How to change a Work Item's type in Team Foundation Server

One of the most frequent questions I get asked when training a new team in TFS is how to change a Work Item's type.  If the team is coming from Jira, I can almost guarantee I'll get asked that question.

While you can't change the type of an existing Work Item with Team Foundation Server 2012 and 2013, there's a simple workaround that achieves the same result.

How to change a Work Item's type

First, open the Work Item in Team Web Access and click this button: Copy Work Item Button

The Copy Work Item button in Team Web Access The Copy Work Item button in Team Web Access In the dialog, choose the Work Item type you want to change it to, and click OK. Choose the Work Item Type Choose the Work Item Type Finally, go back to the original Work Item and change its state to an appropriate "closed" state. If you really want to remove all traces of the original work item, you can use the command line "witadmin destroywi" tool. I don't recommend this! You can perform the same tasks from within Visual Studio by right-clicking on the work item and choosing "Create Copy of Work Item". Visual Studio - Copy Work Item Visual Studio - Copy Work Item

It's a deep copy

If you look at the new Work Item, you'll see that all of the detail and links have been copied across where there's a corresponding field in the new type. All related Work Items are linked, and even links to Changesets that applied to the original Work Item are copied. Deep Copy of Work Items Deep Copy of Work Items This tip can be really useful for Product Owners who like to create "bugs" that don't fit your bug definition and are really new requirements. So there you have it, a way of "changing" the type of a Work Item that should please those Jira converts!

Damian Brady

I'm an Australian developer, speaker, and author specialising in DevOps, developer process, and software architecture. I love Octopus Deploy, Visual Studio Team Services, and reducing process waste.

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