Tuesday, 29 May 2012

MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0



MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0
Process Guidance

By: Microsoft
Compiled by:
Leonard S. Woody III
Leonard.Woody@gmail.com
www.leonardwoody.com
6/14/2010






Table of Contents


1.                Introduction

Your team can apply agile practices more easily by using the process template for MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM). The template and this guidance will help you practice Scrum and apply agile engineering practices. These processes and practices come from Scrum, eXtreme Programming, and other agile methodologies, as Agile Principles and Values, by Jeff Sutherland describes.
Scrum
This guidance was developed in partnership with Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, Mitch Lacey, and Juan Perez. For more information, see the following Web resources: Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, Mitch Lacey, and Juan J. Perez.

2.                Agile Principles and Values, by Jeff Sutherland

Agile development is a term that was derived from the Agile Manifesto, which was written in 2001 by a group that included the creators of Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), and Crystal; a representative of feature-driven development; and several other thought leaders in the software industry. The Agile Manifesto established a common set of overarching values and principles for all of the individual agile methodologies at the time. It details four core values for enabling high-performing teams.
  • Individuals and their interactions
  • Delivering working software
  • Customer collaboration
  • Responding to change
These core values are supported by 12 principles, which you can find at the following Web site: Manifesto for Agile Software Development.
These values are not just something the creators of the Agile Manifesto intended to give lip service to and then forget. They are working values. Each individual agile methodology approaches these values in a slightly different way, but all of these methodologies have specific processes and practices that foster one or more of these values.

2.1.         Individuals and Interactions

Individuals and interactions are essential to high-performing teams. Studies of “communication saturation” during one project showed that, when no communication problems exist, teams can perform 50 times better than the industry average. To facilitate communication, agile methods rely on frequent inspect-and-adapt cycles. These cycles can range from every few minutes with pair programming, to every few hours with continuous integration, to every day with a daily standup meeting, to every iteration with a review and retrospective.
Just increasing the frequency of feedback and communication, however, is not enough to eliminate communication problems. These inspect-and-adapt cycles work well only when team members exhibit several key behaviors:
  • respect for the worth of every person
  • truth in every communication
  • transparency of all data, actions, and decisions
  • trust that each person will support the team
  • commitment to the team and to the team’s goals
To foster these types of behavior, agile management must provide a supportive environment, team coaches must facilitate their inclusion, and team members must exhibit them. Only then can teams achieve their full potential.
Moving toward these types of behavior is more difficult than it might appear. Most teams avoid truth, transparency, and trust because of cultural norms or past negative experiences from conflict that was generated by honest communications. To combat these tendencies, leadership and team members must facilitate positive conflict. Doing so not only helps create productive behavior but also has several other benefits:
  • Process improvement depends on the team to generate a list of impediments or problems in the organization, to face them squarely, and then to systematically eliminate them in priority order.
  • Innovation occurs only with the free interchange of conflicting ideas, a phenomenon that was studied and documented by Takeuchi and Nonaka, the godfathers of Scrum.
  • Aligning the team toward a common goal requires the team to surface and resolve conflicting agendas.
  • Commitment to work together happens only when people agree on common goals and then struggle to improve both personally and as a team.
This last bullet, about commitment, is especially important. It is only when individuals and teams are committed that they feel accountable for delivering high value, which is the bottom line for software development teams. Agile methodologies facilitate commitment by encouraging teams to pull from a prioritized work list, manage their own work, and focus on improving their work practices. This practice is the basis of self-organization, which is the driving force for achieving results in an agile team.
To create high-performing teams, agile methodologies value individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Practically speaking, all of the agile methodologies seek to increase communication and collaboration through frequent inspect-and-adapt cycles. However, these cycles work only when agile leaders encourage the positive conflict that is needed to build a solid foundation of truth, transparency, trust, respect, and commitment on their agile teams.

2.2.         Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation

Working software is one of the big differences that agile development brings. All of the agile methodologies that are represented in the Agile Manifesto stress delivering small pieces of working software to the customer at set intervals.
All agile teams must establish what they mean when they say “working software,” which is frequently known as the definition of done. At a high level, a piece of functionality is complete only when its features pass all tests and can be operated by an end user. At a minimum, teams must go beyond the unit test level and test at the system level. The best teams also include integration testing, performance testing, and customer acceptance testing in their definition of what it means to be done with a piece of functionality.
One CMMI Level 5 company has shown, through extensive data on many projects, that defining acceptance tests along with the feature, implementing features serially and in priority order, immediately running acceptance tests on each feature, and fixing any bugs that are identified as highest priority will systematically double the speed of production and reduce defects by 40 percent. This from a company that already has one of the lowest defect rates in the world.
The Agile Manifesto recommends that teams deliver working software at set intervals. Agreeing on a definition of done is one of the practical ways that agile teams bring about the high performance and high quality that is needed to accomplish this goal.

2.3.         Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation

Over the past two decades, project success rates have more than doubled worldwide. This is attributed to smaller projects and frequent deliveries, which allow the customer to provide feedback on working software at regular intervals. The writers of the manifesto were clearly on to something when they stressed that getting the customer involved in the software development process is essential to success.
The agile methodologies foster this value by having a customer advocate work hand-in-hand with the development team. The first Scrum team, for example, had thousands of customers. Because it was not feasible to involve them all in product development, they selected a customer proxy, called a product owner, to represent not only all the customers in the field, but also management, sales, support, client services, and other stakeholders. The product owner was responsible for updating the list of requirements every four weeks as the team released working software, taking into account the current reality and actual feedback from customers and stakeholders. This allowed the customer to help shape the software that was being created.
The first XP team began with an internal IT project. They were able to have a company end user on their team work with them daily. About 10 percent of the time, consultancies and internal teams can find an end user who can work with the team on a day-to-day basis. The other 90 percent of the time, they must appoint a proxy. This customer proxy, whom XP teams call the customer, works with end users to provide a clear, prioritized list of features for developers to implement.
Collaborating with the customer (or customer proxy) on a daily basis is one of the key reasons why industry data shows that agile projects have more than twice the success rate of traditional projects on average worldwide. Agile methodologies recognize this and, as such, have created a place on their development teams that is specifically for the customer representative.

