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Team System 2010 Leaves eScrum Behind

Yesterday, Microsoft's Brian Harry announced that the company is discontinuing eScrum, the Scrum process template for Team Foundation Server (TFS) developed by a Microsoft team outside of the Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) group.

"[T]he eScrum download is going to be removed in a few weeks and I don't expect there will be any further updates," explained Harry, a Microsoft Technical Fellow and lead of TFS, in his blog. "If there is some reason this change is going to cause you undo hardship, please contact me and we'll see if there's some way to get you access to the eScrum source so that you can maintain it yourself."

eScrum, which works with TFS 2005/2008, enables developers to interact end-to-end with their projects using a Web UI, Team Explorer, Excel through Office integration or Microsoft Project.

After a "3-bucket list" about "software deliverables" meant to explain why eScrum is kicking the bucket, Harry asserted:

"Scrum remains a very important development methodology and one that Team System is committed to supporting very well. We have made numerous enhancements in TFS 2010 that will make Scrum work even better with Team System. When people ask me how to do Scrum with Team System, I generally tell them you can do it out of the box but it's not very customized/specialized to the Scrum by default."

Touche. Microsoft's support of Agile has, to put it kindly, been somewhat limited. With Visual Studio (VS) 2010, DevDiv appears to be moving toward better tooling for people interested in doing test-driven development (TDD). The exact definition of TDD, like cloud computing, varies widely and purists rightly point out that TDD isn't necessarily Agile.

The release of ASP.NET MVC -- available out-of-band and slated for VS 2010 and .NET 4 Beta 2 -- and the push to maintain "developer context" in the new VS 2010 editor should ease "test first, code later" scenarios, as I blogged in RDN Express on Tuesday.

But Agile and VS/.NET still don't really seem to go together. Do Microsoft tools support Agile processes? This may simply be a resource issue in Redmond. And it's an impression that contradicts what Robert C. Martin, part of the group that wrote the Agile manifesto, expressed to me in an interview a few years ago:

"There have been a number of companies that have adopted .NET as well as Agile development. I think this is partially due to Microsoft's interest in Agile development, which has shown up over the last several years and partially I think it is the general trend of the industry to go Agile no matter what platform you have chosen.

"Microsoft has hired a fair number of the folks, even Ward Cunningham, one of the fathers of Agile development. Visual Studio has also begun to show up with some features along the lines of refactoring and testing."

How many .NET users follow Agile processes today? Is that faction growing? Or is it an enterprise trend that requires Microsoft to follow along?

Harry points Team System users with a need for Scrum to the free, third-party Conchango Scrum for Team System, developed in conjunction with well-known Scrum proponent, Ken Schwaber. A "lightweight VSTS Scrum template" not referenced by Harry is also available on CodePlex.

Is your team following Agile development practices? How do you rate Microsoft's interest and support of Agile development? Express your views below or contact me directly at [email protected].  

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 06/11/2009

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