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These are a few of my favorite things, about TFS 2013 (Part 1)

by Angela 18. October 2013 13:31

Are you picturing a redhead dancing around a large bedroom singing about string and warm woolen mittens?

Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Only I’m no Julie Andrews, I don’t actually have a very good singing voice, and our house is not nearly that fancy :)  Also, instead of brown paper packages I am singing the praises of the MTM Test Hub, Work Item Charting, and awesome things like that.

As you’ve probably heard TFS 2013 released yesterday. A full day ahead of time, I know!  And like any passionate ALM consultant I’ve been using TFS 2013 for some time now. If you’re taking advantage of TFS Service, you have been too whether you knew it or not. So on to my first favorite thing about TFS 2013. Work item charting. The concept of work item charting is a pretty simple one, and frankly one customers have been clamoring for since TFS 2005. Business users do not want to have to learn SSRS to get quick, custom views that they can use to analyze work items.  And frankly, while Excel ad-hoc reporting is much easier than SSRS, it’s still not an “EASY button” solution for simple work item based charting/reporting. Thanks Staples for giving me that reference. 

So let’s divine in a bit shall we?  We will be working with one of my pet projects, a Scavenger Hunt application for the phone (if someone creates one soon, I’ll know where you got the idea now!) Assume we have some simple queries, for instance one which pulls back ALL tasks in a team project. This could be a lot to take in analyze, especially on large, established projects with multiple teams. So, below we have work items, tasks, bugs, etc.  All assigned to various people, planned for different sprints, and so on and so forth. 

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But what if I wanted a quick visualization of work item types, or work assigned to various team members across the entire project? Not a super easy way to do that in any of the previously available reporting methods.  Here is where Work Item Charting comes in.  You might notice a new menu item called “Charts” (circled above) in the web tools for TFS 2013.  When you switch your view to Charts it will show you any existing charts for that query, as well as the ability to create new charts.  So in my case, I already had a chart out there which breaks down all work items by type. Marginally useful, but maybe another chart TYPE would actually be a better way to visualize the data.  So the first thing I want to do is try different chart types, and see if something else strikes my fancy:

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I *love* that as you make choices in the edit box, it automatically gives you a preview of the resulting report. That will save SO many clicks.  So I changed the chart type to a stacked bar, changed the sort and saved the report.

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A bit more useful, but I’d like another view available, this time including assignment data.  But I’ll need to make some changes to my query, because if I try to simply show this in a new chart with the existing data, you’ll notice I do not even have an option to group by assigned to:

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Think of the query as your chart data source, meaning all rows returned will be displayed, and even more importantly, only the fields returned by the query will be available as well.  So if my query returns work item type, title, and state then those are the only fields that I can report on. AND only fields with a reportable type of “dimension” can be used for grouping. These little nuggets often trip people up, they assume all of the fields for the returned rows are available and available for grouping/sorting. So I need to go back to my original query, and add the assigned to field to add that data to my chart:

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Now when I go back into my charts, I have another field that I can use for pivoting my data!

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Well, I could certainly spend FAR more time on this topic, but I just wanted to give you a little taste of one of my favorite features of TFS 2013 – Work Item Charting.  Next up, the new web Test Hub!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Collaboration | Process Methodology | Productivity | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | Visual Studio 2013 | Work Item Tracking

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