If you are a Project manager in charge of scheduling and tracking software projects, you probably rely on Microsoft Project to lay out the schedules, manage dependencies, load balance resources and estimate the end dates. The TFS add-in within MS Project enables you to easily add and update TFS work items as tasks to the project plan. Individual team members use any tool to update their tasks and the Project manager can get these updates by simply refreshing the TFS bound project plan.

We often hear from customers about how certain Microsoft Project features produce unexpected results in the TFS world. Consider the scenario where you have summary and individual tasks being round tripped to TFS, auto-calculation is turned on and the remaining work field is published and refreshed from TFS based on the mapping file settings. You will notice a toggle effect on the date fields on Refresh if the rollup of the remaining work isn’t accurate. This happens because dates are being read from TFS and also being calculated by Project based on the remaining work.

One workaround for this issue is to set the remaining field to PublishOnly so it is controlled only by the Project manager, or alternatively not have the summary tasks round tripped to TFS. In addition, we also recommend that you keep a local copy of the project plan to preserve information on tasks such as hierarchies and dependencies that cannot be stored in TFS.

Another issue that users encounter is when Resource names in their environment have comma delimiters. By default, Project is configured to use the comma as a resource separator but TFS doesn’t allow multiple resource assignment to a task. As a result, these tasks cannot be successfully published to TFS. In Project this task is considered to be split between 2 different resources and the calculation engine changes the end dates accordingly, which is not expected.

By applying the fix described here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/919232, you can circumvent the above issue.

There are a few other limitations in the V1 Project client integration, which we are working towards resolving in future releases.

Tell us what you think

We would also love to hear about the ways you are using this integration, the challenges you face and the features you would like to see in future. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey at http://www.developersurvey.com/Surveys/TakeSurvey.aspx?surveyid=1137.

Cheers!

Yogita Manghnani

TFS Office integration Program Manager