2.4.         Responding to Change over Following a Plan

Responding to change is essential for creating a product that will please the customer and provide business value. Industry data shows that over 60 percent of product or project requirements change during the development of software. Even when traditional projects finish on time, on budget, with all features in the plan, customers are often unhappy because what they find is not exactly what they wanted. “Humphrey’s Law” says that customers never know what they want until they see working software. If customers do not see working software until the end of a project, it is too late to incorporate their feedback. Agile methodologies seek customer feedback throughout the project so that they can incorporate feedback and new information as the product is being developed.
All agile methodologies have built-in processes to change their plans at regular intervals based on feedback from the customer or customer proxy. Their plans are designed to always deliver the highest business value first. Because 80 percent of the value is in 20 percent of the features, well-run agile projects tend to finish early, whereas most traditional projects finish late. As a result, customers are happier, and developers enjoy their work more. Agile methodologies are based on the knowledge that, in order to succeed, they must plan to change. That is why they have established processes, such as reviews and retrospectives, that are specifically designed to shift priorities regularly based on customer feedback and business value.

2.5.         Agile is an Umbrella – Methodologies are Implementations

Agile development is not a methodology in itself. It is an umbrella term that describes several agile methodologies. At the signing of the Agile Manifesto in 2001, these methodologies included Scrum, XP, Crystal, FDD, and DSDM. Since then, Lean practices have also emerged as a valuable agile methodology and so are included under the agile development umbrella in the illustration later in this topic.
Each agile methodology has a slightly different approach for implementing the core values from the Agile Manifesto, just as many computer languages manifest the core features of object-oriented programming in different ways. A recent survey shows that about 50 percent of agile practitioners say that their team is doing Scrum. Another 20 percent say that they are doing Scrum with XP components. An additional 12 percent say that they are doing XP alone. Because more than 80 percent of agile implementations worldwide are Scrum or XP, MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 focuses on the core processes and practices of Scrum and XP.
The Agile Umbrella
Scrum is a framework for agile development processes. It does not include specific engineering practices. Conversely, XP focuses on engineering practices but does not include an overarching framework of development processes. That does not mean that Scrum does not recommend certain engineering practices or that XP has no process. For example, the first Scrum implemented all of the engineering practices that are now known as XP. However, the Scrum framework for software development was designed to get a team started in two or three days, whereas engineering practices often take many months to implement. Therefore, it left the question of when (and whether) to implement specific practices up to each team. Scrum co-creators Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber recommend that Scrum teams get started immediately and create a list of impediments and a process improvement plan. As engineering practices are identified as impediments, teams should look to XP practices as a way to improve. The best teams run Scrum supplemented with XP practices. Scrum helps XP to scale, and XP helps Scrum to work well.
The following table shows how key terms in Scrum and XP can be interchanged.

Scrum
XP
product owner
customer
scrummaster
XP coach
team
team
sprint
iteration
sprint planning meeting
planning game

3.                Scrum

Scrum is a framework for running projects that is based on agile principles and values. It defines a set of activities that can help your team deliver more value to your customers faster. These activities provide your customers with the opportunity to review, guide and influence your team's work as it progresses. This approach does not attempt to define everything at the start of a project. Instead, your team works in short iterations (also called sprints) and refines the plan as the team makes progress. For information about the agile principles and values on which Scrum is based, see Agile Principles and Values, by Jeff Sutherland.
MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 is based on Scrum. Therefore, your team can adopt Scrum by using tools that are integrated with your core development activities.

3.1.         Prepare for the Project

Before you start your project, perform the following tasks:
·         establish the business case
·         assemble a team
·         set up your team's infrastructure
To establish a business case, identify the business need and justification, define the vision, and obtain funding. Geoffrey Moore's book "Crossing the Chasm" provides good guidance for establishing your vision. For more information, see the following Web resource: Crossing the Chasm.
After you establish the business case, you must assemble your team and identify the ScrumMaster and the product owner. For more information, see Roles (MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 Reference).
Finally, your team must set up the infrastructure. For example, install Visual Studio Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), create and possibly customize your team project, and set up engineering practices. For more information, see Getting Started with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management, Customizing Your Team Project, and Engineering Practices.

3.2.         Plan the Project

In a Scrum project, your team will spend most of its time developing your product in a series of sprints. However, your team must first create a high-level plan for the project. This plan is a roadmap to guide more detailed decisions that your team will make during the course of the project. As your team implements the plan, it will change. When your team has finished planning the project, the team will have created a product backlog and, if it is needed, a release plan.

3.2.1.   Build the Product Backlog

The product backlog is a list of user stories that describe what your users need and value. The user stories are prioritized by business value and risk, and the team estimates user stories in abstract units that are called story points.
Create, Rank, and
 Estimate User Stories
Step 1
Create User Stories: In his book "User Stories Applied," Mike Cohn defines user stories this way: “A user story describes functionality that will be valuable to either a user or purchaser of a system or software.” User stories are written from the end user’s point of view. For example:
“As a returning customer, I want to find a meal that I have ordered before.”
For more information, see Creating a Great Product Backlog.
Step 2
Prioritize the User Stories: Your product owner prioritizes the user stories in the product backlog by working with your customers to understand what they value and by working with your team to understand risks and dependencies. Your product owner specifies priorities by assigning a rank to each user story to indicate the order in which the team should implement them.
Your product owner can use many techniques to analyze and compare the value of user stories. If your team already has a method for prioritizing that works well for you, use that method.
A few prioritization techniques are closely associated with the agile community, such as the Kano model of customer satisfaction and relative weighting by Karl Wiegers. (For more information about relative weighting, see the following page on the Web: First Things First: Prioritizing Requirements.) Other prioritization techniques, such as cost prioritization, net present value, payback period, and internal rate of return are well established outside the agile community. These techniques are also legitimate and appropriate for prioritizing your product backlog on a Scrum project. For more information, see "Part II: Estimating Size" from the book that the following Web resource identifies: Agile Estimation and Planning.
Step 3
Estimate the User Stories: Your team collaboratively estimates each user story in story points. In his book "Agile Estimation and Planning," Mike Cohn defines story points this way: “Story points are a unit of measure for expressing the overall size of a user story, feature or other piece of work.” Story points are relative values that do not translate directly into a specific number of hours. Instead, story points help a team quantify the general size of the user story. These relative estimates are less precise so that they require less effort to determine, and they hold up better over time. By estimating in story points, your team will provide the general size of the user stories now and develop the more detailed estimation of hours of work later, when team members are about to implement the user stories.

