Microsoft's new TFS 2010 template is pure Scrum

Microsoft released a Scrum process template for Team Foundation Server 2010 at its Tech Ed North America conference in New Orleans this week. The new template, which is in beta, moves beyond the existing Microsoft Solutions Framework/Agile iterative development process template, and fully embraces standard Scrum terminology and processes.

Brian Harry, a Microsoft technical fellow and the product unit manager for TFS, discussed the announcement in his blog on Monday:

"Over the past couple of years, Scrum has evolved as an extremely popular iterative development process and we’ve been getting feedback that our Agile template feels unnatural for teams trying to do Scrum. For example, it uses different terminology like Iteration rather than Sprint, User Story rather than "Product Backlog item", etc."

The state transition models, terminology and reporting metrics are different in the new Team Foundation Server Scrum v1.0 Beta to match the Scrum process, according to Harry. The template includes work-items, three report types (Release Burndown, Velocity and Sprint Burndown) and a SharePoint project portal. Process guidance will be made available when version 1.0 is released.

Visual Studio 2005 Team System, Microsoft's first version of its ALM suite of tools with Team Foundation Server on the back end, shipped with two Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) process templates, MSF for CMMI and MSF/Agile 3.0.

With Team Foundation Server 2010, released in April, Agile project management is greatly improved in the existing MSF/Agile 5.0 process template, according to early adopters, who point to the new Excel planning workbooks, and hierarchical work items, among other features.

The new Scrum process template supports hierarchical work items so it is not compatible with TFS 2008/2005. It does not work with the Excel planning workbooks.

In response to a question, Harry explained that decision on his blog:

"We're in the process of designing some new Scrum sprint planning/execution tools and decided to bypass updating the workbooks unless people really felt that it was critical to have. We'll be taking feedback on priorities over the next couple of months."

Microsoft is considering developing a Task Board for TFS, according to Harry. The Conchango Task Board (now EMC Consulting) is popular among TFS developers. EMC, which acquired Conchango in 2008, has updated the process template Scrum for Team System v3.0 to support TFS 2010. Task Board v3.0 is not part of Scrum for Team System v3.0. It is now a component of a new project utility application called Scrum Masters Workbench.

The release of TFS 2010 also marked the start of the first Professional Scrum Developer Program, a training course developed by Accentient President Richard Hundhausen and co-creator of Scrum, Ken Schwaber. PSD is endorsed by Microsoft and instructor certifications are available to those that receive a 90 percent on the PSD assessment through Scrum.org, Schwaber's new company. Schwaber broke ties with the Scrum Alliance last fall.

Microsoft MVP and Certified ScrumMaster Lei Xu of ALM Networks offered a walk-through of his first experience with the new Scrum process template in his blog and overall he liked what he saw:

"Still, I don't expect too much from every v1 from Microsoft, but this Scrum Process Template is really good as it covers most of tooling requirements of scrum and it even helps you to understand many concepts of Scrum which is confusing at the beginning, e.g. where should I put my bug?"

Download the Team Foundation Server Scrum v1.0 Beta here.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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