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"I really like the way you can access your work items from within Outlook. I like the way you can bring up the full work item forms, make edits, and save immediately to TFS. It was great to create new meeting requests or mail messages from the work items."

Lori Lamkin
Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server at Microsoft

"These types of products are important to the industry."

Joel Semeniuk
CEO and co-founder of ImagiNET Resources Corp.

"I know of a good number of companies that will love having something like this - getting their timesheet management into TFS (so it can be reported on, especially) will make life a lot easier for them."

James Manning
Software Design Engineer for Visual Studio project at Microsoft

"I like the idea of being able to link work items to e-mails and meetings. I also like that it provides non-technical information workers the option of working with TFS in a more familiar environment. Congratulations to TeamExpand on the release!"

Jason Barile
Principal Test Manager for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server at Microsoft

"TX Chrono, by TeamExpand, allows users to easily track how they are spending their time, store that information in TFS, and make it available for reporting in the warehouse."

Brian Harry
Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server at Microsoft

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TFS Timesheet


TFS Reporting: What’s new in VSTS 2010?

January 3rd, 2011

Visual Studio 2010 has some new TFS reporting features that you can use to design reports, display them in your applications, and integrate with SQL Server Reporting Services. The new TFS reporting functionality includes:

Report Designer for RDL 2008 Schema

The Report Designer supports report creation based on the Definition Language (RDL) 2008 schema. The Report Designer enables to create reports using report items such as the tablix, gauge, and enhanced chart data regions. New features include: enhanced chart data region, new gauge data region, new tablix data region, enhancements to Report Designer, new and enhanced report items and RDL elements.

New Report Wizard

A new Report Wizard simplifies data definition and report design by guiding you through a series of tasks that help you quickly create a report.

Improvements in the ReportViewer Controls

ReportViewer user interface was improved to add value to your TFS reporting initiatives. The new features are:

    • Support for the SQL Server 2008 or a later version of the Reporting Services report server
    • .NET Framework multi-targeting
    • Updated look and feel
    • Export to Microsoft Word
    • ReportViewer ASP.NET AJAX control
    • Programmability improvements

AJAX Support in the ASP.NET Web Server Control

The Web server control is now an ASP.NET AJAX control. It takes advantage of AJAX to help reduce flickers in report navigation and improve interactivity of the user interface.

Programmability Improvements in the ReportViewer Controls

The improvements to the ReportViewer controls include richer event model of the report, customization of properties and values, more status information, session pings, device information settings for interactive reports, printing customization, and enhanced localization.

New features of TFS reporting allow convenient creating and interactive viewing of the information vital for managing projects in the Visual Studio environment.

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TFS Reporting with Templates Included

December 6th, 2010

You can analyze the progress and quality of your TFS project by using the reports in SQL Server Reporting Services. TFS reporting enables you to gather important information from work items, version control, test results, and builds to help track the actual state of the project. Process templates for MSF Agile and MSF Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) include default
TFS reports that enable you to control all components of the project:

Monitor bugs with Bug Trend, Bug Status, and Reactivations reports. You can use TFS reporting to track the bugs that the team is finding and the progress that the team is making toward fixing them.

Monitor builds with Build Quality, build success Over Time, and Build Summary reports. TFS reporting enables to track the quality and success of builds over time.

Manage your software releases with Burn down and Burn Rate, Remaining Work, Status on All Iterations, Stories (Requirements—CMMI) Overview, and Stories (Requirements—CMMI) Progress reports. The Stories (Requirements) Progress report enables you to review the level of effort that the team has dedicated to each user story (requirement). The Stories (Requirements) Overview report helps track how deep each user story (requirement) has been implemented and tested.

Determine how much work was added with the Unplanned Work report. You can use this report to determine how much work the team added to an iteration after it started.

Monitor tests with Test Case Readiness and Test Case Progress reports. You can use test reports to track testing activities and determine how well the team covers the requirements.

Most templates for TFS reporting provide filters that you can use to specify contents to include in the report. You can filter out time period, iteration and area paths, work item types, and work item states. If you want to modify an existing report or create a new report, you can use the Report Builder.

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TFS Reporting: Dashboards

November 26th, 2010

You can find important information about team projects and get a powerful tool for TFS reporting by using dashboards. Dashboards show project data, support investigation, and help make reports. The in-box TFS 2010 dashboards available depend on the version of SharePoint Products. This is how you can leverage dashboards for tracking projects and TFS reporting:

1. Access work items in My Dashboard.
You can use My Dashboard to view and open bugs, tasks, and test cases that are assigned to you.

2. Review progress with the Project Dashboard.
You can report status and progress to see if the team is likely to finish the iteration and analyze the current burn rate.

3. Track iterations with the Progress Dashboard. Progress dashboard helps understand how many hours remain to finish the iteration. Additionally, you can monitor how much work has been added to this iteration.

4. Troubleshoot issues with the Quality Dashboard. You can control whether the team is testing the required functionality and whether it fixes the bugs efficiently.

5. Monitor progress and find gaps in test coverage with the Test Dashboard. You can report on broken tests and control the track team’s automation of test cases.

6. Monitor errors with the Bugs Dashboard. This TFS reporting feature allows finding and resolving code defects. You can monitor which bugs are getting fixed, their priority, etc.

7. Monitor code coverage with the Build Dashboard. You can track the quality of your builds to know how much code is being tested and changed every day. This dashboard enables to understand whether the quality of the builds is improving.

Dashboards help pull out the relevant report data from the various projects. Using dashboards for TFS reporting is very handy, as it enables to see the status of all important components of your project.

