Using TFS preview: Start and setup of a project

This is the first post of how to start using TFS preview.

As I mentioned before we shifted towards TFS preview and are unplugging our TFS 2010 on-premises-server.
During a series of posts I will guide you through my setup. These are just my preferences and in no way the only right solution...
So let's get started.
First you need to sign up at
After you login, there is an option to create a new project which will bring you to this screen:
I prefer to use the scrum template, because it's the closest to how we manage our development projects.
After creating the project, just jump to the following screen (Work\Backlog):
In here you can setup the product backlog for your project.
Before I go there I am going to setup the timeframe for my project and the sprints in it.
This is just a simple demo project which must be finished by the end of the month and has 1-week sprints.
After setting up the timeframe, I move to the backlog.
After creating the backlog item, I just move ahead and start adding tasks to the backlog item. In in a larger project this might not be the case, you can always add these later.
After adding the tasks you reopen them and type in the amount of remaining work (planned work) so you can have insight in how much work needs to be done in total.
Now that I have my backlog and tasks setup I start with filling in the capacity of my team and after that you can assign tasks to team members. The nice thing here is you can see how much work there has to be done and how much of the capacity for the current sprint you already used. So any problems might popup here already ;-)
If you move to the work/board view you have a nice integrated scrumboard online. In here you can just drag items from 'to do' into 'in progress' and finally into 'done' just like you would with post-its...
Your progress will display nicely in the home dashboard, were the burndown chart will be updated depending on your progress on the board...
As you might have notice, it says 'Backlog items: 1 not started'. This happens when you didn't change the state of your product backlog. By default it will be new and you can change it to 'approved' etc. It needs to be 'committed' to change the display to 'in progress'
Next I want to setup some nice KPI's (or favourites as they are called) on my dashboard. The first thing I want to know is how much work is in progress, so when I go to 'work\work items' and then to 'Team queries' there is a 'Work in progress' query. By selecting it you get an option to set it as a team favourite. By doing this, it will show up as a tile on the dashboard.
Next I'll create a new query which will query openbugs for this release and will be added to the team favourites as well.
And I like to see what is happening so in 'source\explorer' I click on the source control directory and add it to the team favourites as well. This will show a tile with the activity in source control, so I can see  work is actually being done ;-)
Now I will start Visual Studio and connect to my TFS preview environment.
And add a project to it:
Next I check the project in and move to the build options in Visual Studio. In there I will create a build definition:
I only change the first two items 'General' and more important 'Trigger'. In the second option you can setup when the build should be run; manual (submit a build request from VS), automatic on checkins, or some schedule (nightly builds for instance). 
For the options in 'Workspace', 'Build defaults', 'Process' & 'Retention policy' I keep the default settings.
When this build configuration is saved, everytime I check some code in a build will run automatically.
The nice thing here is, your test-projects will also be run nicely, so if a test fails the build will fail.
And because I will add the build definition as a 'team favourite' as well, I will have a tile on my dashboard telling if the builds still complete or if they fail.
In the image above you can see my favourite dashboard from where I can see the overall status of my project.

Ronald Harmsen

I'm a software developer. When I'm not developing software I'm training & coaching other developers, speaking on a conference or fiddling with some technical stuff.

Arnhem, The Netherlands

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