Mirror, mirror on the wall – A personal retrospective exercise

Great post!

The Road to ALM

During the last year I did quite some Scrum coaching for different teams in different organizations. What I found is that a lot of Scrum teams follow the ceremonies and the rules of Scrum. That is a good thing. What I also found out is that many Scrum teams do not get the most out of their retrospectives. The talk about the process, mention what goes right and mentions what goes wrong, but they do not really follow up the points mentioned. Rookie Scrum teams get some value out of their retrospectives. Most of the times because it is easy to find some points of improvement. The build does not work, more unit testing is needed, we should sit together. But the more mature a Scrum team becomes the harder it gets to find improvements.

A scrum team (just like any other team) goes through 4 different stages of maturity.

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Tweaking the TFS Web Access Client

Recently Microsoft released a great usability tweak to the Web Access Client on Visual Studio Online. It allows users to use the rich text editor in full screen mode. This allows users to utilize the most out of their big screens and allows users to have a better editing and reading experience for large text fields, especially when combining images and text. More of these new features can be read here: Work item Improvements

While these features are to be expected to be in the next on premise TFS release, you may like to have similar functionality in your on-premise TFS right now!

Let me start with a disclaimer: The customization’s in this post are not supported by Microsoft. These changes can break any updates and will be undone by any update installations to your TFS environment. 

For all of you accepting this disclaimer the following adjustments will allow you to use the most of your available screen size.

When you currently open a work item from the task board (or most other locations) you will see the following behavior. As the red arrows indicate, there is allot of space available at the edges and the rich text fields do not utilize the space available.

Default Work Item Experience

The steps below guide you to change the default behavior.

1. Download the FullDialog.css from my DropBox. FullDialog.css or FullDialog.zip

The CSS changes to UI Dialog to be positioned 45px from the top, and to utilize 98% of the available width. For the height it will use 85% of the View Port. Caution this may / will not work on ‘old’ browsers.

Work Item Experience CSS

2. Add the FullDialog.css file to the following directory on your TFS server.

%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 12.0\Application Tier\Web Services\_static\tfs\12\App_Themes\Default\

3. Open the Main.Master file

%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 12.0\Application Tier\Web Services\_views\Shared\Main.Master

4. Add the following line to the indicated location

<link href=”<%:Url.Themed(“FullDialog.css”) %>” type=”text/css” rel=”stylesheet” />

Changes to Main.Master Page
The marked line indicates the location to add the custom CSS file.

5. Execute an IISReset from the commandline. (Mind your step when doing this in a production environment!)

6. Test results! You’re workitem experience is now almost fullscreen and you’re rich text fields will utilize much more space.

Full Screen Work Item Experience
Full Screen Work Item Experience

Additional options, TFS has two UI settings modes available; Default and High contrast. If you do not wish to adjust the Default behavior for all your users you might want to implement this in the High Contrast profile only. This way you provide your users with a choice. These settings can be reached through your User Profile page.

TFS User Profile UI Settings

Combining TFS Version Control and Git with Git-TF

Great post on utilizing the power of Git in combination with Team Foundation Version Control

The Road to ALM

For a customer I am (together with my colleague Jasper Gilhuis) setting up a hybrid solution regarding Version Control. Some Scrum teams use Git as their primary Source Control system and most of them use TFS Version Control.

What we see at different organizations is that it requires the teams to check-in all code on a TFS branch. Most of the times this is needed to facilitate the release process or to facilitate auditors. However, some teams do not like to work with TFS Version Control or cannot work with TFS Version Control (e.g. XCode developers. What happens is that teams maintain duplicate repositories. The “Git” teams set up a TFS workspace and a Git Repository. All the work is done in the Git repository and when the work is done, the files are copied to the TFS workspace.

This works quite well, but traceability is hard. Git teams…

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