Category Archives: 8623

And eScrum is no more

I have posted in the past about the TFS 2005 and 2008 Process Template eScrum from Microsoft; a template we use internally for a number of Agile projects. Well today it has been removed from the Microsoft download sites.

It was decided a while ago that it would not be updated to support TFS2010 and has been removed to avoid any confusion over whether it is support or not by Microsoft (FYI it was never officially supported anyway as it did not originate inside the TFS team)

So are we at Black Marble going to miss it? Well the main reason we had used it in the past was the web interface that gave a single point for updating the status of work items without the need to enter Visual Studio, it was our project wallboard. With the much enhanced Office integration with TFS2010 I think we are not going to miss eScrum. We can now provide an easy way with Excel or Project for any team member (developer or not) to update their work status and also Excel Services to provide a information radiator showing the overall project status.

If you do need a strict Scrum implementation template for TFS then have a look at Conchango’s Scrum for Team System which is going to be updated to make use of all the new features of TFS2010

VSTS 2010 at the PDC

Though not really mentioned in the keynote there are a lot of sessions on VSTS 2010 at the PDC; it is going to be a major really major release.

Chatting in between the sessions with other delegates there seems to loads of interest in the new testing features, but we know this is pain point from meetings. It will be interesting to see how these new tools deliver, I am sure the manual testing tools will be useful, but I am a bit more doubtful over the UI testing tools. We have all seen the demo promise of these products before and hit problems when we try to use them for real.

I think the improved integration for Office is also going to be important. At the moment we use the eScrum template for VSTS and the main reasons for this are the easy project visibility it gives to non-developer users via it’s web site and the way it manages the relationship between the product backlog and sprint tasks (given the lack of hieratical work items in the current VSTS). With 2010 I am not sure we are going to need the eScrum web site. The ease of reporting (and live work item updating) in Excel and hieratical work items will make this it superfluous, so the basic Agile template in 2010 may will be able to do the job.  

TFS Iterations not appearing in IterationPath

I have been working on site that has had to do a disaster recovery of their TFS application tier (AT) due to hardware failure. For a short period they have had to use a spare PC as their AT. Due to the hast required to get the developers working this AT was only configured to for source control and work item editing.

So I was onsite to put the proper replacement AT in place. All seemed to go OK until we added a new Iteration to a team project. It did not appear in the IterationPath field for work items.

This problem actually manifested itself for us in the inability to add a new sprint from inside eScrum. Unlike most team process templates the eScrum front end creates sprints by creating an iterations and an associated work item (to hold extra information) all in one go. This was failing as after the iteration was created it’s creation was not propagated to allow a work item to be associated with it.

After checking the ATs event log we saw TF53010 and TF51338 errors. I then ran the TFS Best Practice Analyser (BPA) and this showed two issues:

  • the MyDomain\TFSService account not being in the TFS [Server]\Service Accounts group. I think this was due to fact that the temporary AT system had used using different accounts and the installation of the new AT had left some behind.
  • due to this the TFS Scheduler was not running reliably, this would explain why the new iterations were not being propagated.

We fixed this using the tfssecurity /g command to add the MyDomain\TFSService  account to the TFS [Server]\Service Accounts group and then restarted the server.

Once this was done we checked the configuration was right using the BPA again, and finally checked we could create sprints in eScrum.