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About Scrum for Team System and .Net development

Scrum for Team System v3.0, MSF Agile v5.0 and Team Foundation Server Scrum v1.0 (beta)

With the recent launch of the new Microsoft Scrum template, I am often asked about a feature comparison between the Microsoft templates and SfTS. So, below I will look into the features available in each of the process templates.

Project Life Cycle Tracking.

One important feature of any scrum process template is the ability to track and plan the project life cycle. In Scrum the project life cycle is split into two main hierarchical components; Release and Sprint. So how do the templates stack up in tracking the life cycle:


SfTS v3

MSF v5

TFSS v1 (beta)

Tracking Concept Base True
Planning Scope
(AKA Iteration Path)
Iteration Path
Iteration Path
Project pre-populated with sprints False True True
Multi-Team / Multi-Cadence support True
Includes a concept of
Work Stream
False False
Release Detail Item True image False False
Sprint Detail Item



False True
Sprint Team Detail Item True
False False
Sprint Retrospective True
False True
Cadence and Team Tracking Queries True False False
Team Capacity Tracking True False False
Planned Work Tracking True False False
Work Item Auto Rollup * True False False

You can see that the SfTS template offers a wealth of features to help you model your project life cycle. The downside to this advanced modelling is the one off effort required to set up your project. Release work items must be linked to Sprint work items which in turn must be linked to Team Sprint work items. Both MSF Agile and TFS Scrum create a default hierarchy of project nodes upon project creation. SfTS just gives you an empty node tree after project creation.

To aid with the overhead of creating the project life cycle in SfTS, we have supplied a free utility entitled the Scrum Masters Workbench. This includes setup wizards to help you create your project life cycle structure in a matter or seconds. To get a free copy: Click Here.

Project Feature Tracking.

The most important aspect tracked in a process template is the required project features. In Scrum the project features are tracked on a prioritised and comparatively sized list known as the Project Backlog. The product backlog lists all the features that are required in the project, the importance of those features [to the business] and the comparative size [cost in effort] of implementing that feature.


SfTS v3

MSF v5

TFSS v1 (beta)

Backlog Item True
Product Backlog Item
User Story
Product Backlog Item
Sprint Task Item True
Sprint Backlog Task
Acceptance Criteria Item True
Acceptance Test
No implicit
backlog integration
Test Case
Bugs True
Impediment True
Bugs live on the backlog False
Bugs not used to
track effort
False True
Bugs used to
track effort
Bugs linked into feature tracking True
Bugs linked to
features by tests
False False
Feature linked to all influencing items True False False
Compatible with Microsoft Test Manager True True True
Work Item Auto Rollup ** True False False

As you can see from the above table, Scrum feature tracking is handled well in both SfTS v3 and TFSS v1 (beta). The main difference between them is the way in which Bugs are handled. In TFSS v1 bugs include the concept of effort. This field is used to track the remaining amount of effort needed in order to correct the bug. This makes TFSS bugs dual purpose, tracking both error description and work time. In SfTS v3, bugs have a single responsibility which is to describe the error condition. Tracking of the effort is done using the existing backlog constructs of PBI and SBT.

See this bug blog post for a more detailed guide to bug modelling in SfTS v3



Project management isn’t just about data entry. The project data needs to be visualised so that trends can be spotted and all stake holders have an idea of the projects status. This is mainly accomplished through reporting.


SfTS v3

MSF v5

TFSS v1 (beta)

Bug Reporting True True False
Build Reporting True True False
Product Feature
Burn Down Reporting
True False True
Sprint Backlog
Burn Down Reporting
True True True
Backlog Management Reporting True True False
Test Case Reporting True True False
Multi-team Comparison Reporting True False False
Sprint Planning Reporting True True False
Story Point to Hours Effort Reporting True False False
Velocity Reporting True False True
Warehouse Status Reporting True False False

This table does not give you an exhaustive list of all reports available in each of the templates. Instead I have listed the main reporting concepts. The main loser in this comparison is TFSS v1. However, this is to be expected as it is still very new beta software. No doubt a full suite of reports will be released at some point in the future as the template matures.

