Thursday, November 19, 2009

DogFood v2 Session summary on: Customizing TFS Process Template to Match Your Process.

My slide portion of the session has briefly covered customization and extension points on TFS. Due to time limitations I had to hide a significant portion of slides.  The full version of the PowerPoint Deck is available for download.

In summary, if you are planning on customizing process template I recommend for you to follow a few simple steps:
1. Start with documenting your process.  Do an ALM Assessment, as a mere a fact Microsoft has a great tool for it: Application Platform Capability Assessment.  Spend the time with all the people that are involved in the process and get a "Green Light" from the management.  Remember the process is not only for developers, but for the entire team (including business sponsors and clients).  Create an Action Plan of the implementation steps.

2. Templates shipped with current versions of TFS are not meant to be used as is, they are just blueprints.  Do not treat the process as paint, throwing it on the wall and seeing what will stick is not the best strategy for the development.

3.  Do not expect by customizing TFS process guidance to go fully integrated (dynamic) environment over night. It will take time, long time.  Use your Action Plan (created part of the ALM Assessment) to fully integrated ALM into VSTS/TFS.

4. Treat your TFS server as production server.  Do not go and try some new ideas against.  If you need to prototype a rule or workflow or workitem get yourself a test environment.  Once you know that it is working well in test server, then go ahead and implement it in your production TFS.

5.  Do not be afraid to make process adjustments on active projects (as long as you are following rule #4).  If your project needs a new rule/workitem/field/report/etc then just implement it.  At the end of the project do a retrospective and decide if the change is worth making part of the global template.  If you are not willing to change and adjust the process, chances are it will become stagnant and obsolete.  100 years ago ice houses and transporting ice down the rivers was a booming business, now days we just use refrigerators...

Happy customizations!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Customizing TFS Process Template to Match Your Process at the Second Annual DogFood Conference

On November 12th 2009, I will be presenting on TFS Process Template customization.

TFS is a very versatile tool that has a lot of features and capabilities. I think of TFS as a highly customizable/adoptable to my needs framework. Prior to using TFS we had a lot of different tools to manage our development progress; while we can still use them now, the beauty of using of TFS is that all the data is centralized and available from one tool. It does not matter if it is source code I am after or status report or the progress state of the requirement - I can find all this information in one place, using my everyday tools.

How do you know that the team is following the development process, standards, policies? TFS Process Templates helps to insure that development guidelines and processes are adhere by team members.
TFS comes with two Process Templates (MSF for CMMI Process Improvement and MSF Agile Software Development). In my opinion the two templates are there as an example and a starting for customization and should not be used as is.

I have seen a lot of organizations implementing TFS and using it only for source code management. I have heard many different reasons on why it has been done, starting with: we are just easing into using TFS; or we are not managing our development the "Microsoft Way", or we already have a good process and we do not want to break it, etc...

In my presentation I will show that it is easy to make changes to the process templates, we can actually make changes not only before the project starts, but during the active project. Its like magic going from fighting the tool to actually using it!

Eventhough DogFood conference is sponsored by the partner community, it would not have been possible without Danilo Casino, read more about the conference from Brian's blog.
This 2 day event will feature over 40 technology topics spread over 4 tracks. 

Come and join us: DogFood agenda and registration.

You can track me down at the conference during the "Ask the Experts" in the Executive Briefing Room (4th floor) from 2:30 to 3:40 on 11/12/2009 8800 Lyra Dr., Suite #400, Columbus OH 43240