Team Foundation Server 2010

Tech Trek – 2011.06.10

I’ve finally finished attending a week-long workshop on Team Foundation Server 2010. It is somewhat a trip back to memory lane for me since I have previously used the product in a different development team. A lot has changed since then especially in support of Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) Agile methodologies. What is amazing is how it has grown over the years to cover not just the following areas from its earlier releases:

  • Modeling tools within Visual Studio used by Software Architects
  • Version Control used by Developers
  • Requirements Gathering used by Business Analysts (BA)
  • Project Management used by Project Managers (PM) or Scrum Masters
  • Test Management used by Software Quality Assurance (SQA)
  • Build Automation used by Software Configuration Managers (SCM)

Although, as always Microsoft tries to accommodate various audience groups to capture a bigger market. This is great on one hand so that it doesn’t alienate other team members due to their skill set, but it can also lead to confusion amongst users. Here are some of the client applications that can connect to Team Foundation server:

  • Team Explorer via Visual Studio Shell
  • Team Web Access – ASP.NET based site
  • SharePoint site
  • Microsoft Project integration for importing work items
  • Microsoft Excel i.e. importing various lists
  • 3rd party providers like Telerik TFS client, etc.

Overall, I’m impressed that somehow a tool is able to put all these components together. Unfortunately, the reality sets in since one has to plan and choose the specific capabilities that are applicable to a team based on the organization’s structure and size. With sophistication comes complexity, and with advancement leads into a learning curve.

Just as any piece of technology, what is important to remember the first Agile manifesto:

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”

Our business is software development that involves people, and collaborations include cross-functional discipline that cannot be replaced by any framework or technology. Still looking forward into getting our development tool set together just like any carpenter or mechanic that requires the appropriate power tools to do his trade.

How about you, what tools does your organization use for any of the areas mentioned above?


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