Friday, March 30, 2007

Team System And Agile

Having used Team System for about a year now I've come to quite like it, bits of it could be improved but as a developer it is quite a nice environment to work in.

However there is a serious problem with its usage within an agile team, the problem being the outrageous cost of getting users involved.

For example we want to get our users involved early on in the requirements process and to do this we're planning to use a user story based approach. Personally I think it'll work far better than the requirements document or use case approaches that I've used in the past.

Anyway to make this process work we need a way to get our users involved and since they are at the other end of the country from us we have to look at combining software with regular phone calls.

With this in mind I've used the Process Editor bit of the Team Foundation Power Tool to create a custom user story work item and we're getting our users to trial TeamPlain so that they can see/modify the actual work items.

The idea is that they specify the work item and that it will then move through multiple states. It will start in a new state, once the users have specified acceptance tests they can move it to a signed off state, we in the development team will than handle moving it to the in progress and complete states and finally when the users get the release they can use the acceptance tests to test the functionality before moving it to a closed state (if all goes well).

I think this should work fine and, despite a few issues, TeamPlain likes a good tool for our users to play with.

The only problem, and its a huge one, is that in order for our users to interact with Team System in the way we want them to each of them will need a client access license. This will add massively to the cost of team system and goes against the aims of agile to a point that seems ridiculous.

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