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Exploring Azure DevOps: 6 tips for a successful start

Are you a Java, Node, or .Net developer? Or do you build automation with Ansible or Puppet? Whatever programming language you use, Azure DevOps is the way to set up your own end-to-end DevOps chain. We have combined our knowledge and experience in six practical tips to get you started.

Reading time 6 minutes. Published: 09 September 2022

As a Microsoft Partner and Azure DevOps Specialist, we have helped many companies make the transition to this magical Azure Service. From smooth and quick migrations to advice on Extensions and Services.

Tip 1: Reserve your organization name, before it's too late 

Our first tip is not to create an account or purchase a license, but to reserve your 'organization name'. Just like claiming your company URL, you want to make sure that your organization name is still available in Azure DevOps. Since migration projects often take quite some time, it's smart to reserve the name of your Azure DevOps Services organization in advance. This way you make sure that your unique URL is ready to use when you do your import. 

Tip 2: Get the basics in order  

Good preparation is half the battle won. That's why it's so important to get the basics in order first. It's time to dive into the licenses you need to start with Azure DevOps and choose the location where your data will be stored.


To get started with Azure DevOps, you need licenses. But what kind of licenses? That depends on what licenses you already have. For example, if you already have Visual Studio licenses, then you won't pay any additional fees for these subscribers to Azure DevOps. The first five team members use all core features for free.

Licensing calculation tool  

To calculate exactly how many new licenses you need, Microsoft has created this handy formula.  


(Number of stakeholders - number of team members)  

- Number of Visual Studio subscribers  

- 5 free licenses  

= number of licenses to purchase. 

View the pricing model of Azure DevOps.

Data location 

In addition to finding out the number of licenses needed, it is also important to determine where your data should be stored. Azure has more regions worldwide than any other cloud provider, providing the scale and data location options you need to bring your applications closer to your users. All around the world. 

Azure DevOps data is available in the following eight regions around the world: 

  • United States  
  • United Kingdom
  • Europe  
  • Australia 
  • Brazil 
  • Canada 
  • Asia-Pacific 
  • India 

Your organization will be set to the nearest region by default. It is possible to choose a different region or even to change regions afterward (outside your own geographical region). We are happy to help you choose the right geographic location for your location and compliance needs.

Tip 3. Use the migration guide for a smooth transition 

Are you ready to migrate from TFS to Azure DevOps? Then this tip is a must: Microsoft has a handy migration guide that makes your life easier. The process is divided into 6 phases that are easy to follow. The manual provides all the tools you need to carry out the migration independently.  

These are the six phases that you go through step by step: 

  1. Getting started 
  2. Conditions 
  3. Upgrade 
  4. Validating the database 
  5. Ready to go 
  6. Import 

Download the migration guide


Tip 4. Let the migration tool do the work

In addition to the migration guide, Microsoft also offers a smart migration tool. With which you bring your data to Azure DevOps. The tool does all the work for you. From validating a project team collection to preparing and generating files used to customize the import. And queuing up an import from an Azure DevOps Server database to Azure DevOps Services. Once you’re in the cloud, you still find the same work item numbers, Git commits IDs, and Team Foundation Version Control check-in numbers as you used to.

Download the migration tool

Tip 5. Work (together) optimally and efficiently

Of course, you don't just randomly choose Azure DevOps. You want to work (together) as efficiently as possible. We can help you with that. By telling you more about the possibilities of integrating Azure DevOps with handy utilities and tools from the Extensions Marketplace.

DevOps integrations 

Azure offers several integrations with popular open-source and external utilities and services across the DevOps workflow. For example, consider Office 365, Dynamics, and Application Insights. All are tools that allow you to better organize processes and work more efficiently. They make sure you spend less time on integrating and more on the rapid delivery of high-quality software. 

With Azure DevOps integrations you: 

  • Use the programs you already know optimally; 
  • Create clear guidelines for using Azure DevOps; 
  • Have access to sample architectures; 
  • and take full advantage of automation opportunities.  

Learn more about DevOps integrations.

Extension Marketplace 

In Azure DevOps, you will also find an extensive range of apps and services like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Jenkins, Docker, Kubernetes, and Timetracker that you can also easily integrate with your Azure DevOps environment. All of these are applications and services that add value in terms of time management, collaboration, planning, testing, building, and more. These tools can be found in the Extensions Marketplace


Tip 6. Increase the ease of working and your joy

Once you have installed Azure DevOps, it's time to dive deeper into the different services that make working with the service easier and more enjoyable. Even if you haven't gotten around to installing the service yet, you can already determine which Azure DevOps Service will add value for you.

Azure Boards 

With Azure Boards, you can make your progress transparent, from idea to release, by dividing tasks and scheduling meetings. It also allows your team to easily manage software projects. You can plan and track work with Scrum and Kanban boards, customizable dashboards, backlogs, and reports.

Azure Pipelines 

This cloud service lets you build, test, and deploy your code automatically. Because 

Azure Pipelines enables CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery), so you can continuously test and push code.

Azure Repos 

The Azure Repos service takes snapshots of all your files. Make sure that you can recall them at any time. You can also use branch policies to stipulate that the code must first be assessed by a certain number of reviewers.

Azure Test Plans 

This is a test management solution that allows you to perform manual and exploratory tests, for example, based on user stories. A useful tool for evaluating and improving the quality of your product.

Azure Artifacts 

This is a package management platform. From both public and private sources, you can create packages of code, host them and share them with your team. Packages of similar tools can be stored together. In addition, you can share packages of code with multiple teams, eliminating duplication of effort and speeding up change.

Try the individual services or take a free trial (30 days) of all features

How can we help?

Those were our six Azure DevOps tips. Do you need help getting started with Azure DevOps? Then feel free to contact us. Or visit one of our workshops about Azure DevOps.