Support for Custom LinkType in TFS2012 Web Boards - by dharmesh.shah

Status : 

  Won't Fix<br /><br />
		Due to several factors the product team decided to focus its efforts on other items.<br /><br />
		A more detailed explanation for the resolution of this particular item may have been provided in the comments section.

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ID 775793 Comments
Status Closed Workarounds
Type Bug Repros 0
Opened 1/4/2013 6:16:30 AM
Access Restriction Public



I’m using TFS 2012 Update 1 and it’s Web Access Client Component. In the past Microsoft didn’t had real support for Scrum Process and rather they relied on Scrum for Team Systems (SfTS) process template as developed by their partner EMC Software which is now open sourced at CodePlex.

In our organization, we are using this template quite heavily and we are now facing real challenges while upgrading TFS 2010 repository to TFS 2012 version. We have invested lots of efforts in fixing many issues that are related to implementing SfTS process template in TFS 2012. 

This challenges included ….

1.	modifying code for Event Services (Aggregation Services and Transition Rule Services)
2.	modifying installer to support x64 platform
3.	modifying packaging solution.
4.	modifying actual SfTS process template to take advantage of new features like Feedback Request and Response, Storyboarding, Code Review Request and Response, etc. as introduced in TFS 2012.

So we are now at a point where we can successfully upgrade our collection from TFS 2010 to TFS 2012 Update 1 where our existing projects that are created via SfTS v3.0.x are working fine. In fact we can also enable all new features of TFS 2012 on such projects without any problems.

The only issue that we are now facing is to do with Team Board that is available in TFS Web Edition. By default, TFS Web Edition uses “Parent / Child” LinkType between Product Backlog Items (Requirement Category of WorkItems) and Sprint Backlog Tasks (Task Category of WorkItems). Where as SfTS uses “Implements / Implemented By” LinkType between Product Backlog Items (Requirement Category of WorkItems) and Sprint Backlog Tasks (Task Category of WorkItems).

In this case, any Sprint Backlog Tasks that are created via TFS Workbench (SfTS supports Team Board via this thick client that is available at CodePlex) Team Board are not visible in TFS Web Edition Web Board and Vice Versa. 

This is one of the major blocker for us to be able to upgrade our collection to TFS 2012. In fact, I believe that many of Microsoft customers who are practicing Scrum methodology for software development in TFS since 2008 must be blocked out for upgrading to TFS 2012 due to this limitation. 

I see very simple solution to this issue. That is, if Microsoft could allow Collection Administrator to define LinkType that should be used while presenting Team Boards for each team. This way, individual team can either use predefined LinkType (in this case it’s “Parent / Child”) for populating their team board OR project shall be allows to use custom Link type (in this case it’s “Implements / Implemented By”). 

What impact does it have if Microsoft does not allow configuring LinkType for Team Board?

1.	Every client’s installation of TFS Workbench will have to be modified to use “Parent / Child” LinkType for TeamBoard that shows Product Backlog Items to Sprint Backlog Tasks view. This is a manual change every user will have to perform on their individual desktop where TFS Workbench is installed. 
2.	All existing data will have to be modified to change LinkType between Product Backlog Items and Sprint Backlog Tasks from “Implements / Implemented By” to “Parent / Child”.
3.	All existing reports definition should be modified that calculates data based on “Implements / Implemented” LinkType.
4.	EventServices rules should be redefined for Aggregation and Transition Rules to use “Parent / Child” LinkType instead of “Implements / Implemented By” Link Type. 
5.	Etc. 

Why Microsoft should support such request?

1.	Scrum has been widely accepted in Software industry and it’s also been highly used at Microsoft too. 
2.	So far Microsoft promoted Scrum for Team Systems process template when it came TFS. They invited their partners to present it at TechEd and other highly anticipated seminars that are run by Microsoft. 
3.	Customers who have heavily using Scrum for Team System (or any other process template that does not use “Parent / Child” LinkType) can smoothly upgrade to latest version of TFS 2012.
4.	As far as I can see, it’s not complex change. Again I don’t know your codebase and can’t comment on it. But on the face, it does not look to me as very difficult / complex ask. 
5.	Microsoft allows users to introduce their LinkType via Process template customization and so they should also allow users to use them in Team Board (and other such places). Currently it look like as if it’s being hard coded to use “Parent / Child” LinkType  which does not satisfy wide user community.

If this is resolved by Microsoft then many users / projects / customers will smoothly be able to upgrade to TFS 2012 as everyone wants to take advantage of Web based Team Board and Kanban Board as supported via TFS 2012 Update 1. 

Please do consider this and I look forward for your reply. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I could be further help.

Best Regards,
Dharmesh Shah.
Dharmesh (dot) Shah (at) Hotmail (dot) co (dot) uk
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Posted by Microsoft on 1/14/2013 at 12:46 PM
We don't support custom links on the board, nor do we plan to do so. If you think that we should change that, feel free to add a suggestion at user voice ( During prioritizing we use user voice as one of the sources in our decision making.
Posted by Microsoft on 1/7/2013 at 12:05 AM
Thanks for your feedback.

We are rerouting this issue to the appropriate group within the Visual Studio Product Team for triage and resolution. These specialized experts will follow-up with your issue.
Posted by Microsoft on 1/4/2013 at 6:50 AM
Thank you for your feedback, we are currently reviewing the issue you have submitted. If this issue is urgent, please contact support directly(