Upgrading Team Projects from Agile 4.2 to Agile 5.0 on TFS 2010–Part 1, The Process & Tools

by Angela 28. March 2012 06:51

So, I am NOT calling myself the absolute guru of Team Foundation Server work item tracking or process template upgrades just yet, but I did learn a ton during the process and wanted to share my experience in case you can glean some wisdom from it.  Now I leveraged a LOT of content written by other VERY smart people from the TFS product teams so I try to be sure to give credit where credit is due. I experienced some bumps and bruises along the way because I was following at least 5 different sources on the internet for the upgrade and they did not all contain the exact same info.  Since the same things might trip you up, give the post a quick run-through all the way to the end.  I know it’s a lot to sort through, but you’ve probably played Mine Craft for hours at a time so I am sure you can handle this. Also, I broke it into 3 parts since there is so much to cover and it WAS getting a bit ridiculous, even for me Smile 

We (Polaris Solutions) have a TFS 2010 instance that has a lot of legacy TFS 2008/Agile 4.2 Team Projects on it. I have been working on getting all of those projects upgraded to be more in line with the newest Agile 5.0 templates so that we can take advantage of some of the great features of TFS 2010 like Test Case management, hierarchical work items, new relationship types, and more. Now my life was made easier by the fact that this particular instance was not running SSAS/SSRS or SharePoint, and the original Agile 4.2 templates were unaltered, so really I was only concerned with making basic updates to the process templates and didn’t have to deal with reporting, merging customizations, or enabling the agile planning workbooks. But I still ran into some snags…

So, first thing is first, dump that chump command line and get a more functional one. You’ll spend some time at the command line so might as well not have it be painful.  I seriously owe Scott a big box of Sugar free brownies or something for this. Rocked my world!  If you’re not a fan of the command line, download the TFS 2010 Power Tools which will give you a lovely GUI interface for doing things like downloading your process templates and exporting/importing work item definitions and global types.  I actually switch between them depending on the task.  Also, the Power Tools just got updated in December of 2011, and some of the new features will bring a tear to your eye.

Next, download Hakan’s update script. Make note that you must be upgrading from a virgin Agile 4.2  process template to a 5.0 one to be able to just run it and be more or less done. If you have some customizations the script will still come in handy but you may need to tweak it, or reverse engineer your customizations back into the resulting template. Hope you documented all those changes, hehe. But don’t panic, the first thing his script does is back up your original template before changing it. Like I said, he’s a smart dude.  Here is what you will see when you grab the zip file and unpack it:


It includes a batch script to execute all of the necessary backup and import operations, a new Categories definition, 2 new link types (TestedBy and SharedStep), and new (SharedStep, TestCase) and updated (Bug, Scenarios, Task) work item definitions. Even if you decide not to use his script, these files could come in handy for manual updates as well, so I suggest grabbing it nonetheless.

Now honestly, I’m not one for blindly running ANY script, even one written by someone as awesome as Hakan, so I dug through his script line by line, looked at the artifacts it used, and compared it to the documentation on MSDN for updating old process templates to leverage new functionality.  I realized that the first couple of steps could be skipped altogether since I had some TFS 2010 projects in that collection already, and so things like categories and link types already existed.  You will see in a later post that this bit me in the butt Winking smile Uploading any of the template artifacts using Hakan’s script won’t hurt anything so long as you haven’t modified the ones on the server, import = overwrite in this case.  I did a lot of it by hand at first, using my spiffy new command line tool and the power tools just so I would understand better what was happening.  Once I was comfortable with that, I updated another project using Hakan’s script. Much faster process and way fewer errors, shocking right? Hehe.  I did run into a couple of errors that the script could not handle; one that I address in my next post that has to do with some “friendly name” value changes between 2008 and 2010, and another having to do with something that may or may not be a standard practice which I address in my third post.   For now my process is to start with Hakan’s script to get the imports done quickly, then make manual tweaks to bring the template the rest of the way in line to what we need. 