3.2.2.   Determine Your Team's Velocity

Before your team creates its release plan and plans each sprint, your team must determine its velocity. Your team's velocity is the number of story points that it can complete in a sprint.
If your team has measured its velocity by collecting data that shows how many user stories the team completes in a given period of time, use that data. It will provide the best insight into the team's velocity. If you do not have that data now but you are starting to run your project by using Visual Studio ALM and MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0, that data will be collected over the course of the project. For more information, see Status on All Iterations Report (Agile).
If historical data is not available, your team can make a rough estimation of how many story points it can complete in the first sprint. Look at the estimated user stories at the top of the priority stack and make a quick assessment of how many stories it could complete in a sprint. Add the story points for each of those user stories to get an initial estimate. After the first sprint, you can use historical data to determine your team's velocity. In the first few sprints, you should expect substantial variation as your team learns how to estimate consistently. Over the course of several sprints, your team's measured velocity should become more stable. When your team's measured velocity is stable, reassess the release plan.
The estimate of your team's velocity provides a starting point that you can use to determine how many user stories to implement in the sprint, but the estimate is not the basis for your team's commitment. Your team's commitment will be made based on more detailed estimations of the tasks that are required to complete the user stories. For more information, see Product Planning Workbook.

3.2.3.   Establish the Release Plan

Each sprint, your team will complete an increment of the product that it could ship. Although the user stories that your team implements are ready to be shipped at the end of the sprint, they may not provide enough business value to justify actually releasing the product. Plan your releases by assigning them to iterations:
·         Identify groups of user stories that, together, provide enough business value to release to your customers.
·         Determine in which sprints the team expects to complete those groups of user stories.
As your team makes progress, user stories will be added to the product backlog, and user stories may be removed. In addition, the priority of some user stories will change, and some user stories may be implemented earlier or later than originally expected. Your product owner will maintain the release plan together with the product backlog over the course of the project.
For more information, see Product Planning Workbook.

3.2.4.   Prepare for the First Sprint

A sprint is a timeboxed iteration of development that is usually one to four weeks long and that produces an increment of the product that the team could ship. Before your team starts the first sprint, your product owner prepares the product backlog. The user stories that are high enough priority to be considered in the first sprint must be ready for the team to implement. Your product owner must prepare the product backlog by performing the following tasks:
·         Break the user stories down into smaller stories.
·         Provide details about the user stories that the team will need to break the stories down into tasks.
Your product owner will know that a user story is too large if it represents a significant amount of the team's total velocity. For example, a user story that is 15 story points is too large to take into the sprint planning meeting if the team's velocity is 30 story points. The team will take half the sprint just to complete that user story.
Your team will also ask for details about the user stories to be able to break them down into tasks and estimate those tasks. For example, when your team examines the user story "As a customer, I want to be able to search for a type of meal," your team may ask the following kinds of questions:
·         "Must that be a free-text search, or can it be a selection for a list of available types?"
·         "If more than one vendor provides a meal that matches the search, how should the results be sorted?"
For more information, see Preparing for the Next Sprint.

3.3.         Plan a Sprint

When team has developed the product backlog and established a release plan, your team can start to work in sprints. Your team starts the sprint with a sprint planning meeting, in which the team commits to completing a set of user stories from the product backlog. That set of user stories, together with the supporting tasks, is the sprint backlog. For more information, see Comparing the Product and Sprint Backlogs.
After the sprint starts, the user stories in the sprint backlog are not changed. Therefore, the plan must be detailed enough that the team can make that commitment with confidence.
For more information, see Sprint Planning Meeting.

3.3.1.   Choose User Stories

Your team chooses the user stories that are candidates to be implemented in the sprint. You team identifies the user stories that have the highest priority and whose story points do not exceed its estimated velocity. For example, the four user stories that have the highest priority might have 8, 3, 7, 6, and 2 story points. If your team had a capacity of 25 story points per sprint, your team would include the first four stories in the sprint backlog.
For more information, see Iteration Backlog Workbook.

3.3.2.   Identify Tasks

Your team evaluates each user story to determine what it must do to implement that story. Your team breaks user stories down into tasks to help it understand the user stories well enough to make a confident commitment to complete them in the sprint.
Iteration Backlog worksheet
Teams that are very experienced at Scrum may be able to make this commitment without breaking the user stories down into tasks.

3.3.3.   Estimate Tasks

After the tasks are identified, your team estimates how long (in hours) each task will take. Teams frequently use the planning poker technique to estimate tasks. This technique helps prevent teams from trying to estimate more accurately than is necessary.

3.3.4.   Commit to User Stories

Your team uses the Iteration Backlog workbook to make sure that the team has enough working hours to complete all of the tasks. If the sprint has more work than your team has available in the sprint, the lowest ranked user stories must be removed until the work is within the team's capacity for the sprint. Smaller stories that are lower priority can be exchanged for larger stories that do not fit the sprint.
Capacity worksheet
Your team commits to completing the user stories that it has determined that it can complete. It makes this commitment with the understanding that your product owner will not attempt to introduce additional work or change the priorities of the user stories that are being implemented in the sprint.

