Microsoft seems to step frankly into the Process Management with the advent of Visual Studio Team System. They have created a development process called MSF – Microsoft Solutions Framework, which has 2 derivatives
- MSF for CMMI Improvement, which should help achieve CMMI Level 3 compliance
- MSF Agile, whose analogy is obvious with the Agile Manifesto and that can adapt to any process through role distribution (Architect, Business Analyst, Developer, Project Manager, and Tester)
Ultimately, as there is no one-size-fits-all process that is the magic bullet for any organization, not many assumptions have been taken and you can perfectly define your own methodology with your own templates within Team System. As it is recognized in a MSDN article:
Microsoft currently has an established development process called the MicrosoftÂ® Solutions Framework (MSF), which is currently in version 3.0. MSF has not been widely adopted across a broad base of developers even at Microsoft, possibly because it is viewed as difficult to learn and use
Mainly, without delving into details (which seems overhelming), VSTF has the following capabilities:
- Gives you a set of document templates (word, excel and project files).
It gets you started for all stages of the project from business requirement to project closure reports.
Project methodology can be based on MSF Agile, MSF for CMMI or eXtreme Programming
- Integrated Nightly Build into Team Foundation Server
This looks similar to CruiseControl, AntHill, Beetlejuice, Continuum and all the like
- Integrated Unit Testing in Visual Studio Team Test
This looks similar to JUnit framework integrated into IntelliJ IDEA or Eclipse for example where you can generate a test case skeleton and you write your test methods.
- Work Item Tracking
This features integrates with Microsoft Project or Microsoft Excel
The thing is that everything is fully integrated within Team Foundation Server. For example you can define check-in policies such as:
- Work Items – a checkin must be associated to an existing work item/task
- Testing policy – Unit tests exist and are working. They also be associated to work items, further defect reports and fixes can also be associated to a work item
- Code analysis – The code meets coding standard
- And any custom policy
Of course, your Process Development portal, fully integrated within Microsoft Sharepoint allows you to have all the metrics/graphs associated to your projects.
When I see how most shops get out of their mind to deliver a simple product in several months and a couple of developpers, there are obviouslly a lot of lessons to be learned in project management and portal like this are a necessary step.
However, it is not a magic bullet and you should carefully analyze all figures that it gives you back. Plus it is definitely not something you get up and running in 2 days..and ‘ZAAAM’ productivity and quality is increased by a factor 50. Just like any process, it will take you months if not years depending on the organization culture and inertia. After all CMMI feedback already says that a CMMI step takes about 18 months.
18 months seems mostly in par with my own experience of implementing automated unit tests, coverage, metrics and daily builds with everything built from scratch in an existing organization with bad to no practice at all.
Big negative point. You must nearly get the whole Microsoft suite from A to Z to get the best of the process management portal. Looks like though there is a converter for example to have IBM ClearQuest as your bug tracking system… says a lot though about the type of organization they are targeting. What about Bugzilla and Jira ?