Given a choice I would probably use Jira for any and all Scrum projects we have here at RIIS. If you’ve been doing Agile for any time then no doubt you have your own favorite tool that you and your teams are comfortable with and wouldn’t necessarily want to move off. However because we’re a services company we often run into a situation where the customer is more comfortable using a different flavor such as Microsoft’s TFS or IBM’s Jazz. And let’s face it, if you’ve been doing this long enough you’ll remember when there were no tools and everything was on post-it notes. So what tool you use should be irrelevant – the concepts are the same. Or as the Agile Manifesto says – Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

In this blog we’re going to see how easy it is to set up Microsoft’s Agile Team Foundation Services. First let’s take a look at how to Install TFS Server, then how to create a Basic Agile project and finally how to create a board and some simple user stories.

Install Agile TFS 2015

Before installing Agile TFS 2015, you will be required to install Microsoft SQL Server first.

  1. After downloading the installation for Microsoft SQL, run the installation and extract the files.
  2. Once the SQL Server Installation Center has opened, click “New SQL Server stand-alone installations or add features to an existing installation.”
  3. Accept the License Terms and click “Next.”
  4. This setting is optional if you want Microsoft to check for updates. Leaving it unchecked should be fine. Now click “Next.”
  5. For feature selection, ensure that “Database Engine Services,” SQL Server Replication,” and SQL Client Connectivity SDK” are selected. Now click “Next.”
  6. For the Named Instance, “SQLEXPRESS” (Default) is fine. Click “Next.”
  7. For the Service Accounts, the default settings should be fine. Click “Next.”
  8. For Server Configuration, having the authentication mode on “Windows Authentication Mode” is fine. If you will like to create a new admin account, then Click “Mixed Mode” and type in the new credentials. Click “Next.”
  9. After the installation progress has completed click “Close.”
  10. Restart the computer to ensure that the changes take effect.
  11. After logging into the admin account of the server, run the installer for Team Foundation Server 2015.
  12. Choosing the default installation location should be fine. Click “Install.”
  13. Enter the key or install the trial license. Activate then start the Wizard.
  14. Select the Full Server and Click “Start Wizard.”
  15. Specify the SQL Server Instance then click “Next.”
  16. Using the system account should be fine. (default) Click “Next.”
  17. For the Application Tier Settings, the default should be fine. Click “Next.”
  18. For the Build section, using the system account should be fine. Click “Next.”
  19. The Reporting tool is optional. You can skip this step and come back to if after the installation. Click “Next.”
  20. The SharePoint tool is optional. You can skip this step and come back to if after the installation. Click “Next.”
  21. For the Project Collection, select “Create a new team project collection.” Click “Next.”
  22. Confirm the settings then click “Next.”
  23. After the Readiness Check validates the install click “Configure.”
  24. Click Close and reboot the computer for changes to take effect.
  25. After logging in, start the Team Foundation Server.

Install Agile TFS Components

Next download the Team Foundation Server 2015 Update 3. This update provides the new Agile features and gives you the ability to create projects through the web portal.

  1. After downloading the update, run the installation.
  2. Click “Install.”
  3. Specify the database name and select the box at the bottom that says “By checking this box, I confirm that I have a current backup” then click “Next.”
  4. Choosing the system account is fine. Click “Next.”
  5. For the settings for your Application Tier web services, the default settings should be fine.
  6. For the Reporting Configuration click Next.
  7. For the SharePoint Configuration click Next.
  8. On the Review section, click “Next.”
  9. After the Readiness Check, click configure.
  10. After the Configuration process click “Next.”
  11. After the Upgrade progress click “Next.”
  12. Click “close.”
  13. Restart the computer for changes to take effect.

Create Basic Agile Project in TFS 2015

Ok, now that we have TFS installed with all the bells and whistles, let’s create an Agile project with some user stories. We’re going to use an internal training project that we’ve been working on that contains all the bus stops in Metro Detroit called ETA Detroit.

Sign into TFS 2015 with the Administrator account and on the Administrator landing page, click on the Administer Tile.

Clicking on the tile will open another browser window, which is titled as Control Panel. On this page click on the View the collection administration page link.

Click on the link will place the user on the DefaultCollection page, which will allow the administrator to create a New team project. In the Project section click on the New team project link.

Clicking on the New team project link will open a Create New Team Project description window that allows the administrator to fill out the following information:
– Project Name
– Description
– Process Template (Agile, CMMI, Scrum)
– Version Control (Git, Team Foundation Version Control)
Once the form is completed then the Administrator can click on the Create Project button.

At this point a Project Creation progress window will be displayed with a progress bar showing the progress of the project being created.

Once the project setup is completed, a project successfully created message will be displayed and the Navigate to Project button is enabled.

The Administrator can now click on the Navigate to project button and will be taken to the Project Home Page.

On the Project Home page, click on the Work menu option which will place the Scrum Master on the Backlog screen.

On the Backlog view the Scrum Master can select either the Epics or Stories option to add the appropriate card to the project or project backlog.

When the Scrum Master adds a new story to the backlog they can then double click on the newly added card, so that the following information can be added:
– Details
– Acceptance Criteria
– Storyboard
– Test Cases
– Attachments


Read More: RIIS Improves Teams Through Agile Coaching

Board View:

This wasn’t a short blog and as you can see there are differences between the tools but the end result is similar if not the same. Agile TFS is a good addition to the Agile Scrum management space.