Now if unlike me you do also have SSRS/SSAS and SharePoint installed and need to turn on some other features, check out Aaron’s post and Allen Clark’s post on how to finish up the upgrade. Like I said, mine was a little less involved but those articles are widely held as THE ones to use as a guide if you find yourself in this situation as well. Hopefully I sprinkled in some tips and tricks to help you out as well Smile

One last thing you absolutely should have any time you need to work with process templates is a good compare tool.  I ran across 2 tools used for visualizing process template artifacts that saved my butt!  The first is the “Team Project Manager Tool” on CodePlex. Gives you a quick and easy way to look the XML in your template, do quick comparisons, but also includes tools to help you visualize/manage build templates, security and even source control. I love this tool SO MUCH!


And while in this instance I did not need it as much, the TFS Rangers Integration Platform Mapping Tool is a pretty neat tool and came in pretty handy too. When I had an instance where I wanted to quickly compare two WIT definitions and see how the fields mapped and where there were differences, it had some great visualization capabilities:


Well that’s it for my process and tools bit.  I have 2 more posts that cover issues I ran into with field mismatches, and making changes to allow for QoS requirement work items to take the place of User Story work items. They will be posted shortly!


Part 2 – Field Mismatches

Part 3 – Swapping in QoS Requirement for User Story


Visual Studio | Team Foundation Server | TFS | MSDN | Application Lifecycle Management | Agile | ALM | Work Item Tracking | Requirements Management | Test Case Management | SDLC | Power Tools | TFS 2010 | TFS 2008 | VS 2010


Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group Meets again on April 25th

by Angela 14. March 2012 11:23

I was fortunate enough this year to be involved with the ALM Chicago 2012 conference back in February, and I heard some great talks, and met some seriously talented people. One of them is Gail Swanson, a U/X designer from SapientNitro.  I got to spend a little time with her between sessions and talked about some of the challenges we have both seen in the industry when it comes to delivering a good user experience, and not just “working code”.  It occurred to me that U/X is a topic we have never really dug into in our ALM user group, and I for one find it to be a bit of a black art.  So I was very excited when it turned out that Gail could speak at our April user group about this very thing.  We will be meeting in the Downers Grove Microsoft office, on Wednesday April 25th.  Click here to RSVP for the event.

Topic: User-Centered Design and Usability Testing for an Effective User Experience

Across all platforms, the differentiator between widely adopted applications and those that are discarded is successfully meeting user needs through a positive experience. User-Centered design techniques provide the tools needed to create that engaging and usable application. Usability testing is needed to find what will trip up your users and stand in the way of your product meeting its goals. Understand how to quickly gather the information you need about the where, when, why, how, and by whom the application will be used as well as the techniques to apply that information to an interface design. If you’ve been wondering what UX is and how you can use it to improve what you make, we’ve got that covered.

BIO:  Gail Swanson, is a User Experience Designer, Speaker, and Blogger from Milwaukee, WI. She is passionate about creating experiences that help people be more productive, informed, delighted, and nice to one another. As an advocate of Agile, Scrum, and she is working to integrate UX into that landscape. Gail works to make UX Design more adaptive and accessible to organizations. The ultimate goal is to happily work together to create things that work for people.

Gail Swanson is Associate Creative Director, Experience Design at SapientNitro. Gail blogs about practicing user experience design in the real world at www.practicallyux.com. Twitter:@practiallyux


ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | U/X | User Experience | Testing | User Acceptance Testing


Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group VS 11 Beta Load Fest this Wednesday at the Aon Center!

by Angela 12. March 2012 11:49

If you are joining us in Chicago this Wednesday for the VS 11 load fest, I am assuming your plan is to install the bits and get your hands dirty as quickly as possible. We will have a few external hard drives that we can pass around to make getting the bits on to your machine fast and easy, but if you don’t want to wait that long you can also get the bits in a number of places on-line.

