Process Guidance and Process Templates for Team Foundation Server

Process guidance provides information about how to coordinate work on a team project, and how to use a type of work item in the overall project life cycle. Process templates determine the artifacts available within a team project and how you will run your project. Process guidance is specific to the process template used to create a team project.

To access the latest versions of the default process templates, install Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012. You then download them using the Process Template Manager.

In this topic

  • Choosing a process template to create a team project

  • Using the artifacts available with your team project

  • Using the Agile backlog and task board

  • Increasing team velocity

  • Customizing a process template, process configuration, or team project artifact

Choosing a process template to create a team project

Related topics: Choose a Process Template | Create a Team Project

The starting point for working with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) is to create a team project to track information and to organize source code, builds, tests, and plans for your team. As the following illustration shows, you create a team project by choosing a process template, which defines the artifacts–work items, queries, documents, reports, and more–that support planning and tracking activities.

Process Template is used to create a Team Project


After you upgrade to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012, you can still access the data from team projects that you created in the previous release. To access some of the new features, however, you will need to update your upgraded team project.

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Using the artifacts available with your team project

Related topics: Scrum Process Template | Agile Process Template | CMMI Process Template | Access Process Guidance | Feedback Request | Code Review

You can learn how to run your specific project using the artifacts provided with your team project from the process guidance content. The process guidance that is provided for team projects that you create by using one of the default process templates provided with Team Foundation Server is hosted in the MSDN Library. This includes process guidance for Visual Studio Scrum 2.0, Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) for Agile Software Development v6.0, and MSF for Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Process Improvement v6.0. If you use a process template that is not listed, you might find associated guidance on another site.

Process guidance documents the process to be followed by team members who work on a software project. Work items, reports, and queries can all change during the lifecycle of a team project, and they can be different between team projects. Process guidance provides details about a team project, such as information about how to complete work item fields, examples of healthy and unhealthy reports, and descriptions of the queries. Process guidance also provides details about the process to follow on a team project, such as roles to assume and activities to complete.

To enable process guidance or to redirect it to your customized content set, see Configure a Project Portal or Process Guidance.

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Using the Agile backlog and task board

Related topics: Agile Planning and Iterations

Visual Studio ALM provides the following tools to manage your project using Team Web Access:

  • Product backlog: The product backlog page shows a single view of the current backlog of work that can be dynamically re-ordered and grouped. Product Owners can quickly prioritize work and outline dependencies and relationships.

  • Sprint backlog and team capacity: The sprint backlog page reflects in real time the data you input that includes work items assigned to the iteration path, and specifying dates, individual work capacity, and work interruptions both for the team and individuals. Teams can get instant feedback on the rate of burndown and where they are over capacity.

  • Task board and burndown chart: As a daily practice, the team can view and update the task board to reflect the status of work items visually. The team sees the progress they are making against each product backlog item and can quickly focus on remaining work. Also, integrated into the task board is a real-time burndown chart of the remaining work in the team’s sprint.

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Increasing team velocity

To increase the velocity at which your team delivers value to your customers, your team can apply engineering practices that come from Agile methodologies and that support Agile principles and values.

  • Storyboard backlog items: You can illustrate user stories quickly using PowerPoint Storyboarding, or within a work item by illustrating the story through formatted text and inline images. Providing a visualization of what the team needs to build allows you to more easily get feedback from your team and stakeholders.

  • Engage stakeholders to provide continuous feedback: Getting the right feedback at the right time from the right individuals can determine the success or failure of a project or application. Frequent and continuous feedback from stakeholders supports teams in building the experiences that will delight customers. As stakeholders work with a solution, they understand the problem better and are able to envision improved ways of solving it.

  • Build and deploy continuously: If a team waits a long time between checking code in and deploying a build, members of that team frequently spend a significant amount of time addressing build breaks and integration issues. If your team checks code in and builds more frequently, you can generally expect to increase your team's velocity.

  • Branch strategically: Your team can create and use branches in version control to optimize your application development strategy.

  • Test early and often: Your team can verify that it is creating the software that its customers need by effectively testing against the acceptance criteria specified for each backlog item. Your team should start to test early and test often as the code is built. At the start of a sprint, your team should create the test plan for the sprint. That test plan can use test suites that organize the tests in a way that helps your team run them and track the results.

  • Model your application: Your team can use models to explore and refactor existing code, to understand your customers' needs more effectively, to help determine and communicate your software design, and to inform the development of acceptance and component tests.

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Customizing a process template, process configuration, or team project artifact

Related topics: Customize Process Templates | Customize the Backlog and Board Pages Using Process Configuration | Customizing Process Guidance | Customize Project Tracking Data, Forms, Workflow, and Other Objects

You can customize a process template before you create a team project to support specific processes and practices that your team uses, and to design your workflow, work item forms, and data fields. As the following illustration shows, you can create or customize eight types of objects. You manage categories, work item types, and process configuration for team projects. You manage global lists, link types, and work item fields for team project collections. You can customize global workflow for a team project or a team project collection.

Work Item Tracking Objects

After you create your team project, you can still customize many of the objects to support your team’s processes. These include adding fields to support reporting, changing the workflow, customizing the work item form, and more. If you change the workflow of a work item type, you may need to also update the process configuration for that type.

To enable process guidance or to redirect it to your customized content set, see Configure a Project Portal or Process Guidance.

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See Also


Customize Process Templates

Planning and Tracking Projects