Creating E-Mail Alerts for Team Members in TFS

In TFS 2005, TFS 2008, and TFS 2010, the alerting system has always been based on a “self-subscription” model which means if you want an e-mail alert then you need to create it for yourself.  This could be problematic if new team members didn’t know about the self-subscription model.  Now, you could use the Alerts Explorer from the TFS Power Tools to create e-mail alerts for other people but then those alerts are actually owned by the person creating them and not able to be managed, edited, or disabled for the person they are intended.  There are other potential workarounds that people have discussed for any of the TFS versions I mentioned above.  A good question on Stack Overflow has some discussion as well.

Team Foundation Service Preview LogoIn the latest builds of the Team Foundation Service Preview (which ultimately will be features we will see in the next version of TFS – TFS 11), we can now see that administrators are able to create team alerts that help the scenario I described above.  Managing personal and team alerts are exposed in Team Web Access.  Notice in this Work Item alert, the new [Me] value that is available for the filter clauses.

Creating a Team Work Item Alert in TFS

You can also create other types of alerts like Build Alerts and Code Review Alerts.

Creating a Team Build Alert in TFS


What I also noticed is that administrators can view & troubleshoot other user’s e-mail alerts that they have created including personal alerts.  That was particularly troublesome for TFS Administration in the past but should help out quite a bit for user’s who report problems in the future.  An administrator can now even help craft the appropriate e-mail alert for the user using the right filters and grouping of clauses which I find to be the most commonly reported issues with creating alerts.

Administering TFS Alerts for Other Users

Ed Blankenship

Thursday, February 9, 2012 2:02:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Thanks for posting that -- I'm starting to administer TFS 2010 and was about to look around for how to setup emails other than via opt-in. So, new strategy -- go with opt-in for now and don't bother with some kind of hack -- wait for TFS 2011 instead.
Thursday, February 9, 2012 2:07:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Awesome Erik! It sounds like you got the information just in time to make the appropriate strategy now with your current instance.

BTW - It won't be called TFS 2011 since it wasn't released in 2011. We've been calling it TFS "11" (or DEV11 in some circles) until it has a formal marketing name.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 7:37:47 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Still on TFS 2010 and setting up WIVO useers. These users can enter bug workitems, but they would like to get email alerts anytime someone changes their workitem. They do not have the option for alerts via Settings - Projects - Alerts with TWA. I even added a single user that is part of the AD group I setup to have WIVO access in TFS 2010 to have TFS 2010 with Read permissions as well. Same result, no option to set Alerts. Any suggestions?
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 2:34:22 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Hi Erik,

My Question is possible to create a alert for multiple groups with same team.. Like SEO Group, Testing Group under in [TSS] team...
Thursday, July 16, 2015 5:18:06 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
I want to create an email alert for code reviews for EVERYONE in a Team project. I created a
group and added all the Contibutors to it including myself, but when I use the interface to try
to create the alert the pull down still only shows "My alert" and "Team Alert" Is there anyway to
create an alert for all teams.

Kent Dannehl
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