3.4.         Run a Sprint

During a sprint, your team completes the tasks that are required to implement the user stories in the sprint backlog. Your team can track its progress and make sure that it meets the customers’ acceptance criteria and your team’s criteria for finished software before you finish each sprint.

3.4.1.   Complete User Stories

After your team plans the sprint, it has a list of user stories that it has committed to completing during the sprint. Those user stories have been broken down into tasks. Each member of your team signs up for a task when the sprint starts. After completing that task, the team member updates its status and sign up for another task. In this manner, your team works through the list of tasks, completing the user stories in the sprint backlog. A team member can indicate which tasks are completed when checking in code. For more information, see Associate Work Items with Changesets.
For more information about assigning tasks and updating their status, see Task (Agile).
Scrum relies on people talking to each other more than formal processes to make sure that dependencies are understood, that expertise is shared, and that changes in plans are made efficiently. Hold a short, daily Scrum meeting in which each member of the team shares some details about the work that they accomplished on the previous day, the work that they plan to accomplish that day, and any issues or impediments that might affect or require help from other team members. For more information, see Daily Scrum Meeting.
In his book "Extreme Programming Explained," Kent Beck talks about how it is cheaper to fix a bug sooner rather than later. Given that fact, your team must understand what is important to your customer. Perhaps the customer values quality instead of more features. Your product owner must know this kind of information because customers control the flow of the work to the team.
The software that a Scrum team produces should be error free. However, your team will likely encounter bugs in your projects. Handle bugs with the understanding that it is cheaper and quicker to fix them as they are found than it is to put them off until later. When your team finds bugs, fix them immediately. If your team cannot fix the bug on the same day that was found, create a bug work item in Visual Studio ALM and fix it before the end of the sprint.
For more information, see Bug (Agile).

3.4.2.   Track Sprint Progress

Your team can track the progress of the sprint to make sure that work is being completed as expected and that it meets the acceptance criteria. Scrum teams most frequently use a burndown report to track their progress through a sprint. MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 provides a set of reports that teams can use to track the progress of a sprint.
Burndown and Burn Rate Report (Agile)
Healthy version of Burndown report
Build Quality Indicators Report
Test Plan Progress Report
Stories Progress Report (Agile)
Teams often find that they need more or less time to complete a task than what they estimated during the sprint planning meeting. This kind of variation is typical. You can record this information by specifying the actual time that the team spent in the task.
As the sprint progresses, your team might identify work that it had not expected but that is necessary to complete a user story. In this case, create a task, estimate it and then determine whether your team can complete it in the hours that remain in the sprint. If your team can complete the task, continue with the sprint. If your team cannot complete the task in the sprint, meet with the product owner to discuss how to continue. The product owner and your team can resolve the issue by making the following kinds of changes:
·         Reduce the acceptance criteria for the user story so that the task becomes unnecessary.
·         Remove the user story from the sprint backlog.
·         Cancel the sprint.

3.4.3.   Finish the Sprint

As the end of the sprint approaches, make sure that your team is completing all user stories or requirements. For example, make sure that the acceptance tests are passing and that each user story meets the criteria that your team defined. For more information about what it means to be done, see the following Web page: Mitch Lacey & Associates, Inc.
Bug Status Report
Bug Trends Report
On the last day of the sprint, your team will demonstrate the user stories that it has completed to the product owner and possibly to your customers. Your product owner and customers will determine whether they accept each user story. For more information, see Sprint Review Meeting.
After the customer review, your team will hold a retrospective. For more information, see Retrospective Meeting.

3.5.         Track the Project

As your team works in sprints to deliver increments of the project, your customers develop a better understanding of their remaining needs, and changes in the business environment must be considered. Your product owner works with your customers to understand these changes. Your product owner will maintain the product backlog and the release plan to reflect those changes and to make sure that your team has what it needs at the start of each sprint. Your team tracks the progress of the product as a whole to make sure that it is making healthy progress toward completing the project.

3.5.1.   Prepare for the Next Sprint

The freshness of the product backlog has a direct relationship to the overall quality and completeness of the project. The backlog must be regularly updated, changed, and rethought to make sure that it is ready every time that your team is about to start a sprint.
Your product owner prepares the product backlog for the next sprint by performing the following tasks:
·         Update the user stories and their priorities as customers' needs change.
·         Break down user stories that are likely to be implemented in the next sprint.
Product Backlog
When your team finishes a sprint, other user stories get closer to the top of the product backlog. Your product owner must analyze and break down those stories that are at the top so that your team can implement them in the upcoming sprint. (For more information, see Prepare for the First Sprint earlier in this topic.) Mike Cohn often talks about this process as the product backlog iceberg. As the team works on a set of functionality, the iceberg melts, new work surfaces, and the iceberg becomes smaller. In this process, additional details emerge, just enough and just in time.
Now that your team is busy running a sprint, your product owner cannot expect to have the same level of your team's involvement in maintaining the product backlog as it may have provided in preparing for the first sprint. To help your product owner prepare the product backlog with a minimum of disruption to the sprint, your team and your product owner will discuss the open issues about the product backlog over the course of the sprint.

3.5.2.   Track Release Progress

As the project proceeds from sprint to sprint, your team will track the overall progress toward the next release. Your team will also track its progress to assess and improve its velocity. As your team tracks its progress, it should try to answer the following kinds of questions:
·         Are we working on the most appropriate user stories? Your product backlog will be refined with new user stories as the project progresses. However, if the total number of stories in the backlog is not decreasing, even though you are completing stories each sprint, the team should investigate the cause. The stories being completed might not be the best choices. The team should have a vision and a goal for each release and ensure that the stories tie directly with what is being asked of the customer.
·         Are we carrying technical debt? Some teams treat a user story as finished even though work such as fixing bugs remains to be completed. Those teams take on technical debt that they must pay later, usually at a higher cost.
Visual Studio ALM provides several reports to help your team track its progress over many sprints.
Status on All Iterations Report (Agile)
Healthy version of Status on All 
Iterations
Stories Overview Report (Agile)
Stories Progress Report (Agile)
You can create custom reports and work item queries to help track progress. For more information, see Creating, Customizing, and Managing Reports for Visual Studio ALM and Finding Bugs, Tasks, and Other Work Items.

