    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:31 AM
  • Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:43 AM
  • IMO that's like stepping backwards.  Some PO's do use Excel but it doesn't resolve the problem and using Excel in itself requires extra steps.  Actually we have few teams wanting to migrate to Jira as we also use the entire Atlassian stack within our org for most NIX-based teams.
    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:48 PM
  • I posted on UserVoice weeks ago.  I think in time it will get attention as we have Product Owners who are abandoning TFS for other tools to manage backlogs as they think TFS is unusable working with backlogs with 100+ PBI's ...drag and drop just don't cut it.  It's unfortunate such an important aspect of TFS is not very user-friendly for people who likely work with backlog the most.
    http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/6006912-backlog-priority
    Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:50 PM
  • Here's the link to the issue on User Voice in clickable form. Please go upvote to get this fixed!

    I'll note too that this problem seems to occur for both the Microsoft.VSTS.Common.Priority and Microsoft.VSTS.Common.StackRank fields.


    - Dan - "Can't never could do anything"



    • Edited by deadlydog Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:04 PM
    Thursday, June 12, 2014 3:36 PM
  • I am experiencing the same issue. it's  really trick. 

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015 11:31 AM
  • We created a script to revert the Priority and Stack Rank back to their old manually-set values.  We then created a Scheduled Task to call the script every 5 minutes.  You can get a copy of the script from https://gist.github.com/deadlydog/b70493cc9c22505af534. You just need to change the $TFS_TEAM_PROJECT_COLLECTION_URI variable to point to your TFS instance.

    - Dan - "Can't never could do anything"


    • Edited by deadlydog Tuesday, April 7, 2015 4:25 PM
    Tuesday, April 7, 2015 4:25 PM