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Musings on Project Management, Work Item Tracking and Reporting from the TFS team

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  • Blog Post: Work Item rules workaround: Saving the resolved reason

    In our last post in this series, Gregg blogged about securing a work item type . Another question along these lines: “How can I save the resolved reason? I want to create metrics based on how bugs were resolved, but the value of the ‘Reason’ field is changed when the bug is closed” Here’s the solution...
  • Blog Post: Work Item Rules Workarounds: Secure creation of a work item type

    In our last post in this series, Sunder blogged about Deactivating a work item type . Here’s another popular request: “Secure creation of a work item type”. For example, people say: “Only my Testers can create bugs” “Only my Business Analysts can create Requirements” This is a legitimate request and...
  • Blog Post: Building lightweight dashboards using Excel

    TFS work items can provide a wealth of information that can be used for decision making and analysis, answering questions like: Are we on track? Is our bug debt growing or shrinking? What is our incoming/fix/close rate? and many others… One way of keeping on top of the daily status...
  • Blog Post: New Power Tool for handling display name change in TFS

    In an earlier post , Dan had posted the details on how a display name change in Windows or Active Directory doesn't automatically get updated in all the areas in TFS. We had a tool to help address this issue that was available only through our Customer Support. Now, in our latest Power Tool release...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/Dev Div uses TFS - Chapter 9 (Transparency in Reporting)

    I apologize for not getting this post out sooner. I was not feeling well most of last week. In a previous post , I talked about how we used TFS to implement the practice of Quality Gates. In this post, I'll talk some of the reports that were used to e track things from the top, CxO level, down to the...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS-Chapter 8 (Tracking Quality Gates)

    In a previous post , I talked about how we tracked risks across multiple projects. In this post, I'll talk about how we tracked quality gates. Let's ponder this for a moment. Let's say at the beginning of the Orcas development cycle, someone very high up in the organization makes statements like the...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS-Chapter 7 (Tracking Risk)

    In the previous post , I talked about tracking progress across multiple projects. Here I'll talk about how we tracked risks across multiple projects. First, let's look at the Progress tab of the Feature record. You'll see two fields related to risk. Risk Level is the standard traffic light indicator...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 6 (Addendum)

    In my previous post , some people asked how we went about creating the report I talked about. I asked the fellow who created this report internally. Here was his response, which I'm passing on to you. (Thanks Doug!) NOTE: I've also attached the .RDL file he forwarded along. being quote> ...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 6 (Tracking multiple projects)

    In a previous post , I talked about the electronic status report. Basically, our status report was filling a number of fields on a work item. Today, I'm going to show how our Program Manager in charge of managing all the projects for TFS used the information to track the progress of several projects...
  • Blog Post: LINQ to WIQL

    Someone showed me this post , and I thought I would pass it along.
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 5 (Tracking Progress)

    Before we talk about tracking progress, it might be useful to review the feature crew lifecycle as described in a previous post . The picture below will be a reference point for this post. The picture below shows the "Progress" tab of our "Feature" work item type. Basically, you are...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 4

    In the previous posts , I spoke about how we used TFS to implement the process. In this post, I'll talk about how we went about planning a release. On the feature record, we had a "Planning" tab: Zooming in a bit: What we did is have people enter an estimated cost for each feature in...
  • Blog Post: Rich text in work items

    It is probably common knowledge by now that the history and html fields allow rich text input. Since there is no toolbar to edit rich text, I have seen users even compose text in editors like Microsoft Word and then paste it in the work item. But looks like it is not very well known that the Visual...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 2 (Feature Crews)

    One of the issues that Microsoft has to deal with on a very large scale is that while they are managing 1200 individual features, all of this works on a single code base. With all that activity going on, how do you maintain the quality of the code base, while allowing individual teams to focus on their...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 1 (Our Process)

    Introduction Many times, we have been asked: “How does Microsoft uses Team Foundation Server”. This series of posts will answer that question (at least in part), by taking you through the processes the Developer Division went through to develop the Orcas release. It’s important to keep...
  • Blog Post: Can I move work items assigned to one user to another using TFSWitDisplayNames tool?

    Short answer is - no. This post is the result of a question from one of our customers who had the following scenario: 1. They have an external developer with a domain account (domain\JohnDoeExternal) 2. The developer gets hired by the company, so they create another account for this user...
  • Blog Post: Work Item Tracking usability improvements - Part 2

    In Part 1 , I covered the following usability improvements we made in TFS 2008: drag-and-drop attachments , field name in tooltip , drag-and-drop columns and MRU field list . Here are the rest of the features. Project scoped field list The list of fields shown in query...
  • Blog Post: Value Propositions, Experiences and Features revisited

    A long time ago, I wrote a post on the internal project management processes we are using in Developer Division.  It was all about Value Propositions, Experiences and Features .  A year later, I'd like to revisit that and dive into the process we are using in Visual Studio Team System. Not...
  • Blog Post: FAQ #4: How do you change to format of a date on a work item?

    Recently, we were asked: A customer wants to format the dates in the Work Item to the format of DDMMMYYY (e.g. 05Feb2008) instead of the standard MMDDYYYY (e.g. 02032008) This answer comes from Aliaksei Baturytski on our team: You can change the way date/time fields appear on the form by using DateTimeControl...
  • Blog Post: What improvements to subscriptions and notifications would you like to see?

    I'm posting this on behalf of Matthew Moloney -- a PM intern who has joined us from Australia! He's got a query on what sort of improvements you'd like to see in the subscriptions & notifications space in a future release. ------ G'day everyone, I'm looking for feedback on a design for...
  • Blog Post: New permissions on work item types?

    Folks, I recently sent out a request to the VSTS Customer Council and the MVPs asking them if they had thoughts on important new permissions to add to work item types in a future release. Note that we’ve already enabled the following scenarios: • Hide work items under a particular area node from...
  • Blog Post: FAQ #2: How do I enforce a rule on Area Path or Iteration Path?

    I saw a question on this recently and thought it would be good to contribute to the FAQ that Gregg started: Incidentally, this solution is from Gregg too :-) <FIELD name="Iteration Path - Validation" refname="MyFields.IterationPathValidation" type="String"> <HELPTEXT>Hidden...
  • Blog Post: FAQ #1: How do you display a field twice on the same WIT form?

    Many times I get asked questions, either via forums, in person, email, whatever. Sometimes, I answer the question several times. What I'm going to start doing is posting FAQ entries on this blog as I encounter these questions. Hopefully, you'll find them useful. One question I get is, how do you display...
  • Blog Post: Dashboard Creator - Update (v1.1)

    In these four posts ( I , II , III , IV ), I introduced a Dashboard creator that I wrote using Excel+Macros. Many thanks to Ed Blankenship , who pointed out that the XLS file that I had uploaded had a phantom reference to a TFS Server, so when you tried to use it, it would error out: ""TF80068...
  • Blog Post: Work Item Tracking usability improvements in Orcas - Part 1

    We made several usability improvements in Orcas that are small features to make things simpler. I will cover these in two parts. Drag-and-drop attachments You can now drag-and-drop files from your file system to add attachments to work items. This makes adding multiple attachments much easier....
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