Use Excel to Create Repetitive Work Items

Teams often ask me for any shortcuts to periodically creating the same work items, such as for each sprint or release. In other words, they want to create the same Product Backlog Item or Task (but hopefully not Bugs) over and over.

My first suggestion is to use work item templates in TWA or TFPT to pre-populate fields. While helpful, this approach only helps with a single work item; but what about a series of work items? Excel is the answer (but you already knew that, didn’t you).

Here are the high-level steps …

  1. Start Excel.
  2. From the Team menu, select New List.
  3. Connect to your Team Foundation Server, collection, and team project.
  4. Select Input List.
InputList
  1. Enter the work items to be created (Title, Work Item Type, Assigned To, etc.). Add additional fields as necessary.
WorkItems
  1. Save the spreadsheet using a meaningful file name (that you’ll recognize later).
Save
  1. Click Publish to create those work items (at which point the work item IDs will be populated).
IDs
  1. Exit Excel without saving the changes.

If you do save your changes, then the spreadsheet becomes one that can only update those work items.

  1. Later, open the spreadsheet, update any field values, click Publish, and exit without saving.
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