At what Work Item level does the Product Owner prioritize in TFS?

by Jason   Last Updated July 11, 2018 22:05 PM

Our team is reviewing our Agile process while we look at moving to Kanban style flow instead of Sprints. One question we are having a hard time answering is

At what level (what type of Work Item) should the Product Owner be prioritizing at?

In our mind, it comes down to either Feature or User Story (Bug). However, no matter which one we choose, we are seeing scenarios where it would cause problems.

User Story

Our understanding is that the developers always work at the User Story level. (Yes...they also can work at the Task level but the highest point is Story.)

That implies that the Product Owner is submitting and prioritizing User Stories and Bugs.

However, it is possible that a develop would break up a User Story into multiple stories due to scheduling, division of work with other developers, or some other reason.

In this case, the Product Owner may not care or even become confused with the appearance of these seemingly unrelated Stories on the board.

Feature

Alternatively, we could have the Product Owner work at the Feature level, while letting the developers continue working with User Stories.

This means that the PO is submitting and prioritizing Features. It would also allow the developer to create more than one User Story without the PO potentially getting confused.

The problem with this approach is handling Bugs. Since bugs appear at the User Story level, how would the PO properly prioritize on the two different Boards? I guess the bug could be entered as a Feature (with a child Bug also existing) but that seems wrong.

Functionality Group

This section could probably be submitted as a separate question but I have added it because my 2nd approach exposes the problem...

Maybe "Feature" is the wrong word used in TFS, but in my mind a Work Item Feature would be "particular functionality in an application". For example, a Feature titled "The ability to sort search results". Example, User Stories under that could be "Sort by Id field" and "Sort by Last Modified field".

Assume that this piece of functionality is rolled out and then some time later, an enhancement titled "Sort by Name" is submitted. Should that be submitted as a new Feature? If so, how (and should it) be related to the original Feature? Or should it be submitted as a User Story related to the original Feature causing the now closed Feature to be reopened?

How does this affect bugs? Should a Bug be associated with the original Feature?

Would Epics come into play in any of this?



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