TFS Service Preview and Agile - Part II - The Scrum Template

16 March 2012

In part one of this article, we saw how Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) is now being offered as a cloud-based service. In part two, we briefly review what it's like to work with the TFS Service's Agile (scrum) development lifecycle process template.

Firstly, note that in this article we're concentrating on using the scrum template, so this is not a tutorial on using Agile/Scrum. However, for our purposes we can regard the hirearchy of elements within scrum as follows:

I found setting up things for my small test project to be quick, easy and very intuative. First, go to your TFS home page, select your project (FITSExplorer in the case of my example) and click Configure schedule and iterations:

The first thing I did was to rename my first project iteration to be "Release 1 - Pre Beta":

Next, I set the start/end date for my first sprint:

At this point you should setup your Product Backlog - this is the high-level, non-technical, wish-list of product features. Normally, each backlog item in the list is described in terms of User Stories (e.g. "As a user, when I click the Preview button the image is displayed in the preview window"). For the sake of example, I entered my backlog items with rather more technical descriptions.

To create the backlog, go back to the project's home page and click View backlog:

You simply create new backlog items by typing the title and clicking Add:

Once you;ve entered a few items, you can associate them with a particular sprint by dragging the item into a sprint (shown on the left of the page):

The next major job is to associate one or more tasks with each backlog item. To do this, select the sprint, then click the + icon:

When you click the +, the Add Task dialog is displayed, allowing you to enter details for the task. The main fields to add data for are the Title, who the task is assigned to and the remianing work (in days):

Here's how the sprint looks when you've added a few tasks:

Optionally, you can set the work capacity for each team member:

You can now get a good overview of how the project's prgressing by going to the Board page. From here you can update individual items (e.g. the amount of work remaining), and also drag backog items from (say) the TO DO area to In Progress:

If you go back to you project's home page, you'll see there's a nice dashboard showing a high-level view on progress:

Of course, individual developers can also see the backlog, tasks assigned to them, etc., directly from Visual Studio:

In this article we briefly reviewed what it's like to work with the TFS Service's Agile (scrum) development lifecycle process template. I found it very clearly laid-out, intuative and friendly. The nice Metro-style TFS web site is a real joy to work with!