3.5.3.   Finish the Release

If your team is not accumulating technical debt, it can release the product when it has completed the sprints in that release, without additional work. Your team and your product owner hold customer review and retrospective meetings to examine the release as a whole.
However, technical debt is a challenging problem that teams cannot eliminate easily. If your team, like many other teams, is still accumulating technical debt, you must spend time doing the outstanding work to finish the user stories before you release your product. In the retrospective for the release, consider what your team must do in upcoming sprints to avoid taking on more debt.

3.6.         Creating a Great Product Backlog

Your team creates a product backlog, which usually contains user stories, to represent what its customers need and value. Over the course of the project, your team will add detailed information to the user stories, break them down into smaller stories, prioritize and estimate them, and finally, implement them and deliver the results to your customers. By writing great user stories and continuously updating the product backlog, your team can more effectively deliver value to your customers.
Bill Wake summarizes what makes a good user story by using the INVEST acronym (independent, negotiable, valuable, estimable, small, and testable). For more information, see the following Web site: XPlorations. Mike Cohn discusses how to write user stories in one of his books, and you can download the relevant chapter from the following Web site: User Stories Applied for Agile Software Development.
When your team creates a user story, make sure that it represents customer value by answering the following questions:
  • Who the user is
  • What the user needs to do
  • Why the user needs to do that
In most cases, your team can accomplish this by creating an effective title. Mike Cohn suggests the form “As a <user>, I need to <action> in order to <reason>”. You can see this approach in the example “As a customer support representative, I need to access customer information so that I can more quickly respond to customer questions.” In many cases, the reason is obvious. For example, “As a vegetarian, I can filter my view to see only vegetarian meals.”
The user stories should also be defined in a way that allows them to be implemented in any order. However, it is not always practical to make the user stories completely independent. Bill Wake and Mike Cohn both describe techniques that your team can use when making user stories independent is a challenge.
User stories that are valuable and independent, as previously described, make up the product backlog. They are estimated and prioritized, and then your team starts to work on the highest ranked user stories. Before your team implements a user story, it must have the characteristics in the following list. Your product owner will work to make sure that the user stories that are ranked highest meet these criteria before bringing them to a sprint planning meeting.
  • Small enough to be implemented in the sprint
User stories that are about to be implemented must be small enough to be finished in the sprint. Your product owner will work with your team to break down user stories that are too large. For example, the user story “As a customer support representative, I need access to customer information so that I can more quickly respond to customer questions” may be too large to finish in a sprint. It could be broken down into stories such as “As a customer support representative, I need to access the customer’s name and the recent call summary by using the customer's phone number” and “As a customer support representative, I need to access the customers’ full call history so that I can research the current problem in more detail.”
  • Just detailed enough to describe and estimate the work that is required to implement the story
Before they are included in a sprint, user stories are estimated in story points. These are intentionally rough estimates that are primarily used to manage the backlog and to help prepare for the sprint. When a sprint starts, your team will break the user story down into the tasks that are required to implement it. Your team will work with your product owner in the product backlog grooming meeting to determine which stories need more information before they can be broken down into tasks to estimate the hours of work. Your product owner can gather these details and record them in the user story’s description.
Be careful not to add more details to the user story than necessary. The user story should be the basis for a conversation and negotiation with your product owner and customers that continues until the user story has been finished and accepted. Too much detail can impair the negotiation by creating an implication of precision that is not accurate.
  • Acceptance criteria defined
At the end of a sprint, your customers or your product owner will either accept the user story as finished or reject it. Before the sprint starts, the criteria for customer acceptance should be described as clearly as possible. Of course, a user story may not be accepted for reasons that were not anticipated. However, the conversations that your team has with customers to help define the acceptance criteria will help ensure that your team understands your customers’ expectations. The acceptance criteria can be used as the basis for acceptance tests so that you can more effectively evaluate whether you are finished with a user story.

3.6.1.   Epics and Themes

It is frequently said that user stories should be small. That is true for the user stories that are about to be implemented. However, the stories that are ranked lower can be larger. In fact, keeping them large is a good way to keep your product backlog from becoming too large to manage. User stories can be broken down into smaller user stories as they approach the top of the prioritized product backlog. It is helpful to think of large user stories as epics and themes.
  • Epics are very large user stories that represent a significant amount of work. When you break an epic down, you may create many themes and other, smaller user stories.
  • Themes are user stories that are fairly large, generally larger than you would implement in a sprint. Before your team implements a theme, it must be broken down into smaller user stories.
When you prioritize the product backlog, break down epics and themes that are near the top, and prioritize the new, smaller user stories. When you are finished, the highest priority user stories should be small enough to implement. Lower in the prioritized backlog, most of the user stories are generally larger.

3.6.2.   Spikes

Your team will sometimes need to do work that is not a direct implementation of a user story. This work is called a spike. Three common types of spikes are research, bug debt, and process or engineering improvements. To create a spike in Team Foundation, create a user story work item, set the type to Spike, and then prioritize it in the product backlog together with the other user stories.
  • Research
Research occurs when there are open questions about a user story that must be answered before the user story can be fully broken down into tasks and estimated. For example, the team comes across the story “As a frequent flyer, I can book award travel” during a sprint planning meeting. After discussing it, they have more questions than answers. The team creates a user story to represent the spike. “As a team member, I can understand what ‘book award travel’ means so that I can write stories to include in future sprints.” The team determines how many hours it is willing to dedicate to that research and writes that number as the timebox for the spike. None of the stories that are written during the spike can be done during that iteration. The work must be scheduled for a future iteration by using the product backlog.
  • Bug Debt
The best time to fix a bug is when you find it. If you cannot fix it on the same day that you found it, you should create a bug work item to make sure that you do not lose track of it. Be careful to avoid accumulating bugs. If your team does accumulate bugs, create a user story, and link the bugs to the spike so that it can be estimated and prioritized together with other user stories and spikes.
  • Process or Engineering Improvements
Your team will undertake process or engineering improvements that help drive it toward success. These improvements are often identified during the sprint retrospective and daily scrum meetings. For example, your team might need to improve code coverage by the unit tests or reduce the build time on the continuous integration server.

