In managing tasks using Team Explorer its important to know the most useful queries and the most useful fields for tracking work. I'll break down the fields by three types - basic, information and tracking.
The basic fields are:
Rank - 1 and 2 means high priority and 5 means lowest priority
Assigned To - each work item should be assigned to a specific person (or a "bucket" userid)
State - In CMMi3 its Proposed by default; and in Agile its Active. Most reporting on active work is on those of Active state. Eventually the goal is to have a work item closed.
The information fields are:
Title - A brief summary of 40-70 characters that describes the work item and answers 90% of the questions on what its about so a viewer of work items won't usually need to drill down deeper into the work item to understand the scope.
Description - Paragraph(s) describing in detail the scope of the task. Oftentimes this field will be empty as TFS provides the ability to related attachments or links that help self-describe work items within the scope of a project.
History - Anytime a modification is made to a work item its sometimes necessary to add comments explaining the modifications. These comments should go in the History field.
The tracking fields are:
Discipline - categorize a work item on whether its analysis, project management, development, architecture, testing, admin, etc.
Area - good for categorizing work by functional area hierarchy; and allowing for different security/visibility rules for users viewing work items
Iteration - timeline cycles in the project; key for breaking up work for cutoff to later stages/phases
Exit Criteria - mark YES if you want this work item tracked on the project checklist; keep NO if its only needed for internal team consumption. Its basically all about identifying the tasks that are "iteration backlog"
Issue - mark YES if you want this work item tracked for review with the customers and stakeholders; keep NO if its not needed for customer review.
For Team Projects created using the Agile or CMMI process template you should see /Process%20Guidance/Supporting%20Files/AboutWorkItems.htm on the Team Project's Sharepoint portal site for more information on Agile work item types. Example: http://coditsolutions.com/docs/metodologias/MSF/MSF%20Agile%20Beta%202%20PT/Wss/Process%20Guidance/Supporting%20Files/AboutWorkItems.htm