Project Server and TFS integration feature pack, released with TFS SP1, enables information sharing in a simple and transparent way between development teams and project managers, while everyone being able to continue working with the tool that suits better his needs.
It is very common, specially after realizing that some work items in TFS can receive information about worked hours, to ask oneself if TFS can be used by developers to inform about the progress made on the project. This is not easy to achieve by only using TFS; although most process templates allow us to update worked hours on a task, it is not possible to provide some necessary information, like the actual dates when these hours were worked.
In case you were wondering, while reading, if I’ve suffered a crisis and I’ve stepped from agile to command & control, I’d like to emphasize that it’s perfectly OK to be agile, and at the same time benefit from using Project Server. In fact, the team is going to be less interrupted and thus they’re going to be able to work more on delivering value, which is what they are supposed to do. It is a common misconception to think that people working on high level project management within an organization should move away if agile practices are adopted into it.
No matter how agile we are in any particular project, there always will be some work of coordination between projects, kick-off, enterprise-level management, portfolio maintenance…, and at the end, of optimizing and synchronizing the efforts which each team is performing. This doesn’t impede each team from working with Scrum or from benefiting of agile practices; in fact, trouble usually comes when project managers try to take control of too much details, and impose decisions related to development work, which should be left up to the team.
On the other hand, any agile developer would be mistaken if he didn’t facilitate visibility of the information, necessary for project tracking at the organization level. Visibility is the first requirement for empirical process control, which is the heart of Scrum and other agile models. And, if visibility is a key for assuring any project’s good health, it is even more important one level higher, when working on different projects as a whole.
These concepts are well described in the scenario presented in the following links, which is one of the ways the TFS and Project Server integration works:
- Agile Teams are no longer Black Holes
- Making Aglile Teams progress visible to the Program Management Office
If you want to learn more about Project Server and TFS 2010 integration, these links will be useful:
- Overview, by Brian Harry
- Integration tools documentation at MSDN
- MSDN Forum
- Some more scenarios at Brian Keller’s blog in Channel9, searching by Project Server
Besides that, I’m including the links and slides from the session that took place last March in Madrid, where I spoke about project management in general, Project Server and TFS, and integrating them. Warning: it’s the extended version, 4-hour long, of the session given later by Ibon at the event “Destino la Nube” (everything in Spanish).
Entire recording and summary of the session: http://www.globbtv.com/microsite.aspx?id=12&cmd=0&cat=111