If you don’t have the luxury of a PC you can install the Beta bits on, there is also the option of using great Hyper-V image that Brian Keller posted to his blog a couple of weeks ago. It includes VS 11 Ultimate Beta, TFS 11 Beta and Test Pro 11. It even includes some great Hands on Labs to walk you through some of the new capabilities. If you have Windows 8 or Windows Server running, this is by far the fastest and easiest way to get your hands on it.

If you don’t have MSDN, you are in luck because the VS 11 Beta became publically available on February 29th.  All freely available VS 11 Beta Tools can be found here.  The list of available bits can be overwhelming so at a minimum I would install:

· One of the server versions:

· One of the Visual Studio IDEs

· One of the Team Explorer Clients

· If you want to get crazy, here are 2 other great tools to try out:

If you do have an MSDN subscription, you have a slightly wider range of bits available to you.  Login to your MSDN subscription here and go to Subscriber Downloads where you will have access to all of the bits for the various products.  If you don’t have an MSDN subscription or are wondering “why on earth would I want one?”, I spent a little time on my blog today waxing philosophical on that point for you J

Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday, and please don’t forget to email me if you need to back out so we can adjust the food order! And if you haven’t RSVPd yet, what are you waiting for? Winking smile


ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | MSDN | TFS | Team Foundation Server | VS 11 Beta | Visual Studio | development


Hey, are you letting you MSDN benefits go to waste? I bet you are…

by Angela 12. March 2012 11:25

WARNING: This is a bit of a rehash but since I lost access to my old Microsoft blog, I thought it was worth a refresher. 

I have always been passionate about being thrifty. I’m by no means an extreme couponer, cause let’s be clear, I am also LAZY. But some things are just no brainers…  Like using your MSDN benefits. I know, it sounds weird, but don’t run off just yet, I promise it’ll be worth a few minutes of your time.

First caveat I am going to issue is this: I am not a Microsoft sales or licensing expert so I cannot sell this product to you, or tell you what you own today, or how much it would cost to buy it.  I CAN however, connect you to someone who can help you find out that kind of information so feel free to ask if you have questions.  As a technologist who regularly leverages MSDN as an end user, I CAN tell you that it is chock full of awesome.  So, on to the post…

I used to work for Microsoft, and I had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of customers, which means thousands of developers.  Most, if not all of the customers that I spoke to had MSDN and were simply not using it.  Sometimes they simply didn’t know they had it, in other cases they didn’t realize how much value it had to a developer and just never got around to setting up access, and in a few cases the company was just so big that they didn’t feel they had the bandwidth to roll it out and manage it.  Every one of these companies is actively in a mode to save money and “do more with less” which almost always translates to no training, no tech support, nothing new and shiny for the folks in IT.   And yet they are NOT using the MSDN they already paid for.  This is where my head explodes a little O.o

As a developer I simply couldn’t function in a truly productive way without using my MSDN benefits.  I am on the forums and using my support and training on a regular basis, sometimes daily depending on the project.  Financially it’s also quite a deal when you look at what is rolled into it!  In the past few weeks I’ve downloaded SQL, several operating systems and all of my developer tools.  All included, no extra charge.  And in some cases you get bonus downloads that other folks don’t have access to!

So let me start by explaining what MSDN is, because no, I do not simply mean the general MSDN library that you probably hit every day to look at documentation, knowledgebase articles, etc.  The Microsoft Developer Network Subscription serviceis what I am referring to.  It is a bundle of software and services that may get purchased along with Visual Studio by you or your employer.  It includes a number of VERY valuable resources and products such as:






Just to call out a few of my favoritest (it’s a word!) features:

