How Fixed Bid Projects Work in the Agile World

Story time: Once upon a time, in a far far away land, a new project contract was signed. Congratulations! Mr. Client (a huge enterprise) agrees to pay the project team such and such gold coins for building a world class, enterprise level software solution. The big scope items were outlined in the statement of work was signed and a FIXED PRICE has been agreed on. The team, all agile experts, started diving into the requirements and begun building the product backlog.

A short time goes by, the backlog of work items become clearer and clearer and our team realizes that there is no way that they can deliver all the scope within the fixed budget – BIG PROBLEM!

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How to Scope a TFS Team Project

Generally speaking, a decent rule of thumb to follow when thinking about team projects is that team projects “are bigger than you think”. Another rule of thumb to consider when deciding your approach is to look at the effect of a typical requirement on your software development project; if this requirement, for example, affects several applications or tiers (like front end, middleware and backend) then all these application should be grouped under the same team project. [Read more…]

TFS Tips: Cloaking Folders and Files

Is your development team working on a large and complex codebase? Do you wish your workspace contained only the minimum files that you need in order to build and run a subset of the system? Looking to improve performance, reduce network traffic, and reduce the disk space required on your development machine? [Read more…]

Adding Tasks to a User Story in Bulk with Excel

A common behavior (process) that I’ve seen in several teams across multiple projects is that they have a common list of tasks that is applicable to most of their user stories. The general agreement on these teams (A.K.A. ‘ways of working’) is that this list of tasks is aligned with their ‘definition of done’; that is to say: if we, as a team, complete all these tasks in this list, then we have met our ‘definition of done’ which we have communicated and agreed upon with our entire team (including all the stake holders). [Read more…]

What is TFS Code Shelve and Why do I need It?

Common questions from developers new to TFS or source control in general are:
  • What is Shelving? What does it mean to Shelve code?
  • When would I want or need to shelve my work?

Shelving is a way of saving all of the work and changes on your development machine without actually checking them in and committing these changes to the codebase. The changes are saved on the server and at any point of time you or any of your team-mates can “unshelve” them back onto any one of your machines for review or other uses.

Shelving has several uses and advantages that make them useful: [Read more…]