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TFS Customization: Changing Work Item Fields

October 27th, 2010

Today, I continue talking about TFS customization. This post covers the topic of customizing work items in TFS 2010. TFS customization provides for managing the appearance and functionality of fields in work item forms. Work item forms use fields to display data. These fields also enable users to input data and select options. You can use work item fields to track data for a work item type, to define the criteria for queries, and to design reports. You can use this TFS customization feature to support the following activities:

    • Change the field label to match your team’s naming rules.
    • Add or modify field’s values.
    • Add fields to capture specific data.
    • Define or customize a pick list.
    • Replace a pick list with a global list to support cross-group consistency.

Before you use the TFS customization technique to add or modify a field, you might want to check whether you can use a field that has already been defined in the team project collection that contains your team project. It will also save you time to use a field that has already been defined in another project collection. Keep in mind, that you can have no more than 1,024 fields in each project collection and no more than 1,024 unique reportable fields in all project collections.

TFS customization is not going to be successful unless you apply a standard procedure to add and modify fields in process templates, team projects, and project collections. To keep consistency of your Team Projects, you should use systematic naming conventions when you label fields for reporting.

TFS customization of work items provides for adding work item fields or changing the attributes of existing fields to support reporting. Before you change or add fields, you have to make sure you don’t have these fields already defined in the project collections. When you add or change fields, you should name them systematically to make sure that data is logically grouped into folders in the SQL Server Analysis Services cube. Don’t forget that TFS customization should be applied to make your work easier and TFS reporting more accurate, not to cause schema conflicts in the warehouse.

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TFS Reporting: Building Complex Reports

October 20th, 2010

In my previous posts, I’ve mentioned how you can use TFS to create and share reports. Today, I will tell you about the tools for more sophisticated TFS reporting that are used to build reports containing more detailed information and can be customized by experimenting with different data and layouts. To create such reports, you can use either Report Builder or Report Designer.

Let’s compare these two TFS reporting tools to find out when you should use one or another.

Report Builder 2.0 is an intuitive report authoring environment for business users. You work with one report at a time and modify a published report directly from a report server. You can quickly build a report by adding items from the Report Part. Use Report Builder 2.0 to work with data, define a layout, preview a report, and publish a report to a report server or a SharePoint site.

Report Designer is a graphical interface for creating full-featured reports. You can use this tool to organize and maintain a master copy of report definitions, report parts, shared data sources, shared datasets, and resource files. You should use Report Designer if you need the following features for your TFS reporting:

    • Use Transact-SQL queries to retrieve the data.
    • Share the reports in Team Explorer under the Reports folder.
    • Allow users to update the report without granting them access to the databases.
    • Subscribe to the reports sent daily by e-mail.
    • Manage the properties of the reports.

Report Builder is much easier to use for TFS reporting, than Report Designer. If you need more sophisticated TFS reporting features, you should use Report Designer. Please note that access to both of these TFS reporting tools requires provisioning with Reporting Services for your Team Project Collection.

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TFS Reporting 2010: What’s New?

October 13th, 2010

To track the development process in TFS, you can create reports that focus on the data that is most important to you. Apart from default report templates, TFS reporting provides rich capabilities for creating your own reports and customizing how your reports will be run, displayed, and delivered to each member of the team.

By using the current release of TFS, you can monitor team projects using several default reports and dashboards. In addition, you can quickly create current and historical trend reports from work item queries. The new features provided in TFS 2010 release related to TFS reporting are the following:

Out-of-the-Box Reports and Dashboards. TFS 2010 release provides additional reports and Excel versions of many reports that are based on SQL Server Reporting Services. By using the new reports, you can track the status of stories or requirements, bug trends, issue trends, test progress, and productivity.

Generate Reports from Work Item Queries. You can generate several reports in Microsoft Excel that show current status and historical data based on the filter criteria that you specify in a work item query. This is useful to show the distribution of work items according to the selected criteria or to view the trends for the past several weeks.

Additional Reporting Attributes of Data Fields.
Two TFS reporting attributes have been added to the definition of work item fields. Reportingrefname enables you to assign a different reference name to a field that is marked as reportable. Reportingname enables you to assign a different label to a field that is used to display data in reports.

Generate Reports across Team Project Collections.
You can now create reports that contain data that is collected from several team projects that are stored in different project collections. All reportable data from all team projects is written to a single relational data warehouse. Collecting data into a single data warehouse supports cross-group TFS reporting.

Generate Reports Against the Relational Database. Creating reports against the relational database is now officially supported. The relational database lets you create reports that pull loosely related data together in ways that are not possible by using the cube.

As you can see, TFS 2010 release provides more TFS reporting features than ever. Though still lacking the functionality to pull out the time for compiling timesheets, TFS can be easily integrated with third-party tools for that matter.

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TFS Reporting: Billable and Non-Billable Tasks

September 28th, 2010

We all make mistakes, and when this happens it’s helpful to let the customer know that you aren’t charging them for the time spent fixing software development issues. If you don’t separate billable and non-billable tasks in TFS reporting, the only way to do this is to create an invoice ahead of time and keep a track of non-billable adjustments manually. It’s rather inconvenient, consumes a great amount of time, and still leaves room for mistakes.

Fortunately, there are TFS reporting tools that allow separating billable and non-billable tasks, and importing billable tasks into the invoice. Non-billable time can be used for all kinds of things. Most frequently it is used to mark what is not included in the invoice, and to approve employee’s time. Non-billable tasks can be also applied to PR and marketing activities, research, telemarketing, sales, etc.

TFS reporting add-ins provide you with the information on time expenses reported for different projects and billable amounts calculated on the basis of the assigned billing rates. You can calculate all time reported within a date range or time spent on a specific task during this date range.

Efficient TFS reporting implies separating billable and non-billable tasks for accurate customer invoicing, better planning and enhanced project management.

Posted in Best practices, Visual Studio Add-ins, TFS Reporting | No Comments »

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