Use agile in Microsoft Project

If you're a Project Online subscriber, you can use agile project management to track your projects in Project Online Desktop Client. Project allows you to create new agile projects or to apply agile views to your existing traditional "waterfall" project. The agile tools in Project allow you to track your projects using Scrum and Kanban methodologies, including viewing task boards, creating backlogs, and tracking sprints, as well as viewing reports on agile statistics.

In this article, learn how to:

Make your project agile

You can add an agile task board view to your current project, or you can start an agile project from scratch.

To add agile to your current project:   

  1. Open your project, and then, on the Project tab, in the Properties section, select Agile.

    Screenshot of the Agile button on the Project ribbon, Project tab, Properties section

  2. In the Agile Methodology dialog box, choose either Scrum or Kanban, and then select Ok.

    Screenshot of the Agile Methodology dialog box

To create a new Scrum or Kanban project:   

  • Open Project and, in the list of templates, choose either Scrum Project or Kanban Project.

    Screenshot of the tiles representing the Scrum Project and Kanban Project templates

When you have chosen either Scrum or Kanban, you'll see the Agile Tools ribbon, which will have slightly different commands depending on which methodology you chose.

Note: The Scrum tools differ from the Kanban tools in Project mainly in that Scrum uses limited deadline periods called sprints to achieve iterative goals and enable quick goal-shifting, while Kanban uses as a single backlog and focuses on managing work in progress to ensure the best output of work.

To remove agile or switch methodologies

If you want to switch from Kanban to Scrum, or to remove agile from your project:

  1. On the Project tab, in the Properties section, select Agile.

  2. In the Agile Methodology dialog box, choose Scrum, Kanban, or None, and then select Ok.

Don't worry, when you switch methodologies or turn off agile, Project retains any data you added while using the agile views for your project. In fact, even when you've chosen to turn off agile, you can still see views of your agile boards and lists. On the Task tab, in the View group, select the down arrow by Gantt Chart, then choose More Views. In the View box, you'll be able to choose these views regardless of what agile settings you've chosen: All Agile Tasks, Backlog Board, Backlog Sheet, Current Sprint Board, Current Sprint Sheet, Sprint Planning Board, and Sprint Planning Sheet. See Work with agile in Project for a bit more about using these views.

Work with agile in Project

To run an agile project in Project, you first need to add tasks to the backlog, then assign tasks to sprints (Scrum only), and finally move tasks across the board as your team works on and completes them.

You can see all of your agile tasks in the Gantt chart view and manage them using both traditional waterfall methods and agile methods. You can also run only a subset of a traditional project using an agile method. See manage your agile tasks in the Gantt chart.

Add tasks to the backlog

Your backlog for a project is the list of tasks that your team maintains related to the accomplishment of that project. In Kanban and Scrum, this will be one large prioritized list.

To add tasks to the backlog:   

  1. Do one of the following:

    • On the Scrum tab, in the Views group, choose Planning, then Sprint Planning Board.

    • On the Kanban tab, in the Views group, choose Backlog, then Backlog Board.

  2. In the first column, either No Sprint for Scrum or Backlog for Kanban, select New Task, type a task name, and then choose Add or press Enter.

    Screenshot of the New Task tile on a Sprint or Kanban board

  3. To add details to a task, such as resources, task summaries, and more, double-click the task and add information in the Task Information dialog box.

Notes: To add details more quickly to tasks, use the sheet view rather than the board view:

  • On the Scrum tab, in the Views group, choose Planning, then Sprint Planning Sheet.

  • On the Kanban tab, in the Views group, choose Backlog, then Backlog Sheet.

Assign tasks to sprints (Scrum only)

In Scrum, after you create the list of tasks for your project, you sort these tasks into sprints according to when you want those tasks completed. First, you'll need to define sprint length and dates, and then you can move tasks to specific sprints.

To define sprint length and dates:   

  1. On the Scrum tab, in the Sprints group, choose Adjust.

  2. In the Manage Sprints dialog box, choose names for your sprints, and then determine how long they are. The simplest way to generate a list of sprint dates is to enter a Length and a Start date for your first sprint, and just enter a Length for your other sprints. Project will generate start and finish dates for the rest of your sprints based on the first sprint's start date.

    Screenshot of the Manage Sprints dialog box

  3. Choose OK.

To move tasks to specific sprints:   

  1. On the Scrum tab, in the Views group, choose Planning, and then choose Sprint Planning Board.

  2. On the Sprint Planning Board, drag tasks from the No Sprint column to whichever sprint you want to accomplish them in.

Notes: You can also assign tasks to sprints in sheet view by changing the contents of the Sprint column. To get to sheet view:

  • On the Scrum tab, in the Views group, choose Planning, then Sprint Planning Sheet.

  • On the Kanban tab, in the Views group, choose Backlog, then Backlog Sheet.

Move tasks across the board

As your team works on tasks, you can move them across your Scrum or Kanban board to track their progress towards completion.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • On the Scrum tab, in the Views group, choose Sprint, then Current Sprint Board.

    • On the Kanban tab, in the Views group, choose Backlog, then Backlog Board.

  2. Project provides three columns to start you off: Next up, In progress, and Done.

    Screenshot of the Sprint Board showing Backlog, Next up, In progress, and Done columns  

    • To change the name of a column, right-click the column name, choose Rename, type a new name, and then press Enter.

    • To add more columns, to the right of the last column, choose Add New Column, type a name, and then press Enter.

  3. Drag-and-drop tasks to the columns that match their status.

    Screenshot showing moving a task from the Backlog column to the Next up column on a Sprint Board

Notes: You can also change a task's status in sheet view by changing the contents of theBoard Status column. To get to sheet view:

  • On the Scrum tab, in the Views group, choose Sprint, then Current Sprint Sheet.

  • On the Kanban tab, in the Views group, choose Backlog, then Backlog Sheet.

Manage your agile tasks in the Gantt chart

You can track your Project tasks in the traditional waterfall view and agile at the same time, without affecting either view. The agile views add information to tasks, but don't take away Gantt chart task details. You won't see all task details in the Scrum or Kanban views, but it will all still be there in other Project views.

You can limit which tasks appear in your agile views -- for example, if you have a large project and only want to track a small part of it using agile methods.

To manage which tasks show up in the agile views:   

  1. On the Task ribbon, choose Gantt Chart.

  2. Choose the last column in your chart: Add New Column.

  3. In the column list, choose Agile.

  4. All tasks are set to Yes in this column automatically. To remove a task from your agile views, change the Agile column value to No. This task will no longer appear in Scrum or Kanban views.

    Screenshot showing changing Yes to No in the Agile column in Gantt Chart view

Get agile reports

Project provides built-in agile reports on task, work, and sprint status.

To find your agile reports:    

  1. On the Report ribbon, in the View Reports section, select Agile, and then select More Reports.

  2. In the Reports dialog box, select Agile.

  3. Choose a report, and then choose Select.

    Example of one of these reports:

    Screenshot of the Current Sprint - Work Status report in Project

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