Creating program board to visualize dependencies

You can create one or more Program Boards to visualize dependencies in plan iterations, across programs or teams.

Before you begin

To use a program board, the programs and teams must be created already. The users with the Modify Plan permission at the project area level can modify most of the aspects of the configuration of a shared board. Only the creator of the board can modify the sharing configuration. The users with the Delete Plan permission at the project area level can delete a board. User permissions are not checked at the team area level.

About this task

To open Program Board in the web client, click Plans > Program Board.


  1. To create a new Program Board, click Continue or click the Add board icon Add board.
    Introductory page to Program Board
    1. Enter a Board Name. In the Team areas tab, select one or more teams that you want to include in your board. Alternatively, you can type the name of your team in the Search field and click Next.
      Program board team area
    2. In the Iterations tab, select the parent iteration that you want to include in your board. The parent iteration determines which parent work items are displayed on the board. After you select the parent iteration, select the child iterations. The child work items that are planned for any of the selected iterations are available to be displayed on the board. Only one level of parent-child iterations is displayed. Click Next.
      Program board iterations
      About selecting iterations:
      • You can select iterations from a non-project timeline.
      • Only parent iterations with one or more child iterations are enabled for selection.
      • When you select a parent iteration, the immediate children are also included.
      • You can select Include Backlog to include the Backlog iteration configured for the timeline.
      • You can select Use Proposed attribute to include the Proposed attribute values instead of Planned For values to display data on the board. Use Proposed attribute option is available for SAFe project templates only. To show the option for other projects as well, you can add the Proposed attribute by using the administrative page. For more information, see Customizing the work item editor in the web client.
      • You can select any number of iterations.
      • The order of the iteration columns is based on their end date.
      • If an end date is not specified in an iteration, then it is displayed in the order of its selection in the preference view of the board.
      • Milestones:
        • You can display the dependencies between the milestone and child work item types for the selected iterations and teams on the board.
          Display learning milestone dependencies
        • You can filter the milestone dependencies by using Show Milestone dependencies on the Display Options tab. This option is available for Safe template projects only.
          Display milestone dependencies
      • Milestones that are planned for the backlog are also displayed on the board.
    3. In the Work Item Types tab, select the type of work item that you want to be the parent. Click Next.
      Program board work items

      When you select a parent work item type, the default child work item type that is configured in the project for the parent is selected automatically. You can change the child work item type.

      About display of parent work item type work items in the table:
      • The parent work item type work item without dependency is displayed only in the lane where its last child is delivered.
      • If the iterations don’t have end dates, then the parent work item type work item is displayed.
      • If the last iteration, where the child isn’t delivered, is displayed on the board then the parent work item type work item is not displayed on the board.
      • If the parent work item type work item has children with dependencies, the parent work item is displayed for the dependency.
      • If the parent work item doesn’t have any children, the parent work item doesn’t display up in the table.
    4. In the Display Options tab, select the type of work item and dependencies that you want to display on the board. Click Next.
      Note: If you have a story A that depends on another story B, and story B is planned for a sprint that is later than the story A's sprint, then the link between the two items is shown in red color, which means it is at risk. If story A is planned for an iteration that is the same or earlier than story B, then the link between the two items is shown in green color, which means it is not at risk. In cases where the risk cannot be determined, then the gray dotted line is shown. For example, if story C is dependent on story D, and story D is planned for an iteration which does not have a start date or end date, then the board cannot determine the risk.
      Program board display options

      You can use the display options to display different dependency links. You can also filter out work items that do not have dependencies.

      You can also filter out work items based on the state. For SAFe project templates, the Milestone States are displayed. For all other project areas, list of parent and child work item states are displayed. By default, the out-of-the-box template Rejected or Invalid states appear not selected and all other states appear selected. You can change the selection to specify the work item states that must be displayed on the program board. The states that are not selected are excluded from the board.

    5. In the Share tab, the creator of the board can share it with Project Area, Team Areas, or individual users. Click Finish.
  2. Your program board is displayed. Notice that when you hover over the colored work item blocks, you can see the details.
    Program board display
  3. You can configure the settings of the Program Board display:
    1. To close the sidebar, click the Close Sidebar icon Show legend.
    2. To filter the boards, click the Filter the boards icon Filter the boards. Enter the Board Name in the Type to filter box.
    3. To view the scope of a board, hover over the Board Name. Make sure that the Board Name is not selected. Hover over the information icon.
      board information
    4. If you share a board that is created by you, a share icon is displayed next to the Board Name. share icon
    5. To view the legend for the Program Board, click the Legend icon Show legend.
    6. To refresh the page, click the Refresh icon Refresh icon.
    7. Click the Board Name to see Preferences icon Show preferences view icon. You can update Team Areas, Iterations, Work Item Types, Display Options, and Share in the Preferences page. If you’re not the creator of the board, you can’t update the share details.
      Program board display options
    8. Click the Board Name to see Delete icon Delete icon. To delete the board, click the icon and in the confirmation dialog, click Delete.