Category Archives: 3269

Available Check-In Policies for Team Foundation Server 2012

Shipping as part of Visual Studio 2012:

  • Builds – Requires that build was successful (CI builds) and therefore build breaks must be fixed before a new check-in.
  • Changeset Comments Policy – Requires that user provide comments on check-ins. (new in VS 2012)
  • Code Analysis – Requires that Code Analysis is run before check-in. [More]
  • Work Items – Requires one or more work items be associated with the check-in.

Note: The Testing Policy that shipped with VS 2010 is not longer available.

Added after installing TFS 2012 Power Tools (needs to be installed an all VS clients):

  • Custom Path Policy – Allows you to scope other check-in policies to specific folders or file types.  [See here for how to use it.]
  • Forbidden Patterns Policy – Prevents users from checking in files with filenames that contain forbidden characters or patterns.
  • Work Item Query Policy – Requires that the associated work items need to be part of the result of a specified work item query.

Note: When using an older version of VS (2008/2010) you need to install the corresponding version of the TFS Power Tools (VS 2008 requires 2008 Power Tools, etc.)

Developed by the Community:
  • Code Review Checkin Policy – allows to enforce Code Reviews prior to check-in (by Colin Dembovsky). Get it here.
  • Checkin Time Tracker v3 – allows you to gather effort values from developers during check-in (by AIT TeamSystemPro Team). Get it here.
  • Column Limit Check-in Policy – prevents users from checking in files that don’t comply with your column limit coding style guidelines (by Gambitrex). Get it here.
  • Merge / Branch Only Check in Policy – Block check ins that are not part of either a branch or merge operation (by Leon Mayne). Get it here.

Note: When using an older version of VS (2008/2010) you need to install the corresponding version of the check-in policies (for a list of check-in policies for VS 2010, see here).

What about the "Override Warnings" link?

There might always be an unforeseen reason why not all policies could be fulfilled.

How can I deploy custom Check-In Policies to all team members?
How can I create custom Check-In Policies?:

Do you know another great check-in policy for TFS 2012? Let me know!


Updated (May 17th, 2013): Added Merge / Branch Only Check in Policy.

Workflows of MSF Agile and CMMI Process Templates for TFS

When trying to decide which of the two MSF Process Templates – Agile vs. CMMI Process Improvement – for TFS is the right starting point for your company, it helps to compare the work item types and its workflows.

You can download the full guidance from:

MSF for Agile Software Development

featuring 5 work item types: Bug, Requirement, Quality of Service Requirement (QoS), Risk and Task.

Work Item Type: Bug


Work Item Type: Scenario


Work Item Type: Quality of Service Requirement (also known as “technical requirement”)


Work Item Type: Risk


Work Item Type: Task


MSF for CMMI Process Improvement

featuring 7 work item types: Bug, Requirement, Change Request, Issue, Review, Risk, Task

Work Item Type: Bug


Work Item Type: Requirement


Work Item Type: Change Request


Work Item Type: Issue


Work Item Type: Review


Work Item Type: Risk


Work Item Type: Task


As a personal note:

Both templates are a great starting point. The agile template might be a bit more lightweight whereas the CMMI template might fit more the vocabulary and processes that you are used to.

However, both are really just a starting point. In customizing the process you get way more out of TFS than with just using the built-in process templates.

Ways to access Team Foundation Server

Pick your favorite tool for your task/job:

From Visual Studio:

From the command line:

From the web browser:

From Microsoft Office products:

From other platforms or IDEs:

From Windows Explorer:

From other products:

From Windows Taskbar:

(*) requires Team Explorer to be installed.
($) means the product is a commercial third party solution.

Using TFS to develop custom SharePoint applications

Using Team Foundation Server to Develop Custom SharePoint Products and Technologies Applications

Summary: Use Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Team Foundation Server to support SharePoint application development, and provide an integrated development environment and single source code repository for process activities, integrated progress reporting, and team roles. (12 printed pages)

Author: Microsoft Corporation, September 2008


Updated: revised versino of this blog post.

How Microsoft uses Team Foundation Server internally

A good read:

About the technical side:

Using images in description fields


  • The use of HTML description fields in stead of the default description field.
  • Team System Web Access (TSWA) to insert the pictures.



  1. Use a HTML fields for your descriptions instead of plan text fields
    (might need to copy the old descriptions programmatically).
  2. Add the image you want to use to the work item’s attachments:

  3. Save the Work Item.
  4. Double-click your attachment. IE opens. Copy the URL to the attachment to the clipboard.

  5. Open the Work Item in Team System Web Access and use the “Insert Images” bottom (from the toolbar within the HTML field):

  6. Paste the attachment-URL from clipboard:

  7. Save the Work Item.
  8. Done. You can see your picture in the HTML description field.


    Team Explorer:

FIX: An unexpected error occurred while trying to add a web part to a project portal in TFS 2005

Due to a lot of requests about this pretty common problem.

Steps you did:

  1. You browsed for a web part:

  2. You selected one and hit “Add”:

  3. You got the error message: “An unexpected error occurred.”


This is a know issue with WSS 2.0 and a hot fix [1] can be requested at Microsoft which corrects this behavior.

I tried this with various customers and we could then successfully add new web parts after applying it.



Known Work Item History Limitations for Links & Attachments

They are two major problems when looking into the history with regard to links.

1. No clue what has changed:
If you remove an attachment and add a completely different one the history will indicate that there was a change (revision gets in incremented by 1), but it won’t tell you what has changed since TFS only tracks the numbers (e.g. number of external links).


2. Work Item links are only reflected in history on one side:

You have two work items: item 52 and item 53.

You decide to link item 53 with item 52.


Both items show the work item link under their “Links” tab.

Item 53 shows the new link in the history:


But the history of Item 52 shows no changes at all:


V-Modell XT Generator creates TFS Process Templates

Microsoft Germany [1], The Center of Software Concepts at the Technical University of Munich [2] and Zühlke [3] released the V-Modell XT Generator [4] that creates process templates for working with the V-Modell, which is a process modell widely asked for by German customers working for the public sector. It is available via Codeplex.

Congratulations to Marcus Alt [5] from Microsoft and the whole team for realising this project which was quite a bit of work as I experienced first hand!






Some impressions:

CollabXT V-Modell® XT Generator

Instantiated V-Modell® XT in TFS

V-Modell® XT Work Items in in TFS

V-Modell® XT Work Items in WebAccess