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Continuous Integration through Microsoft Visual Studio’s Team Foundation Server (TFS)

By Emerging Technologies Group •  February 10, 2014

Comparison of Scrum and Agile templates based on Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2013 

As the complexity of a software development project increases, there is a greater need for the development team to tighten integration, collaboration, and planning to control each step of the process.  The practice of “continuous integration” helps to achieve this level of rigor throughout the software development lifecycle.  The strengths of continuous integration include: 

  • Improving software quality
  • Reducing risk
  • Reducing repetitive processes
  • Consolidating ideas
  • Providing a platform for feedback and collaboration
  • Automated testing
  • Code inspection and review

There are a lot of tools available to aid the software development lifecycle, such as requirements management tools, version control repositories, bug tracking software, IDEs, testing tools, and others. A big challenge in continuous integration is ensuring the smooth interplay among these different tools.  However, often times trade-offs are made when trying to create a synergy using disparate software.

This is where Microsoft Visual Studio’s Team Foundation Server comes in handy.  It provides a one-stop solution to support the development process.  As an early adopter of TFS 2013, here are some of the experiences our team had in implementing Team Foundation Server (TFS).

Bundled together with TFS are process templates, which you can customize to your particular needs.  It’s important to choose the right template, because the template will determine the set of work item types, queries, and reports that you’ll use to manage your project.

Scrum and Agile were the templates that most appealed to our team since we adhere to the Agile development methodology.  The table below shows a comparison of these two templates based on TFS 2013.

Process Area Visual Studio Scrum 2013 MSF for Agile Software Development 2013

Workflow States

  • New
  • Approved
  • Committed
  • Done
  • Removed
  • New
  • Active
  • Resolved
  • Closed
  • Removed
Product Planning
Task and Iteration Planning
Bug Backlog Management
Project Management
Test Management
Code Review and Feedback
  • Code Review Request
  • Code Review Response
  • Feedback Request
  • Feedback Response
  • Code Review Request
  • Code Review Response
  • Feedback Request
  • Feedback Response
Iteration Style
  • Start Date / End Date can be set for reach release
  • Release1
    • Current
      • Sprint1
    • Future
      • Sprint2
      • Sprint3
  • Start Date / End Date can be set for each iteration
  • Current
    • Iteraton1
  • Future
    • Iteration2
    • Iteration3


Product Backlog / User Story State Diagram:  Visual Studio Scrum 2013


Product Backlog / User Story State Diagram:  MSF for Agile Software Development 2013

Both the Scrum and Agile Process Templates have the same workflow in terms of test management and code review/feedback.  In terms of Task and Iteration Planning, both templates would work since we actually set an iteration to span a specific time period. Regarding Iteration Style and Bug Backlog Management the two do not differ much.

One thing worthy to note with using the TFS experience is the ability to link workitems to objects and support traceability.  For instance, one could see the build that the team has made and associate a bug to a specific line of code and particular requirement or event that triggered the fix.

Additionally, the benefits gained from being able to cohesively manage all phases of the development cycle – from user story management, to development, to testing, and finally to release – makes the implementation of a continuous integration environment, like TFS, vital to any development team.



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