Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Conchango Scrum for Team System 2008 Plug In Beta 2

I recently posted that Conchango posted the beta for the second version of their scrum plug in for Team Foundation Server 2008. I have been using the new process template for my TFS/Scrum presentations and wanted to list a few of my favorite features:

  • Use of Iterations for designating Sprints: Previously you entered a sprint number into Product Backlog Items (PBI) and Sprint Backlog Items (SBI) to designate what sprint they corresponded to. There was no real validation and it was a tenuous link at best. Now the TFS Iterations are used and it provides a more solid approach.
  • User Stories in Product Backlog Items: The PBI template now supports the User Story motif with a specific field for the user story text and another for the acceptance criteria. Not that you could not have done this before, it is now just built in.
  • Much Improved Project Portal: The project portal is much cleaner than the previous version and I love the built in Wiki. It would be nice to have the ability to add a link directly to Wiki items, but you can do this with Hyperlink links if you really want to.
  • Bug Work Item: We created our own "Bug" work item in the previous version. Having a built in item for this makes reporting much easier out of the box.

I have also enjoyed several of the improvements to TFS 2008 including:

  • Easier Build Type Creation: A new wizard makes creating a build type much easier. Things you used to have to man handle the XML build script to accomplish are now simple options in the creation wizard.
  • Queued Builds: I hated getting the pop up telling me another build was already in progress and having to sit and wait for it to finish.
  • Out of the box Continuous Integration (CI) support: What used to be several steps that included touching event subscriptions, filters, and web services is now a few options on the build creation wizard.
  • Links in Web Access: There has never been a very good way to see the link relationships between work items, but now the views in the Web Access portal show a nice little plus icon so that you can drill down to related items. Very nice.
I am still in the honeymoon phase with these products and have not yet upgraded them in production, so I am sure there may be new issues lurking under the surface. So far I am pleased with the new features and upgrades.

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