Treat Bugs as Tasks in Visual Studio Online

When we create a new project in Visual Studio Online in Scrum process template, by default it’ll treat bugs also as backlog items. It does not us to use bugs as tasks. But in some cases, we may need to treat bugs as tasks as well. In this blog, I will explain how to use both modes on Visual Studio Online.

When we start development of an application, we have two options to manage bugs in development process.

  1. Bug as a task
  2. Bug as a backlog item

Bug as a task

When we treat bug as a task, we can add bugs under backlog items. When we use this scenario, we can only add backlog items to sprint. Under backlog item we can add bugs and tasks. This mode is not enabled by default in Visual Studio Online. These are the steps to enable it.

  1. Goto Team Settings in project
  2. Goto Work Tab
  3. Goto section Working with bugs
  4. Select “Bugs appear on the backlogs and boards with tasks.”

When we change this mode, task hierarchy will look like below.


In sprint board, bugs can be tracked under the backlog item.


This is useful if project team is small and given bug is managed by only one person. If we need break it to multiple tasks, we can add sub tasks to bug. If there’s such requirement, it’s better to keep bugs as backlog items rather than manage it as tasks.

Bug as a backlog item

When we treat bug as backlog item, it’ll force us to add tasks under bug to track its state. This scenario useful when we split bug into multiple tasks which may be addressed by multiple people in the team. When we use this approach, task hierarchy will look like below.


In sprint board, we can see that we can track state of each task of the bug and assign them to different people.


This mode is useful when application is manage by large team or bug needs to assign to multiple people. In that case, we can create multiple tasks under the bug and track those separately.