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Crispin Parker's Blog

About Scrum for Team System and .Net development

Scrum Masters Workbench Goes Gold

The scrum masters workbench application has now been released to manufacturing. This application allows you to connect to any Team Foundation Server project and interact with the work items using task board, item list and control project iteration path information using the unique Project Setup mode.



I have also recorded some web casts to help demonstrate the features of the SMW.

Overview Webcast

In this web cast I give you a brief overview of the application features.

SMW - Overview

Project Setup Webcast

Here I demonstrate setting up a Scrum for Team System version 3 project using the project setup wizards.

SMW - Project Setup

Item List Webcast

This web cast shows you how to use the item list mode within the workbench.

SMW - Item List

Task Board Webcast

An overview of the task board mode within the workbench application.

SMW - Task Board


To get your free copy:


Crispin Parker,
Senior Practice Consultant,
EMC Consulting.

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Russweb said:

Holy shmolies!

This works with the MSF 5.0 template also !

Not just the Conchango scrum template.

Do you want feed back and ideas for more "to do's" on this?

July 9, 2010 12:07 AM

crispin.parker said:

Feedback is always welcome, fire away.

July 9, 2010 8:56 AM

russweb said:

1 - Context: project data already loaded into the SMWB

Steps: File > Load Project....then Cancel.

Results: You lose everything, and have to reload anyway. This is as problem because the SMWB obviously loads a ton of data up front and this takes some time everytime the project has to be reloaded.

2 - Context: Want to open a task in TFWA for edit (for various reasons and functionality that is not in the SMWB). Unable to do so.

Would like IDs to be links if possible.

3 - Hovering on Cards shows a static set of fields and their values. This is not configurable.  When we customized our WIT to add some other valuable fields necessary to the program (like a sub-state), we have no ability to see that data in SMWB (both because it is not customizable, and also because we cannot open it in TFWA)

4 - Dependencies. It is very valuable to be able to see depenedencies. No one is doing this graphically very well yet. I tried to create a view that shows PBIs with their associated PBI dependencies. This is very valuable to be able to see if something you are dependent on is going to be done or not (aka..what state it is in) As you know there are 2 types of dependencies (Predecessor and Successor)....however, SMWB simply allows the link type designation, and not necessarily which direction the dependency is. This results in 2 rows for every depenedency. Would be nice to be able to limit the grid to a specific type (predecessor or successor).

Better yet (feature request) would be to add an entirely new board just for dependencies. This would be a heirarchal tree style view that shows all dependencies (of any wit) in a zoomable (in and out) way.

The structure of the UI could be something akin to the workflow view of a WIT in edit mode.

This would need to have a shape/color designation per wit, state, and someway to call out the items that specific to the project load filter you are currently in (aka...those items I am interested in).

This type of solution would be KILLER !  I think everyone needs this as dependency mgmt is not IN YOUR FACE yet.

5 - Item List

In a nut shell ...BULK EDIT please.  Someway to use the CTRL or SHIFT keys and select multiple items and apply multiple field changes to all at once (or at least a copy and past ability on a field).

Maybe you can somehow tap into or call the TFSWA bulk edit tool?

Just and idea.

6- Planning.

SMWB still is lacking the ability to drag and drop items into an Iteration Path bucket for planning activities . Would like a tool/view where I can see the iterations/sprints heirarchy (or filtered if necessary) down the left side and all of the WITs I designate (PBIs or Tasks) in the middle screen (based on some filter or query) and then drag them into the iteration path chosen.

Would be nice to have the ability to order that middle list by stack rank and/or priority and/or SP size and/or ROI (in the case of the Canchango template) to help designate which items should come next.

And an added bonus would be to have some type of visual indicator on these items if they have dependency issues (this helps in considering what else to take into account before dragging it into a bucket).

As each item is dragged into the bucket, that bucket would have totals that show how full it is getting (SP + Task Hours, etc)

This would be great for high level planning.

Low level Spring planning view would be awesome too (task level)

If you could drag tasks onto a user (filtered list), then you could see what the hours for that user are stacking up to be for that sprint.

