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Microsoft Team Foundation Server Is A Team Player

Microsoft has announced new Agile and team management capabilities in Team Foundation Server (TFS). Using the Agile 2012 Conference held this week in Dallas, the firm has unveiled a new kanban board for Team Foundation Server to give teams a route to visualizing the flow of backlog items from creation to completion using Scrum, kanban, or a combination of both.

NOTE: As many readers will know, kanban boards have evolved out of traditional kanban cards (representing manufacturing and distribution) to now represent the passage of workflow items as they progress from "to do" or "awaiting", through to "work in progress" and onward to "done" or "completed".

In addition to the kanban tool, Microsoft is also offering a set of command-line tools that facilitate the use of a local Git repository with Team Foundation Server. The new Git-TF is designed to help clone sources from TFS, fetch updates from TFS, and to update TFS with changes committed locally in Git.

For the time being, Microsoft confirms that Git-TF is available only for Team Foundation Server running on-premise.

In line with these Agile-themed releases, the company has also launched the Git-TF open source project on Codeplex so that the community can build upon Git-TF and make it better.

The MSDN's technical fellow for Team Foundation Server Brian Harry says that his group has been watching the growing interest in kanban closely despite the remaining popularity of Scrum.

"Now you can manage your project with Scrum, with kanban, or you can combine them to get the best of both by using kanban to visualize the flow of your Scrum backlog items. Scrum and kanban are both work management strategies that involve breaking down a problem and then visually transitioning work through a series of states," said Harry.

"In general, you tend to use more states with kanban than Scrum and you use limits on states called Work In Progress (or WIP) limits to control how much work can be in each state. While Scrum uses the burn down chart to visualize and manage work through an iteration, kanban uses the Cumulative Flow Diagram to visualize work across your entire backlog.

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