Work-items tracking using Release Management

Work-items tracking using Release Management

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Tracing what is new in a given release for a product is often tiresome and time taking task. With Microsoft Release Management 2013 Update 3 RC/RTM, you can achieve this easily through its “Change Summary” feature. Details of this feature is described below

Change Summary feature details

Manual Release

When you start a new manual release from the Release Management client, it takes you to the Release page. Now, on this Release page, there is a new tab – Change Summary:



Click on the Change Summary tab and it shows you the list of work-items that are new or changed in the current release (in progress). This list is a relative list of work-items that are new / changed / implemented in the current release w.r.t. last successful release of the application:


You can also go to the already completed releases and you can see the Change Summary for each of these releases. 

The Change Summary shows Id, Type, Title, Owner and State of the work-items. Should you want to look at the individual work-items in more detail, you can do that by clicking on the Id field's link which leads you to the work-item on TFS. 


Note: Change summary shows the work-item differences per Stage. So if you are looking at change summary on a given stage, it compares work-items with last successful release on that stage only and shows all the new / changed work-items since last release till the current release (in progress) for that stage.

Automated release (Continuous deployment process)

Many a time releases are triggered not manually but as part of continuous deployment process setup or through command line utility. In such cases, a Release Manager or a project manager or a Stage owner would like to view the Change Summary of work-items before approving/rejecting a release or any step in a release. For this, he/she need not come to the Release Management client but can do so through the Release Explorer (web client).

The Release explorer, now, contains an additional link for Change Summary which shows the list of new / changed work-items:


On clicking this you can see the work-items diff in the same way as on the Release Management client:



Feature limitations


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  • Please add 2 and 4 and type the answer here:
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  • The screen shots / graphics appear to be broken. Can you fix them please?

  • @Rob,  Thanks for pointing out.  No idea how this happened but I have updated them again.

  • Just to clarify does this work for all components, I,e where multiple components can come from different builds on same release template. If so on the change summary tab would be super useful to have the components name as column on the table also.

    If its just the work items for the build that's configured in the properties of the template (for auto triggering) then this may not be as useful for us. Most or our release templates are composed of multiple build definitions.

    Many thanks

  • @Gary, Thanks for the feedback.

    To answer your question,

    Yes, the work-items are shown from all the components (which comes from multiple builds) belonging to a Release Template. The components must be defined as: "Builds with app" / "Builds independently". If "Builds externally" is chosen, RM won't be able to show the work-items.

    The RT property of "Can trigger release from build" is for continuous integration process and has no effect on the ability to show the work-items.

    Hope this answers your queries.

  • This is some great information. Please add the "Release Management" tag to this blog post so that it appears in the list of blog entries when you use the following URL:

  • Why is this only available through the vNext deployment pipeline?

    In scenarios where you want an active agent (for variopus reasons) pulling towards the server, you are then not able to get out the same information - brilliant information if I may say so.

    Somewhat dissapointed...

  • There is an specific reason why is only available in vNext releases?

    Will be available for normal release templates at some point?

    We really need this feature for our release process and it is kind of dissapointing not to have it available for our current templates.

  • Is it possible to get to the Build Details (Number, Start Time and End Time) while being in RM ?

  • This a critical feature for use, but we're using Agents to deploy in the environment. Is there any indication when this options will be available of the Agent based deployments?

  • This needs to be implemented for Agent based templates. Not having the ability to link work items to a deployment via Release Management means we have to introduce manual processes around Release Management to indicate what is included in a release for approval. It's disappointing to see the functionality that would complete the process just out of reach. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE implement for Agent based deployments.

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