3.7.         Comparing the Product and Sprint Backlogs

The product backlog and the sprint backlog serve similar but distinct purposes. The product backlog is primarily managed by your product owner and contains a high-level view of all the work that your team must complete to create the product. Your product owner ranks the user stories in the product backlog and provides sufficient detail during the sprint planning meeting so that your team can estimate and implement each user story.
In contrast, your team creates the sprint backlog, which contains a detailed list of all the tasks that your team must complete to finish the user stories for the sprint. In the product backlog, your team estimates user stories with the relative unit of story points. In the sprint backlog, your team estimates tasks in hours.
Your product owner updates the product backlog every week, but your team updates the sprint backlog at least daily.
Your product owner maintains the same product backlog throughout the project, but your team creates a new sprint backlog for each sprint.
The following table details many of the key differences between product and sprint backlogs.
Item
Product Backlog
Sprint Backlog
Level of detail
Less detailed
Very detailed
Estimation units
Story Points
Hours
Document ownership
Product Owner
Team
Revised
Weekly
Daily
Duration
Project
Sprint
Workbook
Product Backlog workbook
Iteration Backlog workbook

4.                Engineering Practices

To increase the velocity at which your team delivers value to your customers, your team can apply engineering practices that come from agile methodologies and that support agile principles and values.

4.1.         Build and Deploy Continuously

When many developers collaborate on complex software projects, it can be a long and unpredictable process to integrate different parts of code together. However, you can make this process more efficient and more reliable if you build and deploy your project continuously.
Continuous integration (CI) is the process of integrating your code into a shared repository as frequently as possible. During code integration, a build break or a test failure can inform you, in a timely manner, of an error in your code.
Martin Fowler has the following breakdown of practices for continuous integration:
·         Maintain a single source repository.
·         Automate the build.
·         Make your build self-sustaining.
·         Check in at least once a day.
·         Build each check-in on the CI server.
·         Keep the build fast.
·         Test in a clone of the production environment.
·         Make it easy for anyone to get the most recent executable.
·         Always be aware of what is happening.
·         Automate deployment.
For more information, see the following page on Martin Fowler's Web site: Continuous Integration.
Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) helps you manage the end-to-end process of software development and supports the practice of continuous integration. By leveraging the capabilities of Visual Studio ALM, your project can avoid unexpected delays, cost overruns, and execution risks.

4.1.1.   Managing Dependencies

Integrating code is a complex process because of the dependencies among code. For example, a library that draws a circle on a screen depends on the Sqrt() method of the system math libraries. If the Sqrt() method changes, you must update the library accordingly. Hardware and operating systems change much less frequently than your team project. However, ignoring changes under any circumstances can lead to disastrous results. You can integrate your code as early as possible to examine whether it is based on valid assumptions and whether it works as planned.
Changes in code can affect dependencies differently. The following illustration shows two situations. The example on the left shows a relatively isolated change. However, the example on the right shows a change with more potential impact because there are many dependencies on it.
Build and Deploy Code Diagram
The following illustration shows how constant changes can have compound effects if you do not integrate and upgrade your code continuously.
Continuous Build and Deploy Code Timeline
In step 1, you change code block h, which potentially affects all depending code blocks a, b, d, e, and f. In step 2, you change both code blocks a and b. If the team does not integrate between steps 1 and 2, blocks a and b might no longer be valid. In step 3, you change code block f. Assuming the team does not integrate between steps 2 and 3, code block b at this point has been affected, changed, and affected again. As a result, code block b can become challenging to fix.

4.1.2.   Continuous Integration in Visual Studio 2010

Visual Studio ALM provides integrated toolsets to support continuous integration. As the following illustration shows, these tools include version control, build, test, deployment to a lab environment, work item tracking, and the data warehousing functionality.
TFS in Continuous 
Build and Deploy
First, you can use Team Foundation version control to manage branches, changesets, and the integration between them. Each team member can use workspaces to work independently. For more information, see Branching and Merging and Set Up your Development Machine to Work with your Team's Project.
Second, you can use Team Foundation Build to compile, test, and deploy your software in an automated and distributed system. As the previous illustration shows, Team Foundation Build has two kinds of builds. One kind uses a continuous build type to build the development branch. The other kind uses a gated check-in build type to build the Main branch. Visual Studio Team Foundation Server supports five types of builds: manual, continuous (triggered by every check-in), rolling (accumulate check-ins until the previous build finishes), gated check-in, and scheduled. For more information, see Create a Basic Build DefinitionUnderstanding a Team Foundation Build System, and Check In Pending Changes that Are Controlled by a Gated Check-in Build.
Third, lab management capabilities of Visual Studio ALM help define and deploy builds to both physical and virtual lab environments. To catch integration errors at runtime in a specific environment, you can deploy a build to a lab environment and then run test suites on this build. For more information, see Using a Virtual Lab for Your Application Lifecycle.
In addition, test capabilities in Visual Studio ALM are available on your team members' machines, on the build machine, and inside the lab environment. First, running test suites on the developer’s machine catches problems with the code that has been recently changed or created. Second, running tests on the build machine catches problems that relate to integration with other code. Third, running tests in the lab catches problems that relate to the variance in different environments. For more information, see How to: Configure and Run Scheduled Tests After Building Your Application.
NoteNote
Running tests can generate code coverage metrics, which you can use to understand how much code your test cases can cover. However, you cannot use code coverage to measure test completeness or quality. For more information, see How to: Configure Code Coverage Using Test Settings for Automated Tests.
Fourth, Visual Studio Team Foundation Server is the repository that stores work items. You can create, manage, and track work items, such as bugs or tasks, that are assigned to your team members. If a build breaks during code integration, your team must fix the problem as soon as possible. You can configure Team Foundation Server to create work items for build breaks. For more information, see Tracking Bugs, Tasks, and Other Work Items.
Last, the databases of the warehouse for Team Foundation Server and for SQL Server Analysis Services aggregate and relate all the data that is provided by subsystems in Team Foundation Server. These subsystems include version control, build, test, deployment, and work item tracking. Therefore, your team can visualize the end-to-end process of continuous integration. For more information, see Generating Reports Using the Relational Warehouse Database for Visual Studio ALM.

