Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Microsoft Team System(cont)

So this is the next post in my team system posts.

I have been working with Team System at work. Although right now we only use it learning. We are not currently running any projects with it. That said, here are some of my experiences with it so far. In this post I will discus working with work items.

A work item is nothing more than a description of work. Some one on the team will enter a work item into the system. If using Agile this item could be a bug, a new task, Risk, scenario, or quality of service requirement. I have only worked with tasks, although in the next few days I plan on creating risks, and quality of service requirements.

When creating a task I used studio. Microsoft says that excel and project both integrate with team system, however I was having trouble using both tools. When using project I could not get it to publish new work items back to the server. It always failed. I was rather disappointed, however I found when working in studio worked fine for me. I am not a Project Manager and so I really only need the work items to be tracked, and assignable to team members.

When creating new work items, you can define your task. Basically you give it a title, a description, assign it to someone on the team, set the items discipline, and define the iteration the item should be worked on. Additionally you can add documents, link it to other work items, view history, and set other details like remaining work hours, start date, and things like that.

Once the item is saved, there are many in the box queries that can be run in studio to view work items. for most people I would guess they would run the my work items query however certain roles may choose to run other queries like the all the work items, or active bugs, resolved bugs, or queries like that.

As a team member works on work items, they can update information and forward the items to other team members or close the items. Closed items can be reopened as needed.

So here comes my opinion. Yes the tool will meet most needs of item tracking. Have I seen tools that do it better, yes, however if you are doing DotNet, the intergration of these tools in studio is really nice. I currently use Jira and Confluence for these types of activities and although I like the interfaces, the fact they don't integrate to well with studio annoys me.

So that is what I have learned. I wish I could share more about integration with the web portal and other ms tools. In future posts I will be talking about other areas of team system.
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