Project Portals

All three templates include a project portal. This portal (SharePoint) site is used as the common review point and documentation repository for the project.


SfTS v3

MSF v5

TFSS v1 (beta)

Team Web Access Link True True True
Personalised Dashboard False True True
Project Level Dashboard True True True
Excel Reports False True False
Embedded Status Reports True True False
Link to all Project Reports False True True
Team Wiki True True True
Document Repository True True True
Project Calendar True True True

The project portal is one of the weaker points of the SfTS template. The winner here is MSF Agile, having a mature portal that includes some excellent features and a whole suite of pre-defined excel reports. TFSS lacks integrated reports, but as I said earlier, I’m sure this will be redressed as the product matures.

In Summary

I’m sure there are many other comparative aspects that I have overlooked. But I think I have clearly demonstrated that each of the templates offers features that will be just right for someone. Whether you are looking for a simple quick start scrum setup, mature project management that nods towards scrum or a complete enterprise level scrum adoption, there is something there for you.

One of the big wins for the SfTS template is the advanced Auto Rollup feature. The ability for values on linked work items to directly effect values on other work items cuts out a massive amount of administration work and is only available in the SfTS template. The rollup features give you a richer experience and makes the whole project hang together in a logical way. The process that controls the auto rollup functionality is (like the rest of the SfTS template) completely customisable. If you needs to change the rollup behaviour, you just edit the associated rules file contained within the installed SfTS web service.

For more information on the rollup features see these blog posts.

* In project lifecycle management, the auto rollup feature calculates team capacity and the duration dates between the linked Release, Sprint and Team Sprint work items. Amount of work planned and amount of work burned are also inferred from the use of planning scope.

** The SfTS auto rollup feature is used extensively in the feature tracking work items. Providing a rich interactive work item environment that brings the whole system to life using the new named linkage types made available in TFS 2010.



Comments are open an welcome.



Crispin Parker,
Senior Practice Consultant,
EMC Consulting.

Published Monday, June 28, 2010 1:11 PM by crispin.parker

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Alexei Govorin said:

I am cusrious to hear on why you think that MSF Agile v.5 can not do Team Capacity planning?  I think you can do it via Excel workbook that is included in the template.

June 28, 2010 6:06 PM

crispin.parker said:

I don't mention capacity planning, only capacity tracking by team. As stated, I expect that I missed a few comparitive points. However, I would like to point out that the SfTS template does this natively within the template and includes auto integration into all the life-cycle work items. This gives you figures on planned capacity vs. actual capacity right in the work item data. Pretty neat eh?

June 28, 2010 6:31 PM

Jamboort said:

Hi Crispin,

Is there a Migration guide to move a v2 Project to a v3. We have a very large project and have migrated the TSF from 2008 to 2010 and installed the v3 Process Template, but the Project needs migrateing to have it work with the full capability of the v3.

Thanks in advance.

Ian - Jamboo

July 4, 2010 12:43 PM

maxmiracle said:

Impediment in MSF v5 is "Issue". So it is just another word.

August 4, 2010 8:18 AM

crispin.parker said:

@maxmiracle - Thanks for the pointer. I have now updated the table to reflect this.

August 4, 2010 8:55 AM

John Calvert said:

I'm looking for an equivalent comparison involving MSF CMMI, perhaps against a pure UP/RUP template, or against an Agile hybrid. Has anyone seem something like that?

September 17, 2010 9:54 PM

Elangovan said:

Very useful article. Helped me to identify the difference between different agile templates.

Team Foundation Server Scrum v1.0 is now named as Microsoft Visual Studio Scrum 1.0 and it is no more beta.

November 15, 2011 8:21 AM

Fredrik Ekdahl said:

Hi Crispin!

Very useful, but with Microsoft Visual Studio Scrum 2.0 coming, do you have an update? We're in the process of choosing our templates and I'd appreciate any kind of input.



September 19, 2012 10:14 AM

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