4.1.3.   Getting Ready and Started

Your team can take the following progression to start using continuous integration and Team Foundation Server:
1.      Use Team Foundation version control to integrate code into a single code base.
2.      Create a manual build type in Team Foundation Build.
3.      Run automated test cases to verify the quality of your build. If you do not have an appropriate test suite, create a placeholder test suite and import a few automated test cases. This suite can serve as a placeholder for future tests.
4.      Ensure that you deliver the resulting binaries from a build to a shared location. This strategy can help you diagnose problems that appear during testing.
5.      Use Microsoft Test Manager to catch integration errors at runtime in a specific environment.

4.1.4.   Version Control

A version control system provides a shared repository to your code. A small team can work with a single branch. However, working with two or more branches is more feasible because you usually must develop multiple versions of code and release your project in different milestones. For more information about how to create and merge code branches, see the following page on the CodePlex Web site: Team Foundation Server Branching Guide 2.0.

4.1.5.   Build

In continuous integration, a build system generates the executable components that can be tested and deployed. A build system also provides feedback in the form of compilation errors and warnings. These errors are caused by changes that are introduced into your project source.
Team Foundation Build provides the following build types:
·         Manual – Builds are queued by team members.
·         Continuous – Builds are queued by a check-in to a version-control branch.
·         Rolling – Builds accumulate until the previous build finishes.
·         Gated check-in – Check-ins are accepted only if the submitted changes merge and build successfully.
·         Scheduled – Builds occur on a defined schedule.
For more information, see Create a Basic Build Definition.

4.1.5.1.                  What are the expectations from team members to successfully implement continuous integration?

Your team members must organize their sources so that they take no longer than 10 minutes to build. For larger projects, this frequency might not be possible. By using Team Foundation Server, your team can configure various build definitions that build different subsets of the code base. If builds take a long time, you can use a rolling build type to continuously generate binaries for the unchanged code.
If and when a build breaks, your team must fix the build immediately. Assuming that the main branch does not get affected by a bad reverse integration, most build breaks are either from a bad check-in at a work branch or a forward integration from the mainline branch. It is a good idea to assign the task of fixing build breaks to a team member for a period of time and then to rotate this assignment among members of your team.

4.1.5.2.                  How many builds should be run per day?

When you integrate your code continuously, you can run a continuous build for each check-in that occurs in every branch. You can also run a rolling build that is independent of new checked-in code. For more information, see Create a Basic Build Definition and Monitor Progress of a Running Build.

4.1.5.3.                  How can Team Foundation Server help code build faster?

Configuring the build definition to perform incremental builds will help increase the speed of the build. You can use build logs to identify slow parts of the build, where there is an opportunity to improve. For more information, see Configure Team Foundation Build for an Incremental Build.

4.1.5.4.                  How can Team Foundation Build help scale continuous integration?

Build controllers and build agents can help scale the continuous integration cycle.
For more information, see Understanding a Team Foundation Build System.

4.1.6.   Testing and Deployment

4.1.6.1.                  How does testing and deployment fit into continuous integration?

The following illustration shows how the features of testing and deployment in Visual Studio ALM fit into continuous integration.
Fit testing into continuous integration
First, when you integrate your code continuously, you can find problems with the code from the build itself. The build either succeeded or did not compile, given the compiler that you used. You can generate a build report that contains both error and warning messages from the compiler. In Visual Studio ALM, the build report also provides information such as which bugs were fixed in this build, which changesets were included in this build, and whether code analysis was run during the build. By using Visual Studio ALM, you can verify whether the design of your code follows the rules that your team defines. For more information, see How to: Validate .NET Code Against Layer Diagrams.
Second, you can find problems with your code by running unit tests. These tests diagnose problems differently from compilers. The rules of the compiler check problems with code syntax and language constructs. In contrast, the unit tests (which can run on a build after it is completed) can verify any functional aspect of the code. These unit tests can also provide metrics such as code coverage on a build, given a set of unit tests. For more information, see How to: Configure Code Coverage Using Test Settings for Automated Tests.
By using Microsoft Test Manager, you can configure a set of environments in which you can run tests. Isolated unit tests can provide a level of functional verification. However, environments have the following important aspects:
·         Varying environments can affect how code works. For example, network settings and topology might be difficult to test without a lab management environment.
·         Automating code deployment in a specific environment helps your team decrease deployment time and increase the number of deployment iterations.
For more information, see How to: Create an Environment from Virtual Machine Templates and Setting Up Test Machines to Run Tests or Collect Data.

4.1.6.2.                  How can I organize my test suites to enable continuous integration?

You can run the test suites that are most important for your continuous builds because too many tests can delay the completion of build. Make sure that you run these tests for the current iteration.
On a nightly or scheduled build cycle, you can also run tests from previous builds and complete test passes that verify functionality in previous sprints.

4.1.6.3.                  How does continuous integration affect the test team?

Continuous integration helps identify builds that contain errors so that your test team does not waste time working with and installing bad builds.

4.1.7.   Project Integration and Communication

The effort of implementing continuous integration can be significant depending on the size of your project. Your team must define and schedule the work for continuous integration in the first sprint of the project.
If you want to adopt continuous integration in stages, you can start by implementing the automated build. Then, you can modify it to include running unit tests. Finally, you can add the capabilities of deploying the tested build to a lab environment, and then you can run tests inside the environment to verify whether a varying environment affects the code.

