Update 05-Aug-2015: This fix also resolves a second issue.

There are two problems that I have identified in TFS 2012.4 with Kanban boards (Backlog Board) not functioning correctly. The fix in this post describes how to resolve both issues by deleting the board configuration from the database.

Nothing but errors

The first problem was presented as a completely broken TFS Kanban board. All they could see was a generic “there has been a problem” pink popup instead of their cards.

When presented with this, the usual fix is to ensure background agent job is running, which it was. So I took a look in the Windows event logs on the server for more detail and found this error (most of the details are removed for brevity, this is from the middle):

Detailed Message: TF30065: An unhandled exception occurred.
Exception Message: The given key was not present in the dictionary. (type KeyNotFoundException)
Exception Stack Trace:    at System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary`2.get_Item(TKey key)
   at Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Server.WebAccess.Agile.Models.WorkItemSource.<>c__DisplayClass18.<GetProposedInProgressWorkItemData>b__13(IDataRecord dataRecord)
   at Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Server.WebAccess.Agile.Utility.WorkItemServiceUtils.<GetWorkItems>d__c.MoveNext()
   at Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Server.WebAccess.Agile.Models.WorkItemSource.GetProposedInProgressWorkItemData(ICollection`1 rowData, ICollection`1 hierarchy, ISet`1 parentIds)

With this little information, all I could assume was that, somehow the configuration had become corrupted.

Bouncing cards

The second issue was when dragging a card/work item from one column to the other, it instantly bounced back the original column. This was happening on the client because we could repro the issue with the network cable unplugged. It wasn’t that the card couldn’t transition state, that presents by not allowing the card to be dragged. In my case, the card could be dragged and dropped, it went into the column for less than a second and then bounced back, occasionally leaving a card drawn in an odd location in the browser.

Further testing proved that card should be able to move between these columns when placed on another teams board, just not for this team.

As before, I guessed that somehow the configuration in the database was corrupt.

The fix

This fix is a little heavy handed, but by deleting the board configuration from the database, you can re-setup your board as before with no issues.

Be sure to make a note of the column configuration before you start.

NOTE: Neither I nor Microsoft support you making changes directly to your TFS database. You do so at you own risk, and probably best with a backup. This SQL worked against our TFS 2012.4 Database, I cannot guarantee other versions have the same schema.

First step is to find your TeamId from the Collection Database. Team Ids can be found in the ADObjects table.

select * from ADObjects
where SamAccountName like '%MyTeamName%';

The TeamFoundationId GUID in this table is the value we are interest in.

You can find the Board and Columns in the tbl_Board and tbl_BoardColumn tables using the following SQL:

select * from tbl_Board b
join tbl_BoardColumn bc on b.Id = bc.BoardId
where TeamId = 'YouTeamId';

Once you are happy that you have the found the rows for the team, you can then delete them from those two tables. You should probably copy the results into Excel just in case things go wrong.

To delete you can use the following SQL Queries:

delete bc
from tbl_Board b
join tbl_BoardColumn bc on b.Id = bc.BoardId
where TeamId = 'YouTeamId';

delete tbl_Board
where TeamId = 'YouTeamId';

Now if you refresh the board it should report that there is no configuration and needs to be setup again from scratch.

I’ve no idea what caused these problems, or if it is fixed in a future update, but this got things working again for me.