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Microsoft Reframes Scrum in Visual Studio 2010

At Microsoft's TechEd conference in New Orleans next week expect to hear more about Team Foundation Server 2010 and Scrum, the popular framework for Agile development projects. On tap is a new Microsoft Scrum framework process template for TFS, which moves beyond the Microsoft Solution Framework/Agile concepts (Microsoft terminology) and embraces the widely used language and concepts of Scrum.

Visual Studio 2005 Team System, Microsoft's first version of its ALM suite of tools with Team Foundation Server on the back end, supported Agile development with Microsoft Solution Framework/Agile 3.0 process template for running Agile dev projects.

eScrum, a free process template for TFS 2008/2005 developed at Microsoft by a group outside of the Visual Studio dev team, was "discontinued" last summer. (See Team System 2010 Leaves eScrum Behind.)

With Team Foundation Server 2010, Agile project management is greatly improved, according to early adopters of the MSF/Agile 5.0 framework, who point to the new Agile planning workbooks, among other features.

"It is still a bit of a hack," says Richard Hundhausen, president of Visual Studio ALM consulting firm Accentient. "In 2010, it dropped a lot of the MSF feel to it and now it is very much Scrum in nature," says Hundhausen, a Visual Studio ALM MVP and Microsoft Regional Director. "But there is still a bit of mapping there. What Scrum calls a priority, MSF/Agile calls a Stack Rank." And the list goes on.

"For teams doing Agile and Scrum, Microsoft has made it really easy for you to manage your projects," says Ben Day, head of Benjamin Day Consulting, which specializes in Visual Studio Team System (rebranded Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate) and Team Foundation Server. He cites new features supported in TFS 2010 such as hierarchical (parent/child) work items, and User Story work items found in the MSF/Agile 5.0 framework.

The release of Visual Studio 2010 also marked the start of the first Professional Scrum Developer Program, a Visual Studio 2010 training course developed by Hundhausen and co-creator of Scrum, Ken Schwaber. PSD is endorsed by Microsoft and instructor certifications are available to those that receive a 90 percent on the PSD assessment through Scrum.org, Schwaber's new company. Schwaber broke ties with the Scrum Alliance last fall. Ben Day is among those, who have received the instructor certification.

"A lot of people are doing Scrum but they are not doing Scrum as prescribed," says Hundhausen. "We put together a program that talks about how to do the hard things." In addition to VS2010, Scrum and development practices, the training includes what various team members do in the work hours after the daily Scrum, and how to really take advantage of timeboxing tasks and meetings.

EMC has also updated its process template (formerly Conchango) for TFS 2010, Scrum for Team System v3.0.

With the release of Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate/TFS 2010, it appears that Microsoft is starting to acknowledge the industry demand for Agile and Scrum frameworks. The change may also be spearheaded by experience, many internal Microsoft dev teams use Agile project management. Express your thoughts on Microsoft Scrum. How do you rate the company's support of Agile processes and the new functionality in VS 2010? Drop me a line at krichards@1105media.com.

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 06/03/2010 at 12:54 PM


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Reader Comments:

Thu, Jul 22, 2010 Duh

It's a lot cheaper if you purchase it through license agreements (as a business), and it's just simply a Scrum tool. TFS does a heckuva lot more. Plus, you get every Microsoft server and most desktop products, including dev tools, for design and development use.

Tue, Jun 8, 2010

agile is an adjective. you don't need to capitalize it.

Fri, Jun 4, 2010

Actually, you only need TFS to implement Scrum. Visual Studio is great for implementing quality software however.

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 BinroeTheHeretic

At $12k USD a copy, I'm not sure how many people are going to purchase VS 2010 Ultimate. Or need it; there are existing Scrum tools out there to do the same thing, only cheaper.

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