As Roadmunk continues to be a Product Manager’s go-to tool, we’ve grown our offerings to include feedback management and idea prioritization; additions that perfectly round off the product journey. As amazing as these features are, and they seriously are, we know deep down that roadmapping is our bread and butter. Beautiful boardroom-ready roadmaps that are collaborative, shareable, customizable… what’s not to love?
Now imagine that you utilize a work management system. Perhaps one made by Microsoft. Perhaps one called Azure DevOps. How great would it be to mould together granular details from Azure DevOps with strategic visualizations in Roadmunk? We invite you to keep reading.
This guide will walk you through what you need to know about Azure DevOps for Roadmunk, from the overarching benefits to the nitty gritty how-to's. Let’s go!
Understanding the Azure DevOps integration
Our Azure DevOps integration was created to help you visualize a beautiful high-level strategy sprinkled with only the most important tasks and details. Imagine that Azure DevOps holds the nooks and crannies of your work’s information, while Roadmunk pulls it all together in a cumulative view. It’s the best of both worlds, but in one integration - less really is more.
However, the one exception to the “less is more” rule is … flexibility. The Azure DevOps integration is fully flexible, empowering you to configure your sync settings and schedule in a way that makes sense for you.
Whether you prefer a one-way sync or opt for two-way, Azure DevOps for Roadmunk supports both. It’s important to note that with a one-way sync, Azure DevOps is your source of truth. Updates to your work items flow from your linked project straight to your roadmap - simple as that. With a two-way sync, changes you make in Azure DevOps are reflected in your roadmap, and vice versa, saving you time and keeping things streamlined. One detail to emphasize here is that the most recently updated tool wins in a 2-way setup. What do we mean by this? If changes have happened in both Roadmunk and Azure DevOps, upon the next sync the data will reflect whichever tool was last updated.
Hoping for automatic syncs, or do you prefer manual syncs for complete control? Once again, Azure DevOps for Roadmunk supports both. If you configure a sync schedule for the integration, your data is automatically synced on the set cadence (1 hour, 6 hours ect), eliminating any worries about double data entry and ensuring that the most current information is surfacing. However, don’t forget that manual syncs are available if you choose to go the old-school route - and that’s okay! There’s certainly something to be said for manually pushing updates when the time is right. But the best part? You can set a sync schedule, yet also push updates between cadences so the information is always up to date - just like saving your work along the way.
How to create the integration and setup a roadmap
It’s time to set up the Azure DevOps integration in Roadmunk!
If you’re an Account Admin in Roadmunk, you’ll be able to set up the integration on your own in Account Settings, and you’ll only need to connect it once. For Collaborators, you’ll be able to use the integration as soon as the initial setup is all complete.
Check out the video below for a detailed rundown of getting the integration up and running, and begin syncing your first roadmap. Or if you prefer seeing everything written out, we’ve included all the necessary steps in this Knowledge Base article.
The value of roadmapping with Azure DevOps
The foundation has been set - you understand how the integration works and have things setup in your account. You may be asking “What’s next?” or “How can I now utilize the integration to complement and expedite my roadmapping processes?”. Next, we’ll outline a handful of our fan favourite benefits and suggestions to help get those creative juices flowing.
Display the data that's most important to you
With the integration you have the ability to blend important default and custom Azure DevOps fields with native Roadmunk fields, so you can display specific project information in conjunction with your trusty Account and Roadmap fields. There’s no limitation to the amount of fields that can be synced, so be sure to include some of the most popular from Azure DevOps like State, Assigned To (and many more Identity fields), Priority, Area Path, and Iteration Path to name a few!
✏️ To note: Work Item descriptions will, by default, be included in the sync…. and with full HTML-based rendering! Roadmunk is not quite there on supporting HTML-based fields, so the description will be read-only when it's synced. But it certainly will be beautifully formatted for a consistent and visually appealing experience.
Confidently schedule and track your work
One of the best parts about the integration is that you can bring together all of your upcoming releases in one easy-to-understand view. This allows you to gain clarity regarding which work items are included in each release, as well as which ones might need a bit more attention to push them over the finish line. Enjoy complete control over which additional data to display, allowing you to shape the visualization depending on the roadmap audience.
Try a Timeline for a traditional and time-oriented visualization
Having dates affiliated with your work items allows you to forecast time and effort with more precision, and create a tangible release schedule that’s clear and easy to digest. Timeline views showcase what’s happening and when, so there’s never any confusion regarding what’s being worked on and the anticipated deadlines.
✏️ To note: The integration supports mapping Date fields from the Azure DevOps project to the item’s Start and End date in the roadmap, so you have control over the duration of the item. Please note that due to a variance in field formatting between Roadmunk and Azure DevOps, additional Date fields chosen to display will be pulled in as read-only text fields.
Try a Swimlane for flexible roadmapping
Swimlane roadmaps are perfect for a more agile and flexible approach to roadmapping. Many product teams choose to not add dates to their work items to allow for a more adjustable and adaptable release schedule. If this is how your team roadmaps, you’re in luck! You are free to leverage a helpful Roadmunk feature called sub-items, which allows you to split your items into a parent-child structure.
Combine Azure DevOps projects into one Portfolio roadmap
At this point in time, the Azure DevOps integration supports syncing one project to one roadmap. However, it’s very likely that your team is working with multiple projects, so why not roll them up into a single roadmap… a Portfolio roadmap! This birds-eye view allows you to create one high-level roadmap that combines all of your initiatives. It’s especially helpful for organizations that have multiple teams using their own Azure DevOps projects since you can showcase a holistic visualization of all inflight priorities while tracking overall progress.
You're good to go!
That's it, that’s all folks. Next time a team member asks you a question about the Azure DevOps integration, flex those muscles and show how much you know. Whether it’s a “how to” inquiry, or a best recommendation, you’re an in-house Roadmunk expert in the making.
Want even more inspiration to get your roadmaps up and running? Check out our repository of more than 35 roadmapping templates, where you’ll find example roadmaps for every business occasion, from Product roadmaps to Ecommerce roadmaps and beyond.
And if you’re in need of some bedtime reading materials, check out our additional knowledge base articles on everything you need to know about navigating the Azure DevOps integration with success. Happy roadmapping!