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Splitting a Defect

This feature is available in all editions.



Defect splitting typically occurs at the end of a sprint/iteration. If you discover that only a portion of the work is complete, you can split the defect so the completed work remains under the current defect. The incomplete, open work will be moved to an new defect in the next sprint/iteration. This allows you to get credit for completed work and move any remaining elsewhere to allow for more accurate accounting.

Note that splitting is not the same as copying.

Splitting should not become common practice. Defects should be sized appropriately so that the estimate from any one defect does not have a large impact on the velocity of a sprint/iteration. If you end a sprint/iteration with multiple defects that need to be split, it's often a sign that your team has too much work in progress.  It's much better to finish one defect than to end up with two that are half-done.

If the defect has... Then...


Tasks and tests are handled based on status as follows:

  • Completed (e.g., To Do = 0)
    Completed tasks/tests with a To Do of 0 stay with the original story in the existing sprint.

  • Not Started (e.g., Done = 0)
    Not started tasks/tests are moved to a new story in the next sprint

  • Partially Completed (e.g., some Done and some To Do)
    Partially completed tasks/tests are copied to the new story in the next sprint, and will also remain with the original story in the existing sprint. The To Do on the tasks/tests in the existing sprint will be set to 0.  All of the Done stays with the tasks/tests in the existing sprint. The To Do amount at the time of the split is assigned to the tasks/tests in the next sprint.


Attachments are not carried forward during the split process. As a workaround, however, you can copy the item instead of splitting it. Copies retain all the relationships of the original, including links and attachments. The trade-off is that you would need to adjust your estimates on the two items.

Option 1. In any grid

  1. In any grid, click the drop-down arrow next to the defect you want to split, and then select Split.

  2. On the Split page, modify the details as necessary, and then click the Split button.

  3. Make any additional changes, and then click Save. (Note that fields highlighted in yellow are pending until you click Save).

    You can edit the following story details when you split a story/defect:

    • Title. Change the title of the 'new' story/defect to make it unique (e.g. ABC Part 1 and ABC Part 2).

    • Estimate. Allocate the estimate appropriately across the two stories. Was any real value delivered by the partially completed story/defect?

    • Detail Estimate and To Dos. Are the Detail Estimate and To Do amounts for the remaining workload appropriate?

Option 2. On the Team Scheduling Page

  1. Go to Release > Team Scheduling.

  2. Click on a story (either from the Team to which it is assigned or from the Backlog grid) to open the story details page.

  3. Open the Edit drop-down menu and select the Split option. The Split Story window opens, showing details of the story with remaining work estimate.

  4. Click the Split button. The system generates a new story with the same name as the original. The remaining work estimate is transferred to the new story. Completed estimates remain with the original story.

  5. In the New Item section, select a new sprint from the Sprint drop-down list.

  6. Click Save next to the new item. The new story details are saved.

  7. Click Save at the top of the window. The new story is assigned to the team who worked the original story, and the item shows in the Team box with the inherited work estimate.