In case you haven’t heard the good news, Rick Laplante launched Team Foundation Server today at SDWest.  The team is finishing up the final sign-off process and will be releasing the final bits to manufacturing tomorrow.  It’s a proud moment for the whole team and a culmination of many years of hard work by a great group of people.


As Rick likes to say, this really is the end of the beginning for us.  How so?


Some see TFS as simply a team collaboration server.  However, in my mind, the label may not do justice to the technology’s real value, which is at the heart of our approach to ensuring that software initiatives drive business value.  Team Foundation Server is a critical piece of the puzzle in enabling software development to become a true competency inside of organizations.


As an industry, we’ve helped other areas of the business become more reliable, efficient and targeted.  Yet in many respects we’ve neglected to do this for the software development organization. Other parts of the business, such as marketing, have had the ability to measure the success and failure of their efforts for some time and it’s high time that we were able to do this for software development.


Microsoft is tackling the problem of delivering secure, quality software initiatives in a predictable manner, by focusing on how to get the masses to adopt software engineering principles.  We believe that lightweight processes, instantiated by the tools environment, can enable teams to succeed without impacting their productivity.


It’s a democratized approach that ensures that the tools and best practices for software development can be broadly adopted, without cost and complexity as key inhibitors. To assist in this, we place a priority on tools integration and role-based experiences that is designed from the ground up, rather than after the fact.


TFS not only automates the workflow instantiating the software development process in a more streamlined way, it also uniquely collects real-time data intelligence based on project history, differing from the approaches that rely on industry benchmark data.  TFS serves as a data warehouse that critically links the various roles in the software development lifecycle – from the individual developer, to the architect, testers, system administrators, and all the way to the CIO and Project Management Office.  The systems definition model is a tangible result of a common language between development and operations.  Also early integration of TFS with Enterprise Project Server for project portfolio management feeds into capacity planning, resource management, and impact and risk analysis – so that the right software projects may be selected for the best return on investment (ROI).


Moreover, TFS tackles the people problem head on - ensuring that collaboration is key, particularly important in outsourcing or distributed development scenarios.  It’s also a key link that enables us to bring more and more roles to the table to be part of the software development process.  A good example of this is the professional developer and the creative professional (designer) that need to come together and work collaboratively to build the next generation differentiated user experiences.


I go back to what Rick said — we’re at the end of the beginning.  The foundational platform is there for organizational, team and individual alignment and for providing additional tools both by our partners and by us.  There’s still a great deal of work ahead of us but we are excited for the future and the work we can do with the community to help our customers gain increased business value over their software initiatives.