Enabling the Product Backlog Workbook on an Upgraded Team Project

Enabling the Product Backlog Workbook on an Upgraded Team Project

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NOTE:  THE STEPS OUTLINED IN THIS POST ONLY APPLIED TO TFS 2010 BETA 2.  PLEASE SEE THIS POST FOR THE SIMPLIFIED RTM STEPS. 

Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2010 Beta2 introduces new features and capabilities to help agile teams with planning.  One of those features is “out of the box” Excel workbooks that ship as part of the MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 process template:

  • Product Backlog – Use this workbook to create and manage the product backlog, estimate the team's velocity, and to break the project down into iterations.
  • Iteration Backlog – Use this workbook to plan an iteration and track its progress. This workbook helps you load balance your team effectively and ensure that your team is committing to goals it can achieve.

This article describes the steps you can take to enable the Product Backlog workbook for existing Team Projects not based on the MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 process template.  This post is one of a series about upgrading Team Projects to take advantage of new features that ship in VSTS 2010.  To simplify the steps this article assumes you’re existing Team Project is built on the MSF for Agile Software Development v4.2 process template.

Product Backlog Workbook

  • Step 1 – Download the MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 process template
  • Step 2 – Modify the Scenario work item definition
  • Step 3 – Create a product backlog query
  • Step 4 – Bind your query to the product backlog workbook

Step 1 – Download the MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 process template

To get started you’ll first need to download the MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 process template from your Team Foundation Server.  We need to download this template to get a copy of the Product Backlog workbook.

  • In the Visual Studio Team Explorer, right click your Team Project Collection, then click Team Project Collection Settings, then click Process Template Manager.
  • In the Process Template Manager dialog, select the MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 process template and click Download.
  • Save the process template to a local directory. We’ll use this template in later steps.

Step 2 – Modify the Scenario work item definition

Next, let’s modify the Scenario work item in your current project definition to include the fields required by the Product Backlog workbook.

  • From the command shell, go to “Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE”
  • Run the following command to download the scenario work item type:
witadmin.exe exportwitd /collection:http://myserver:8080/path/mycollection
/p:myproject
/n:“Scenario”
/f:MyScenario.xml

  • Open the MyScenario.xml file that you downloaded above and add the following snippet to your Scenario.xml work item definition under the WITD.WORKITEMTYPE.FIELDS node.
<FIELD name="Story Points" type="Double" 
refname="Microsoft.VSTS.Scheduling.StoryPoints" >
<HELPTEXT>An estimate of the size of a User Story or Scenario</HELPTEXT>
</FIELD>

  • Add the the Story Points field to the layout of the Scenario work item form.  To do this, modify the Status node as follows:
<CONTROL type="FieldControl" 
fieldname="Microsoft.VSTS.Scheduling.StoryPoints"
label="Story Points:"
labelposition="Left"
numberformat="WholeNumbers"
maxlength="10" />
 
  • Execute the following command to upload the new work item definition.
witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://myserver:8080/path/mycollection
/p:myproject
/f:MyScenario.xml

Step 3 – Create a product backlog query

In order to use the Product Backlog workbook you must create the appropriate query in Team Explorer.

  • In the Visual Studio Team Explorer, right click the Work Items node and click Add Query.
  • Create a query with the following parameters and columns, sorted by Rank in ascending order
Parameters:
    • Team Project = @Project
    • Work Item Type = Scenario
    • State <> Closed
Columns:
    • ID
    • Rank
    • Story Points
    • Assigned To
    • Title
    • Area Path
    • Iteration Path
    • Work Item Type
  • Save the new query and name it “Product Backlog”.

Step 4 – Bind your query to the product backlog workbook

The final step is to bind the query we created in Step 3 to the workbook.

  • Open the \Windows SharePoint Services\Shared Documents\Project Management folder from the process template you downloaded earlier. 
  • Copy the Product Backlog.xlsm into a new location and open the file.
  • After the file opens, click the Options… button in the security warning and select Enable this content.
  • Place your cursor in cell A1 of the Product Backlog worksheet.
  • Switch to the Team ribbon and click New List.
  • Select your Team Project and click Connect.
  • From the New List dialog, select the query you created in step 2.

Your new Product Backlog workbook is now attached to your Team Project and can be used to manage your backlog of Scenarios.  Make sure to save the workbook to a permanent location such as your SharePoint document library.

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  • After you upgrade your server to Visual Studio Team System 2010 Beta 1, you have a wealth of new features

  • I followed the above instructions but got an Application-defined or object-defined error when I'm on the Iterations tab.  I believe the error occurs when it tries to calculate the Planned column at the last line of code in UpdatePointsColumn():

     list.ListColumns(columnIndex).DataBodyRange.formula = formula

    Any ideas what might be wrong?  I have created a brand new project in the same collection and the product planning workbook works fine there.

  • It works after I added the State column to the Product Backlog/Planning query (and I have changed Rank to Stack Rank before too).

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