Insight from Agora Consultants

Top 5 Features of Team Foundation Server 2015

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2015 was release in August 2015 and is packed with new features and usability improvements.  Agora Consulting Partners specializes in installing, configuring, and assisting teams use Team Foundation Server (TFS).  If you want to maximize your usage of Team Foundation Server contact Agora today to find out how we can help.

The following are my five favourite new features and improvements.

#5 Split columns on the Kanban board

Kanban boards now have “split columns”. If your team uses a pull model to move work through the board you will like this. On our projects we often did not have a way to indicate work was ready to move to the next state. Now you can split your state into two subcolumns—Doing and Done. Moving a card into the Done column provides a clear signal that work is ready to progress, and that the card can be pulled by the person/team who owns that next stage.


To split any of the columns on your board, simply click the Customize Columns link on the toolbar.

#4 Customize and configure your cards by adding fields & tags

Not only can you customize how your cards look on your Kanban board, but you now have configuration options for the data showing up on your cards in the Customize Cards dialog box.

You can turn the ID on or off, select how the assigned to field is displayed, and choose to show tags directly on your cards. Most people want fields like "title" and "assigned to" on every card, but it's a time saver to bring a bit more information to the cards so you can take action on them without having to open them for more details. For example, notice that both "Priority" and "Severity" have been added to the following bug cards:


The Custom fields added to your cards are directly editable from the board. And, these options are per team (or backlog) and per work item so that you have maximum flexibility.

#3 - Taskboard: Bugs on your backlogs and boards

Teams can choose if they want to show bugs on their backlogs, regardless of process template. Teams can now choose to show bugs on the backlogs and taskboard with requirements (user stories or product backlog items), with tasks, or not at all.

#2 Show un-parented tasks in sprint backlog and task board

The tasks in the sprint that do not have a parent story will now show up on the sprint backlog and task board, under an "Un-parented" category. The un-parented row is highlighted with a grey-colored bar. You can move tasks from an un-parented row to any user story, and vice versa. (Note: Drag & drop of an un-parented row is not allowed; it will always appear on the top of sprint backlog as well as the task board.)

#1 - Current iteration query token

This one is a small one, but my favorite.  This feature gives you the ability to specify a token that represents the current iteration in iteration-based queries. This release brings the addition of a new query token, @CurrentIteration, that returns the current iteration based on today's date. There are some limitations with this new token, however. For example, it doesn't work in Excel. The token relies on understanding your team context, and unfortunately Excel doesn't have all the information needed to determine which iteration is current. Learn more about the current iteration query token.


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