For a year or two now, there’s been a free download of a SCRUM based Team Foundation Server process template on microsoft.com called eScrum.  It has been periodically updated and I’ve blogged about it a few times.  Since it first went up I’ve tried to be clear that it was developed and maintained by an internal team not associated in any way with the Team System team.  As Microsoft’s adoption of Team System grows and matures, I’ll expect we’ll see that trend continue – with more teams publishing cool things they’ve done with Team System.

Unfortunately the team that built eScrum has had to reprioritize their work and can no longer maintain the eScrum template.  As such, the eScrum download is going to be removed in a few weeks and I don’t expect there will be any further updates.  I don’t doubt that this will create hardship for some people who have used it and like it.  Of course, you can keep using what you have as long as you like.  If there is some reason this change is going to cause you undue hardship, please contact me and we’ll see if there’s some way to get you access to the eScrum source so that you can maintain it yourself.

Discontinuing anything is hard.  I’d like to take a second to frame how I think about this in hopes of avoiding a lot of speculation about other things.  I think about Team System related software deliverables in 3 buckets.

  1. The product that you buy:  Microsoft’s support policy for that is very clearly spelled out.  From time to time we may discontinue or replace features in the shipping product that in the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty rare. 
  2. “Official” out of band deliverables – like the TFS Power Tools:  We stand behind those almost as strongly as we stand behind the product you buy.  There are some differences in release cycle, support, localization, etc. but we’re here to make sure you are successful with them.
  3. Community add-ons: These are pretty much anything we (the Team System Team) don’t build and aren’t official Microsoft products/offerings.  They may be developed by companies or by individuals.  Some of them will even come from teams at Microsoft.  The level of support you get will depend on the people building it.  I really can’t make any guarantees to you about these other than to say that when I talk about things, I will try to distinguish which of the buckets they fall in.  You need to make a choice to use them if they are valuable and not if it isn’t worth the hassle.

Scrum remains a very important development methodology and one that Team System is committed to supporting very well.  We have made numerous enhancements in TFS 2010 that will make Scrum work even better with Team System.  When people ask me how to do Scrum with Team System, I generally tell them you can do it out of the box but it’s not very customized/specialized to the Scrum by default.  The best available answer today for Scrum with Team System is the Conchango Scrum for Team System process template.  Conchango also has a very nice Scrum board product for Team System.  If Scrum is in your future, I recommend you check it out.

Brian