Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Magic xpa Application Platform and Team Foundation Server

By now, most of you know that Microsoft replaced the old Visual SourceSafe with a new product called Team Foundation Server (TFS) for Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and source control.  
The Magic xpa Application Platform requires that a Source Code Control tool be SCC compliant and Team Foundation Server meets this criteria. Using Team Foundation Server as the SCC for Magic xpa requires additional software, however.

To get Magic xpa to work with TFS you need to install MS TeamExplorer which will manage your TFS workspace. You should also install the MSSCCI provider. The provider is downloadable from  MSDN at no cost.

The new version of  TFS is Team Foundation Server 2012 and it is an evolution of Microsoft Application Lifecycle Management tools.  TFS 2012 improves the project manager experience by using a new web interface to show product backlog and iteration backlog.  The Team Explorer has changed to improve workflow efficiency. New Feedback Manager and storyboard features enable better development team communication.
You will recall that TFS 2010 allowed for product backlog and iteration backlog worksheets in the Agile Team Project template. TFS 2012 replaces the worksheets feature and and moves it to the Team Web Access interface. Each project can now be managed in a web app. Also available is the SharePoint portal as in the previous version of TFS. The Team Web Access interface allows  project managers to view and manage each project, iteration,  work area, and team member. It also enables access to reports.

The Team Web Access interface uses Microsoft’s new “Metro” UI look and feel as you can see in the home page below. (Are we allowed to call it Metro anymore?)

From the home page you can see KPI information about the current sprint or iteration such as hours remaining in the iteration, capacity, backlog items in progress, and the sprint start date and end date. A new feature allows you to assign dates to a sprint. The home page includes a burndown chart and Team Favorites, which provides a customized dashboard view for queries, recent source changes and history.
The team concept has also been improved. You can create separate teams within a single project with their own product backlog, sprints, members, and other tracking information uniquely for that team. Because a team is assigned a parent iteration, reports can be run just for a specific team using the iteration filter found on the reports. Each team has its own  product backlog iteration where work items are shown.

A sprint backlog has two tabs, one that contains the product backlog items assigned to the sprint as well as the sub tasks associated to it as well as a view of team member capacity. From the capacity tab itself you can execute capacity planning tasks.
For teams running Scrum and Agile development, TFS just got a whole lot better. Please let us know if you have any experience with TFS and Magic xpa Application Platform.

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