Let’s define what this should mean and be about. How can I as an IT Pro be able to use TFS for the tasks and activities I normally do. Whether it is controlling a project or creating scripts and such. The vision while it goes into execution with TFS, will include a process with SharePoint somewhere in there too.
Scenario #1: Change Control, Change Management or Specific no-code Project Control.
As an IT Pro, what do I do? Change Control, Change Management, Project Management. The problem? Yes, we follow ITIL, but we really don’t document. Now, in no way I am saying that TFS is the immediate answer, but it does offer options we may want to make use of.
TFS does not work if it does not have a Project Collection and a Project. Those are the physical and logical repositories. Physical in the form of a Database, logical in the form of a grouping for all items related to the Project I am working on.
On to the features, once the Project Collection has been setup using the TFS Administrator Console, we can go into Team Explorer (or Visual Studio for that matter) and create the Team Project. Then make use of User Stories or Requirements, and then define the Tasks that go with each User Story or Requirement.
You may be thinking, why use TFS for this when I can use Microsoft Project or Excel to chart this. True!! But having it centralized is a key point perhaps, and not on an individual’s desktop. Not saying this is the “silver bullet”, just an option. The other part of this that I should make clear is the fact you do not have to use Visual Studio. You can be using the web interface for TFS, Microsoft Project or Microsoft Excel and sync up to TFS, or SharePoint Technologies that have the TFS web parts and services synchronized with it. So, options? Yes, a number of them.
Scenario #2: Script Repository.
TFS as a product offers a great way to work with Source Control/Version Control. The fact we could, by saving to a controlled repository, have history for our scripts. What would be needed? We do not need a full blown Visual Studio deployment. Again, using Team Explorer we can achieve this (mind you this is installing and using the VS Shell). Then we need the TFS Power Tools, why? This gives us integration components between Windows Explorer and TFS. This will also give us the option of having our workspace synchronized to a local directory on our desktop. Then going to that local directory and see the following:
Being able, then, to add files and folders, and then add them to the repository and check them in or out. It expands the possibilities we have available. Working with PowerShell scripts? Great way of creating a repository.
In Closing … for now.
My intention with this post is just to get things started, is TFS the only option? No, but if your organization already has it in place or is in the plans, this should be part of the expected value as well.
The next posts will go into the specifics of what is needed and a step by step on how to get those two scenarios in place.