Where is the field on the work item form to order the backlog?

Where is the field on the work item form to order the backlog?

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In our latest deployment to Visual Studio Online on July 1, we have removed the Stack Rank (Agile / CMMI) or Backlog Priority (Scrum) field from the work item form. The backlog uses that field to order the items and updates the field to arbitrary values, which caused confusion. If you are interested in the detailed background, please read a previous post called “Behind the scenes: the Backlog Priority or Stack Rank field”.

When we introduced the field in TFS 2012, the intention was to make it a system field, hidden to the user. But for a variety of reasons, such as keyboard accessibility, we added it to the form. Today we have resolved all these (technical) reasons , however we have found that a lot of customers found value in having the field on the form to quickly change the position of an item on the backlog. The customer value prevented us from removing the field for a long time. It was a tough call to remove the field, but we believe that the confusion the field created outweighs the benefit of having the field on the form. Especially with the introduction of the two context menu items to change the position of an item without having to drag and drop.

 Move to position on the backlog


Many customers use Excel to order the backlog. That scenario still works: the field is still part of the work item, it is only removed from the form.

Please note that customers with an on-prem installation are not affected by this change for their existing projects. Only new projects using the latest process templates will not have the field on the form anymore. If you want to see the field for new projects you can customize the process template to add the field to the form, using this MSDN article or using the Process Editor from the TFS Power Tools.

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  • Thanks for the post even myself i use excel for my work, so it will affect to my work.


  • That was a ill conceived decision (read stupid). What about the ability to stack rank defects? I can't add it back in because I use TFS online. Please provide an alternative solution.

  • @jeffras, If you use the Scrum template, bugs are like the PBIs and they can be stack ranked via drag/drop and the new context menus "Move to top" and "Move to position...".

    For the Agile or CMMI template, we are putting back the stack rank field with the next deployment on the Bug and Task work item type.

  • @Ewald Please explain to me which view I can do this from?

    I use queries to identify which bugs have yet to get a stack rank and a "Scrubbed" tag. I can no longer identify defects that require attention in bug scrub and can't easily communicate (through another query) which bugs the developers should start working on.

  • I also found it frustrating that you have removed it since I used it a lot.

    When you have almost 100 tasks then you need a very specific way to see which tasks to solve first.



  • @mirsamar: the removal of the field from the Task was not intented. We are reverting the removal of this field from the Task. You should see the field on the form in about 2 weeks.

  • @jeffras, what template are you using?

  • Is reverting the removal still scheduled to take place in a week?  The inability to rank tasks and defects in a very specific order-- with no workaround for online users-- is extremely frustrating.

  • We are currently rolling out the fix to the service. The field will be available on the form within a week.

  • Hi, Can anyone tell me how to expose the field to excel? I can't see it in my tfs query or in my list of columns in excel.



  • Depending on the template that was used when you created the project, the field is called either "Stack Rank" or "Backlog Priority".

    Please keep in mind that when you re-order the backlog, the values of the field can be changed. See also blogs.msdn.com/.../behind-the-scenes-the-backlog-priority-or-stack-rank-field.aspx

  • Can I sort a custom query by backlog priority?

  • @joels: yes you can sort a custom query by any field, including the field that orders the backlog. In Scrum it is Backlog Priority, in Agile/CMMI it is Stack Rank

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