Tracking work item relationships across projects

Large teams often deliver features where development and execution require the work of multiple teams over multiple projects. The work must be planned and tracked in a manner that shows the progress and completion of the high-level work items. Use a cross-project plan to track and view the overall rolled-up schedule of a feature that is managed in different plans or different projects.

Important: The cross-project plan and project area are for tracking purposes only. To make updates, use the associated project areas.

Before you begin

  • Enable Jazz Team Server to communicate with other servers and link project areas by using Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC). For more information, see Enabling Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration.
  • For each of the projects that the cross-project plan tracks, define the project area, plan, and sprint backlog with assigned work items.
  • Take planned snapshots of the plans in the tracked projects. The schedule data for the work that is managed in the different plans is stored in the planned snapshots that are taken for those plans. If the planned snapshot is not available, the schedule defaults to the iteration start and end date of the work item. For more information, see Plan snapshots.

About this task

Cross-project plans are typically in separate main project areas from the work items that they track. Create a main project and configure an association between the project areas for tracking. When the association is established, you can create tracking links between work items in different project areas.

Enabling cross-repository work item linking

About this task

You must first associate the projects before you can track work items in different project areas:


  1. Log in to the Jazz server by using an account that has Jazz Administrator privileges.
  2. On the Server Administration home page, click Project Areas in the Application Administration section.
  3. Create a main project area by using any process template. Add members and administrators, and then click Save.
  4. In the Associations section on the project's Overview, click Add to create an association to the project area that contains the work items to track. In the Add Association window, select this information:
    • From the Application list, select the application that contains the project.
    • From the Association list, select Provides – Related Change Requests.
    • From the Artifact Containers list, select the project area that contains the work items to track, and click OK.

      Add Association window

  5. Repeat this procedure for all projects that you want to track from the main project.
  6. Click Save.

Creating the cross-project plan

You can use cross-project plans to view the relationships among work items across projects. A cross-project plan shows all items that belong to it locally (matching the plan query) and the items that are tracked by them.

About this task

Create a main plan with a work item to track work items in other project areas:


  1. Open the main project area, and click Plans.
  2. In the Create Plan section, click Cross-Project Plan.
  3. Type a name for the plan, select an owner, and select an iteration.
  4. Ensure that the plan type is Cross-Project Plan, and click Save.
  5. On the Planned Items tab, click the Add Work Item icon and select Task.
    Add work item
  6. In the Summary field, type a description of the work item, such as Track Plan A and Plan B, and then click Save.
    Tip: You can also define a custom work item type in the project to track work across plans or projects.


By default, a cross-project plan group's work items are based on the Project Schedule plan view, which includes the Accumulated Time column for viewing a rolled-up schedule across items. You can also use cross-project plans to view work item relationships in a Kanban view.

Adding plan items from other project areas

A tracked work item is interpreted as a contribution of a larger, potentially cross-project effort.

About this task

To add plan items from other project areas:


  1. In the column to the left of the work item to track, click the down arrow next to the Create Work Item icon Create work item and then click Add Link > Tracks.

    Create Work Item menu that shows Tracks selection

  2. Select the project area of the work item to track, and select Link to existing.
    Note: If you select Create new, the New Plan Item window opens, where you can create a new plan item.
  3. In the Select Plan Item window, search for and select the plan items to track. You can search by keyword, work item number, or query.
  4. For all work items in project areas that you want to track, repeat these steps.
    Tip: This setup can take a significant amount of time. It is better to organize the work items in the tracked project, so you can link to a parent plan item.
  5. Click Save.
    Restriction: A cross-project plan snapshot does not save work items that are included in the Tracks link.


You can view the work items that are tracked in other project areas by expanding the tracking work item. The start and end dates that are rolled up from all of the tracked items are shown. These dates are helpful for tracking work items across projects and servers. To open the Timelines tab of the project area editor, hover over the Gantt chart in the plan schedule, and click Open Schedule.

Planned Items tab with tracked work items.

Tip: You can add links across projects in plan columns to show useful information for tracking work items. For example, you can add the Related Change Request as one of the columns and configure a customized product backlog that spans across multiple projects:

Product backlog with related change request column.

What to do next

As the development plan progresses, teams and projects must follow good practices to declare updated plans as planned snapshots. Otherwise, the cross-project tracking plan becomes inaccurate.

Assessing the health of a cross-project plan

To ensure that the plan is progressing steadily, you can add plan checks, available in the plan view.

About this task

For cross-project plans, use the Cross-Project Planning Problems Check. For a plan that contributes to cross-project plan items, use the Contributes To Planning Problems Check.

The Cross-Project Planning Problems Check displays warning messages when any of the following conditions are met:
  • The rolled-up schedule for a work item on the plan exceeds the end date of the iteration that the plan is associated with.
  • The planned for date of a plan item exceeds the plan's iteration end date.
  • The rolled-up schedule for a work item on the plan exceeds the due date that is specified on the work item.
  • The work item for the tracked item is not planned for any iteration.
  • The work item for the tracked item is not assigned to an owner.

The Contributes To Planning Problems Check displays a warning message if a contributing work item is planned for an iteration that ends later than the iteration of the work item that it contributes to.

To select a plan check:


  1. Click the Edit Plan View icon Edit plan view, and then click the view to edit.
  2. In the Options tab, click More and select Plan Check.
  3. In the field next to Plan Check, select Cross-Project Planning Problems Check or Contributes To Planning Problems Check, and then click OK.
    Note: To track the early release end dates that the work item contributes to, you can add the Earliest Contributes To End Date attribute in the Column Display tab. A contributes to link that has a target work item on a different server is ignored when computing the value of the Earliest Contributes To column or when performing the Contributes to Planning Problems Check.
  4. Save the plan.


The plan check messages are displayed with a warning icon, next to the work item:

Example of warning