Azure DevOps Repos: Bypass Branch Policies

Last week we covered adding branch policies to a branch in an Azure DevOps Repo and this week we are going to deal with what happens when you need to break the policies you set up for some reason.

Setting Bypass Security

There are a couple of ways to set up bypassing depending on how broadly you want to give someone rights to bypass. We are going to start with the narrower option which is allowing bypass for an individual branch (sadly security options are currently available at the folder level like policies are). Starting from the list of branches for your repo mouse over the branch you want to set security for and click the three dots for the menu and select Branch security.

On the dialog that shows find the user, you want to change for security for, Eric Anderson in this example. After selecting a user their specific setting will be loaded to the right. On Bypass policies when completing pull requests change the option to Allow.

The second option for setting bypass security is at the repo level. From your Project settings under Repos select Repositories and then fine the Branches node under the project you want to set the policy for.

From here it is the same as the branch level. Find the user, you want to change for security for and set Bypass policies when completing pull requests to Allow.

Bypassing Policies on a Pull Request

Now that we have our security setup we are going to walk through what the bypass process looks like. Here we have a pull request that is missing approval by a reviewer.

Now let us say we don’t have a reviewer available for some reason and we need to complete this PR without review. Use the dropdown on the Set auto-complete button and click Complete.

When the PR completion dialog show you will notice a section at the top with a red background that lists out the policies that haven’t been met. With your new-found security, you will also have a section for Policy override options. To proceed and bypass the policies check the Override branch policies and enable merge checkbox, enter your reason for overriding, and click the Override and complete button.

Do note that the fact a PR was overridden is visible on the list of completed PRs and the reason will show when mousing over the bypassed indicator as well as in the details of the PR.

Wrapping Up

Branch policies are great and will help you make sure the code that makes it in your branches are high quality and don’t break your builds. Hopefully, you won’t need to bypass your policies often, but now you know-how without having to temporarily remove the policies or getting people used to blindly approving changes.

Also published on Medium.

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