TFS & Visual Studio ALM – by Neno Loje

(formerly Team System, VSTS)

Notifying users when a particular work item changes in TFS

May 14th, 2014 · 7 Comments · 18401, 18402, Tools and Utilities

The Goal

In TFS you can set up Project Alerts that alert users when work items change. But sometimes you would like to be able to add a list of people to be notified when a particular work item changes.

The Solution

You can achieve this by using a server-side plug-in.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Enable SMTP settings for your TFS in TFS Admin Console (if not already done)
  2. Add a custom field to your work item types:
    Type = “string”, Reference Name = “TFS.CcNotificationReceivers”
    … and display it on the Work Item form:
  3. Install server-side plug-in:
    Get TFS.WorkItemTracking.CcNotifications.dll from here for TFS 2015.1 or higher, or here for TFS 2013 and copy it to the “PlugIns” folder, located at: %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 12.0\Application Tier\Web Services\bin\Plugins
    (to uninstall, simply delete the .DLL again)
  4. Done. When you enter user names (or e-mail addresses) into the new field (separate multiple values with commas or semicolons), those users will be notified of any changes that happen to that particular work item.


Note: Server-side plug-ins work on TFS on-premises only (not with Visual Studio Online).



Update (February 23, 2016): Added link to TFS 2015.1-compatible .ZIP file.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • Scott Presson

    I’m not in any way complaining, The CcNotifications plugin worked great for me from day one. It does look like TFS 2013.2 has broken it.
    Is the source code available so I can adjust for 2013.2?

  • Nagaraj

    You can check this URL for TFS Alerts

  • Michael

    This is what we are looking for. Currently we just added our entire organization to our team and use a Team Alert for State Change and send it to the Created By field (not optimal as we lose functionality due to performance; 20 Minutes to get the capacity screen on the Task Board 🙁 ).

    How easy would it be to use change the plugin to use the CreatedBy field instead of ( or as well as) the ccNotificationReceivers on State Change only?

    That way we would not need to add the person we want to notify manually. We would also like to restrict it by work item type, e.g., “Product Backlog Item” and Team Project(s).

    • vstsblog

      @Michael: In TFS, you can already set up an alerts that would inform the creator of a work item when it has been changed by somebody else. Let me know, if that works for you.

  • Scott Presson

    Hello Neno. Happy 2016.
    I was wondering if the solution would support adding specific fields to the alert generated. Obviously not as is. Can you suggest a new class?
    PS I compiled for 2015.1

    • Neno

      Hi Scott! Sorry for the wait…
      What fields would you like to see in the alert generated?
      Would it be the same fields as with the normal work item alerts?

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