One of the cool new features in Team Explorer 2012 is the My Work page. It has a bunch of useful and context specific functions that makes interacting with TFS a lot more streamlined.
One of these features that has been introduced is the ability to “Start” and “Stop” or even “Suspend” work. You can decide on a work item query that displays the available work for an iteration and then with a single click, you can “start” working on the work item.
It works very well if you are using tasks for your work backlog. When you start a work item, Team Explorer will change the task to “active” and assign that task to you.
There are however two instances where things may need a little manual intervention:
1) When you are not using Tasks
I always recommend using Tasks to break down User Stories or Product Backlog Items, but I do have a client that breaks up the work into fairly fine grained User Stories and they don't see the need to create additional Tasks. We found that creating a query to return the current iterations User Stories allowed you to “start” the User Stories, but it did not change state or assign the user to the work item.
After a little digging I found that unlike the Task definition, the User Story does not define the “StartWork” action on the transition between the “New” and “Active” states. Luckily it is a fairly simple process to update the work item definition.
Use the witadmin to export the work item definition, update the “New” to “Active” transition to include the “Microsoft.VSTS.Actions.StartWork” action and, hey presto, when you start work though the My Work page, it automatically assigned the User Story and sets its state into “Active”. Take a loot at the “Adding the StartWork and StopWork action” section of this post for step by step instructions.
2) Upgrading from a previous version of TFS
When upgrading a project collection instance, a lot of the “new” functionality needs to be added manually.This post does a very good job of taking you though the steps to enable some of the new features in TFS 2012.