Help a new Product Owner looking at the Backlog

When a new Product Owner is looking at an unfamiliar backlog, it would be handy to know the *active* developers.

I am thinking of a new tab “People”

Eg. Backlog  |  Analytics  |  People

If you like this idea, I’d love to know how to show the *active* developers. Maybe columns for:

  • Work Item updates
  • Code commits
  • Etc

And some Product Owners are active testers and maintain the backlog. 

Maybe it would also be useful to give stats on the Product Owner too.

…and then you could compare with Product Owners on other projects.

Figure: I want to see the current developers, then I would know I am in the right backlog

Help me know there is an image in the Work Item

Dear Work Item team,

Help me know there is an image in the Work Item.

When you get an email after an @mention – – we don’t know there is an image


Figure: I would not have guessed there was an image in the Work Item… Please improve the email to show the image or include some text “Image redacted – Click here”

Figure: There is the image

Auto-Tagging Project Languages & Technologies

[Published on Adam’s Blog – Azure DevOps wishlist: auto-tagging Project Languages & Technologies]

When you’re working, you’re usually working on a single project, and Azure DevOps and Github are great to use. However, I often find myself needing to look across all the active projects that are going on in a company, and that is the stuff that’s hard to quickly see what they are. There are gaping holes to being able to see what the current projects are and what the tech inside them are. This post is about the tech we currently use, and what we’d like to see.

Going to a company and seeing the current projects and what tech is in them is not a particularly easy process – it’s a lot of manual work, and it’s easy to miss a couple.

Say your project is basically a Vue.js, .NET Core 2.1, Azure Logic Apps and Azure AKS. I think it would be wonderful to see that straight away in the tags.

Some NuGet packages are important. e.g. Entity Framework or Azure Table Storage. These tell you a bit about the project before you even have a look at it. An amazing feature would be to improve the Auto Tag feature (for both products). I also think showing these tags would be good advertising for Azure.

More info

For any project, we would like to know the Languages in use (e.g. C#, TypeScript, JavaScript) and Technologies in use (e.g. ASP.NET Core 2.2, Hangfire 1.6).

GitHub has Topics to represent Technologies. The Topics can come from the most popular Topics or can be custom, but they are not automatically added to the project.

Figure: The technologies are displayed, but are not automatically added

Azure DevOps has Languages and these are awesomely automatically added (see figure below). It also has Tags, and these can be used for Technologies, but this is completely manual and you can’t choose from a list of common Tags.

Figure: The Languages are added automatically and include percentage of usage. Tags can be added to represent Technologies

Ideally, we would like to see the best of both worlds as follows:

  1. GitHub and Azure DevOps should work the same.
  2. GitHub:
    1. Technologies and Languages should be auto-added based on the source code.
    2. We can also add them manually.
  3. Azure DevOps:
    1. Technologies should be auto-added based on the source code (as is the case for Languages).
    2. We can also add them manually.
  4. This information should be able to be analyzed across *all projects* for an organization.
    eg. A button “Analyze all projects” to the right of Languages / Tags (in the whitespace).

Wouldn’t it be awesome to use this for comparison across the organization.

PS: Maybe a future relation will be the Analytics Extension (when Code and Build is added)

Of course, if I got this granted, my next wish would be to be able to see bug regressions, number of deployments to staging, number of releases to production.

Help me see what stuff exists – add a red thing to indicate some activity

This project is empty other than a few commits.

I think the UI should:

#1 Let me know what stuff is empty

#2 Guide me to any new stuff. In this case since I I have not opened the commits, I would like a red dot (like WeChat – the most popular app in China).

Figure: Adding 2 red dots on the newly added commits by someone else, would encourage me to click on the only useful areas

Figure: WeChat UX uses red dots to indicate new things v2

Comment Combo – Fix selecting ‘All comments’ does nothing


I have a new project, I am a new user, I have not entered a comment.

I open this combo and nothing happens when I click on any of these 3 options.

It is weird for it to do nothing upon any selection.

Can you change it to show numbers like:

  • All comments (0)
  • Active (0)
  • Hide (0)

Even better – replace the 3 choices with the text: “Put your 1st comment on the code”

Figure: 3 useless combos that leave a new user bamboozled

Comments – Help me comment on the check- in

Dear Product Planners,

I want to add a comment “You need to do smaller check-ins”… where do people put that today?

I’d like to see it on this commits right click menu.

Figure: Allow me to comment on the check-in size

More Info:

I’d love to know why I can *not* comment at the Commit level.

I should be able to say  “Where is the xxx file?” – basically a general comment on the overall commit. I can comment on each file, so why not on the commit?

Figure: After drilling in, there is no option in this “…” that says “Comment”

Help me find the newly added projects

A couple of projects were added today and I would love them to be sitting at the top. Alternatively, give me a sort combo (see red box)

And since I have not opened them, I would like a red dot (like WeChat – the most popular app in China).

Figure: Allow me to sort these projects


Figure: WeChat UX uses red dots to indicate new things

Comments – Help me see a summary of everyone’s comments?

Eg. 3 comments from 5 team members should show 15 comments.

Would it make sense to add a menu: Repros | Comments ?

Then I would see a grid of those 15 comments.

In addition, it would be great to be able to hit a button “Send Email” to let your boss get an email:

“Hey, just did this bunch of comments on the code. It would be good if we could get this project prioritized next week.”

Figure: Allow us to see the current comments to resolve

What does ‘ok’ mean?

During a sprint review, I watched Alvin enter a whole lot of data, close the form, click ‘ok’ and then lose all his work. Grrr!

Let’s change the OK button!

See below…

Figure 1: The default OK button tend to lead people not save the changes

The default ‘OK’ button led me to not save the changes. Which was very confusing!

On the other hand, most apps have the default button as Save the changes (e.g. Microsoft Word).

That is much more user-friendly.

Figure 2: The default button always saves the changes

This is important and in my opinion, I hope Microsoft fix this to make more sense.