  • TFS Server and CAL for development, test and production use.  That’s right, you heard it. You can use TFS for production use with your MSDN subscription at NO EXTRA COST.  Want to know more about TFS, check out our website, then email me for more information and to setup a demonstration. It’s what I do.
  • Production rights to Office Ultimate, if you have MSDN with Visual Studio Premium or Ultimate.  Having Office OneNote alone makes it worth MSDN, for real. It’s the Ultimate Planner and note taking tool that I was introduced to back in my Business Analysis/Requirements gathering days.  I couldn’t survive without OneNote. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend giving it a test run.  You’ll never use Notepad for note-taking again.
  • Support incidences – as in you can CALL SUPPORT if you get hung up on something in development or test environments. Don’t sit in forums all day, tearing your hair out trying to solve issues you encounter with our tools or programming languages anymore. USE your benefits.
  • E-Learning – FREE training. You’re always looking for free training aren’t you? No more excuses, here it is! New courses are being added fairly regularly, and you will find a wide variety of topics are covered including Windows Security Essentials, SharePoint Services .NET Framework, Visual Studio 2010 Testing Tools, Active Directory and more…
  • Unlimited priority support in the MSDN forums. That’s right, the place you probably go anyway. You get special treatment. It’s like having a Flash Pass at Six Flags only WAY cooler.  And now that I no longer work for Microsoft and can’t just call up Brian Harry and say “Yo, why am I having issues with TFS branching?”, cause you know I totally did that, OK I didn’t but still. I have already used this feature a LOT as a consultant in the field. It’s worth its weight in gold-pressed latinum.
  • And remember - many benefits, like eLearning and support incidences regenerate every year you have MSDN, but they do not rollover. Azure benefits are reset every MONTH!  So you snooze, you lose.

There is a lot more to MSDN, I’m really just enticing you with some of my favorite features. Feel free to check out the rest of the benefits you may be passing by on the MSDN Subscriber benefits site.  And hey, if you’re not impressed then maybe you know everything already, and you never encounter issues with Visual Studio, Office, .NET or any of the other tools you use day to day to get your job done. Right, I thought so.  Check it you, and if you suspect you *might* be entitled to it, find out for sure and then get signed up.  You won’t regret it. 

While many new changes are coming with the new product line in Beta right now, this slide deck should be MOSTLY accurate if you want a step-by-step walkthrough of how to take advantage of your various MSDN benefits: https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=e796c9484df4baa3#!/view.aspx?cid=E796C9484DF4BAA3&resid=E796C9484DF4BAA3!2136


Application Lifecycle Management | MSDN | TFS | Team Foundation Server | VS 11 Beta | Visual Studio | development


I’m Back in the Blogosphere

by Angela 1. March 2012 15:00

So as you may know I left Microsoft DPE back in December of 2011.  Don’t worry, it was not a bad departure, I simply chose a new path in life…  It was actually a surprisingly smooth transition and I am still deeply connected to DPE.  Which is good, because I’m already suffering some withdrawal symptoms, having to wait like everyone else for Beta software bits was brutal. Seriously, how do y’all stand it!?

Not much else has changed. I still love to rant and rave about TFS and Visual Studio on Twitter, I now run the ALM practice for an ALM partner in Chicago, I am still running the Chicago Visual Studio ALM user groupand even have a March event on the books as of right now, and have also signed on for some other great events including ThatConference - which is being run by some awesome dudes, including Clark Sell.  Speaking of, keep ThatConference on your radar. Speaker submission opens soon, and tickets will be available in May. I imagine it will sell out quickly and it promises to be fairly spectacular!

This post is a bit light on content, but I have a lot to get my arms around before I start blogging full force again.  Also, I’m a billable code-slinger again so that certainly gets in the way occasionally Smile  As a matter of fact this week I implemented TFS for a customer in Wisconsin, and migrated our internal TPC to new hardware for Polaris. W00t!

More to come, stay tuned…


Team Foundation Server | Visual Studio | TFS | VS 11 Beta | MSDN | Windows 8 | development | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Agile

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