If you could designate (in temporary memory while doing the planning activity) the time or resource % capacity for each individual you choose in the filter, then you could also show when the dragging activity has put that person over their capacity.

7 - Reporting

There is no mechanisms to get to or show existing reports while in this tool.

Which would be a necessary piece to use the tool as a single tool for standups, planning mtgs, etc.

Over all, I think you have made some great improvements since I last looked at the SMWB in both features and performance.

I think there is alot that can be done to make it a must-have tool in the day to day arsenal.

July 9, 2010 6:18 PM

crispin.parker said:

Re: Russweb.

Lots of great ideas and info in your response. Thanks for the feedback. One thing I would like to point out is that the work item fields that are displayed in the mouse over tooltip and edit panel are configurable. This list is controlled by the work item form layout. If you wish to expose an additional field, then adding it to the work item form layout tells the SMW to automatically display it.

Also, a task board view just isn't the correct paradigm for showing hierarchical dependences between work items of the same type. As you have discovered, you see each item as a row and as a column item. It just doesn't logically work.

I've have been considering a hierarchy view for some time. Maybe I'll try and expedite some dev time on it...

Thanks again for the excellent feedback. It's always welcome.


July 14, 2010 9:31 AM

Simon Kavanagh said:


Good work. v2.0.0.0 of SMWB looks like some improvements have been made in GUI and usability. Its shaping up to be a fine replacement for conchango taskboard.

One thing I still miss is a way to combine Bugs and PBIs on same view. If this Task board is meant to replace the Conchango Taskboard then that's a must. Here I can have multiple views to show either Bugs->Tasks or PBI->Tasks, but not both in one.

A Taskboard needs to show all the items in one view.

A little background: We are trying to use SMWB to create a Kanban board, using an existing team project based on SFTSv2 Project template imported into TFS2010. Until a v2 to v3 migration kit is available (saw the announcement that its planned) this is the only option for us since we can not throw out our SFTSv2 project. Enforcing WIP limits is another obstacle for us. Any ideas on this with regard to SMWB?

Thanks in advance for your time.



September 15, 2010 10:31 AM

crispin.parker said:

@Simon Kavanagh,

There is a feature in the SMW development backlog to support multiple parent work item types in the application relationship views. Unfortunately, it didn't make it into the latest (v2.0.0.1) release.

But it's a top candidate for the next one.


September 20, 2010 9:57 AM

Jimmy Byström said:

Started using the SMW since I only have VS 2010 installed and not VS 2008. One thing I lack is the possibility to add a filter on the taskboard for just a selected sprint.

Also the program still is quite slow when making a change, since we are using Conchango earlier during scrum planing and grooming we need a system that are quick and easy to use. Currently this is too slow when making changes.

I open a task and sets the task to done and the system hangs for a while... This can't really be the meaning. It seems that when I change the task it saves the task and updates the view which takes way too long time.



October 6, 2010 11:56 AM

Jimmy Byström said:

Apparently didn't have the latest version of this product so ignore my comment for now :-)

October 6, 2010 12:19 PM

crispin.parker said:

@ Jimmy - Make sure you are running the most recent version (currently and you select the sprint when selecting your workspace / loading project.


October 6, 2010 12:25 PM

Jimmy Byström said:

When using the latest version now I cannot get any tasks for any stories.

My colleges that still are using Conchango have added several tasks on different stories but I cannot get these tasks. I get the stories and can view the different stories in different sprints but I cannot see the tasks. What can I be doing wrong?

I cannot see tasks for older stories in older sprints either so apparently those don't get added correctly. Any specific information and settings that I need to make or you want to have information about to help me with this?

Maybe better with a mail contact than using this place?



October 6, 2010 12:32 PM

crispin.parker said:

I expext that the child work items do not match your loaded workspace specification. If the child items iteration path does not fall under the specified workspace path, then the child work items will not be loaded.

You can find answers like this and add questions of your own to the SfTS web site Q & A pages:



October 6, 2010 1:57 PM

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