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Lesson 4: Working with plans

In this section, you create a plan, edit the plan notes, and balance the workload across team members.

About this task

Teams that fllow agile mthods, such as Scrum, typically divide their release schedule into a series of fixed-length development iterations, with fixed end dates. Planning for these iterations involves scheduling the work to be done during an iteration and assigning elements of that work to members of the team. To be effective, plans need to be accessible to everyone on the team and they need to change dynamically over the course of the iteration to reflect the team's position and direction.

The planning component provides tools to assist with the planning and execution of development iterations. The approach is simple: Plans are composed of work items that match certain criteria. Treating plans as a set of work items has the following useful characteristics:
  • Plans are live:
    • Changing work items changes the plan. For example, closing a work item marks the work item as done on the plan, without need for further explicit actions.
    • Changing the plan directly changes the work items, or creates new work items if necessary.
  • Plans can be viewed in many ways. A plan can easily be regrouped by owner, functional category, duration, or any other criteria that is available on work items.
  • Plans are available to everyone on the team.
In this section, you learn the following tasks:
  • Edit the plan notes
  • Balance the workload across team members

Editing the plan overview

The first step is to type a textual overview of the goals of this plan with some important information that you want to share with your team and with others interested in your team's work.

Procedure

  1. Click Plans > All Plans and open the Sprint Backlog [Sprint 1 (1.0)] plan.

    Sprint Backlog plan

    The plan opens in the web client.

    Tip: Plans open in the web client only. You can choose to open plans in an internal or external browser by setting the web browser preferences in Eclipse client. For more information, see Web Browser preferences in the Eclipse documentation.
  2. Start editing the plan: In the Plan editor, click the Notes tab, and type the following text:
    Goals
    
    This plan covers the first iteration of the Prelude project.
    It lists all the work items that the current Prelude team is in charge of.
    
    Team Guidelines
    
    Please close your work items immediately after the relevant code is delivered.
    Please provide a test case for all application interfaces.
  3. Format the text with headings and list. You can use wiki syntax. For more information, see Syntax for plans.
    1. Using wiki syntax, format Goals as a main heading by placing the cursor before the word, typing an equal sign (=), and pressing Space.
    2. Apply the same text style to Team Guidelines.
    3. Format the two lines under Team Guidelines as a bulleted list by preceding each line with an asterisk (*).
  4. Click the Edit Notes (Edit Notes icon) icon to save the edits. Your overview looks something like the following image:

    Styled content of an iteration plan

Editing the planned items

Assign work items to your team members:

Procedure

  1. In the Plan editor, click the Planned Items tab. Change the View As to Work Breakdown.
  2. Drag work items to the appropriate owners.
  3. To complete your plan, set the priority and the work estimate for each work item:
    1. In the Rank column, set the work item rank.
    2. In the Effective Estimate column, set the work item estimate.

    Assigning priority and estimates to work items

  4. Click Save.

Lesson checkpoint

In this lesson, you learned how to create a plan, edit the plan notes, and distribute the workload among team members.
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