Triaging work items

In some cases, the submitter of a work item speaks with the developer responsible for the functional area and assigns the work item to that developer. However, it is also common that the submitter leaves the work item unassigned, and a member of the team area associated with the work item category must triage the work item.

About this task

Triaging is the process of analyzing work items that have been submitted to add them to an iteration, assign ownership, and set priority.


  1. Run a query that retrieves work items that have been submitted but not assigned to a specific owner. In the Work Items window, double-click an entry in the results grid to open it in the Work Item editor.
  2. Verify that the Filed Against field is set correctly. If the work item belongs to a different category, change the Filed Against field. If you are not a member of the team associated with the new category, click Save to save the change. Otherwise, continue.
  3. The Owned By property lists all members of the team area associated with the work item category. Select an owner from that list or click More at the bottom of the list to search for a member of another team.
  4. Optional: Select a priority level. The priority level identifies the importance of the work item from the owning team's perspective.
  5. Set the Planned For property to a planned iteration for resolving the work item.
  6. Enter a value in the Due Date field.
  7. Optional: To add a comment, click Add Comment in the Discussion section and enter your text.
  8. Optional: An approval is a request for other users to review, approve, or verify the work that is done to resolve the work item. To create an approval, click the Approvals tab and complete the following steps:
    1. Click New Approval and specify the type (Approval, Review, or Verification) and due date.
    2. Click Add Approver to specify the user or users responsible for approving the resolution. You might want to create different approval types for different users. For example, you might want to have a lead developer review the owner's proposed resolution, and a test engineer validate the delivered fix.
      Another use of approvals is to remind team members to perform a common task. For example, you might create a work item for developers to update the copyright year in their files. You can add each developer as an approver to the work item. When they finish changing their files, they change the State for their approval to Approved.
  9. Click Save.