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August 1, 2013


Adding a Testing Column to Your TFS 2012 Task Board

by adamstephensen
The default Agile TFS template ships with three states: New, Active and Closed.

A common question that I am asked is how to add an extra stage to the TFS taskboard.

While this is not trivial in TFS 2012, it’s really not that hard once you know how, and is being made easier in newer versions of TFS.


Figure: We will demonstrate adding a ‘Testing’ column.

Step 1: Ensure that you are an administrator of the Team Project you are updating

Step 2: Download the Team Foundation Server 2012 Power Tools

– In Visual Studio select Tools, and then Extensions and Updates


Figure: Select Online from the left menu, enter Team Foundation 2012 in the search field, click the Download button on Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 Power Tools

Step 3: Export the Task Work Item Type

To add a new column to the task board, we need to add that status to the work item type definition.


Figure: From the Tools menu select, Process Editor, then Work Item Types and then Open WIT from Server


Figure: Expand the correct Team Project and select the Task work item type.

Step 4: Add the Testing state to the Task WIT


Figure: Select the Workflow tab. Open the toolbox and drag a State component onto the design surface. Right click on the new State, select Properties and set the Name property to Testing


Figure: Select the Transition Link component from the toolbox. Now click on the Active state and drag your mouse to the Testing state.


Figure: A transition will have been added from Active to Testing.


Figure: Right click on the Transition and choose Open Details. Go to the Reasons tab and Edit the reason value. Suggested test: ‘Ready for Testing’. You can click on the chevrons to expand the transition to be able to more clearly see the assigned properties.

Additional actions and Fields can also be specified but that is beyond the scope of this post.


Figure: Repeat the process above to add transitions from Testing to Complete (with a reason of ‘Testing Complete’) and from Testing back to Active (with a reason of ‘Failed Testing’).


Figure: Save the template to a known location on your hard drive so that it can be imported in the next step. E.g. c:\Temp\TeamProjectName_Task.wit

Step 5: Import the saved WIT


Figure: From the Tools menu select Process Editor, then Work Item Types and then Import WIT.


Figure: Browse to the location of the saved file, select the Team Project you wish to import the WIT into and click OK.


Figure: When you edit a task, the Testing status is now available. It is not yet however added to the board.

Step 6: Export the Process Template Config

This is the part that I always forget to do. After you have edited the Work Item Type, you still need to update the process template to include the State on the Task Board.


Figure: Open a command prompt, change to the Visual Studio IDE Folder and execute the following command

witadmin exportcommonprocessconfig /collection:CollectionURL /p:ProjectName /f:”DirectoryPath\CommonConfiguration.xml”
for our instance the command required was
witadmin exportcommonprocessconfig /collection:http://ourserver:8080/tfs/CollectionName /p:ProjectSparrow /f:”c:\Temp\CommonConfiguration.xml”

Step 7: Edit the Process Template Config


Figure: Edit the exported file. Find the section for TaskWorkItems and add the line highlighted above.
<State type=”InProgress” value=”Testing” />
Save the file.

Step 8: Import the Process Template Config


Figure: Execute the following command

witadmin importcommonprocessconfig /collection:CollectionURL /p:ProjectName /f:”DirectoryPath\CommonConfiguration.xml”
for our instance the command required was
witadmin importcommonprocessconfig /collection:http://ourserver:8080/tfs/CollectionName /p:ProjectSparrow /f:”c:\Temp\CommonConfiguration.xml”



Figure: View your task board and you will have your new column!

Read more from Agile, Testing, TFS
11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sundeep Yama
    Apr 25 2014

    Thanks Adam. This article helped me a lot!!!

    Few things changed on TFS 2013, but this still helps.

  2. Gareth
    Jan 30 2015

    Awesome stuff

  3. mahmoud
    Mar 1 2015

    Thanks, In Tfs 2013 :
    1- witadmin importcommonprocessconfig is changed to witadmin importprocessconfig
    2- in config xml file, is child of tag.

  4. Ahmed Mahmood
    May 5 2015

    Hello Adam,

    I need your assistance in one concern,
    I am not able to import wit file in VS2012 update 4 version.

  5. Jim Barnett
    May 13 2016

    Good work thanks for sharing, I am about to attempt this in TFS 2015 🙂

  6. Max
    May 26 2016

    I tried this in TFS 2015 and it almost works… The export works perfectly, however import generates this error:

    Access Denied: Max needs the following permission(s) on the resource $/55a6b891-e0fd-12d8-b527-dacec52a78fc to perform this action: Administer.

    There’s a level of permission I need but no idea what it is I’m missing as I’m a full user as far as I know.

  7. Nov 9 2016

    We have wanted this for a long time. Thanks for sharing, it worked perfectly.

  8. Carlos Segura
    Jan 13 2017


  9. Sivajothi Dharmalingam
    Feb 9 2017

    I’m getting error in 2013 While import “Line: 2 Position: 2 – The ‘CommonProjectConfiguration’ element is not declared.”
    Please can you help.

    • virtualpulseadmin
      Mar 23 2017

      This is because you have used obsolete command exportcommonprocessconfig instead of exportprocessconfig. Use new one and then import updated file with importprocessconfig

  10. Nov 1 2018

    Работа в интернете


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