4.2.         Branch Strategically

Source code is an important asset in your development effort. But it can be a challenge to effectively manage and evolve source files when multiple developers work concurrently on file updates. You can use a version control system to store source code in shared repositories, to isolate parallel development efforts, to integrate code changes, and to recover previous file versions. A key element in version control is branching that enables simultaneous development. If you branch strategically, you can maintain the order and consistency of multiple versions of your software.
Team Foundation provides a flexible and reliable version control system. You can use Team Foundation version control to manage multiple revisions during development of source code, documents, work items, and other critical information that is worked on by your team. For more information about version control in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, see Using Version Control

4.2.1.   How does your team manage code while it introduces multiple changes simultaneously through several project releases?

When you work with a version control system, you must consider how to set up a branch structure. You can create a branch by mirroring the source code file. Then you can change the branch without affecting the source. For example, as the branch structure in the following illustration shows, the MAIN branch contains completed functionality that has passed integration tests, and the DEVELOPMENT branch contains the code that is under construction. When a new functionality in the DEVELOPMENT branch is completed and can pass integration tests, you can promote the code from the DEVELOPMENT branch to the MAIN branch. This process is referred to as reverse integration. Conversely, if you merge the code from the MAIN branch to the DEVELOPMENT branch, the process is referred to as forward integration.
Main Branch
For more information about how to create and merge code branches, see the following page on the CodePlex Web site: Team Foundation Server Branching Guide 2.0.
Branching and merging entail the following principles:
  1. Each branch must have a defined policy about how to integrate code into this branch. For example, in the branch structure of the previous illustration, you can assign a team member to own and manage the MAIN branch. This member is responsible for performing the initial branch operation, reverse integrating changes from the DEVELOPMENT branch to the MAIN branch, and forward integrating changes from the MAIN branch to the DEVELOPMENT branch. Forward integration is important when the MAIN branch also integrates changes from other branches.
  2. The MAIN branch must contain code that has passed integration tests so that it is always ready for a release.
  3. The DEVELOPMENT (or work) branch constantly evolves because team members check in changes periodically.
  4. Labels are snapshots of the files in a branch at a specific time.
For more information, see Use Labels to Take a Snapshot of Your Files.
Team Foundation Build allows you to choose from several types of builds for your branches: manual, continuous, gated, rolling, and scheduled. We recommend that the MAIN branch has a gated check-in build type. This means that the DEVELOPMENT branch must pass all requirements for the MAIN branch before you can commit a reverse integration. The DEVELOPMENT branch should run a continuous build type because your team must know as soon as possible when a new check-in affects the DEVELOPMENT branch.

4.2.2.   How often should your team reverse integrate and forward integrate?

As shown in the following illustration, reverse integration and forward integration should occur at least when you complete a user story. Although each team might define completeness differently, completion of a user story generally means that you complete both the functionality and the corresponding unit tests. You can reverse integrate to the MAIN branch only after unit tests have verified the stability of the DEVELOPMENT branch.
Branch across two sprints
If you have more than one work (DEVELOPMENT) branch, forward integration to all work branches should occur as soon as any branch integrates into the MAIN branch. Because the MAIN branch is kept stable, forward integration is safe. Conflicts or failures at the work branches might occur because you cannot guarantee that the work branches are stable.
It is important that you resolve all conflicts as soon as possible. By using a gated check-in for the MAIN branch, you help make the reverse integration much easier because quality gates help avoid conflicts or errors in the MAIN branch. For more information, see Check In Pending Changes that Are Controlled by a Gated Check-in Build.

4.2.3.   How does your team manage sources that implement different user stories?

As the following illustration shows, you can check in changes to a work branch periodically to complete a user story. You can implement multiple user stories in the same branch at the same time. However, you can reverse integrate to the MAIN branch only when you complete all the in-progress work. It is recommended that you group user stories by similar size because you do not want a large user story to block the integration of many small ones. You can split the two sets of user stories into two branches.
Check-in Completes User story
When should the team add a branch?

You should create branches in the following situations:
  • When you must release code on a different schedule/cycle than the existing branches.
  • When your code requires a different branch policy. If you create a new branch that has the new policy, you can add strategic value to your project.
  • When functionality is released to a customer and your team plans to make changes that do not affect the planned release cycle.
You should not create a branching for each user story because it creates a high integration cost. Although Team Foundation Server 2010 makes branching easy, the overhead of managing branches can become significant if you have many branches.

4.2.4.   How does the team manage releases from the version control perspective?

Your team should be able to release code at the end of any sprint. By using Team Foundation Server, you can label a branch to take a snapshot of the code at a specific point in time. As the following illustration shows, you can label the MAIN branch for a release. This lets you return the branch to its state at this point.
Label a branch to take a 
snapshot of the code
Because you must implement updates on releases, creating a branch for a release helps your team continue to work independently on the next sprint without creating conflicts with future releases. The following illustration shows a branch that contains code for an update and that is reverse integrated into the MAIN branch after a release at the end of the second sprint.
Reverse integrate a branch that contains 
update
When you create a branch for a release, you should create that branch from the MAIN branch, which is the most stable. If you branch for release from a work branch, it can cause integration challenges because the stability of work branches is not guaranteed.

4.3.         Test Early and Often

Catching defects as early as possible is the least expensive way to ensure software quality. Kent Beck and Cynthia Andres wrote “Here is the dilemma in software development: defects are expensive, but eliminating defects is also expensive. However, most defects end up costing more than it would have cost to prevent them.” (For more information, see the following Web page: Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change.) Best practices and tools can help your team to minimize the cost of preventing and fixing defects by maintaining the quality of your project throughout its lifecycle.
Your team can more accurately gauge the quality of your project at any time if you find defects, fix defects, and verify fixes as you go along. By testing often, your team and stakeholders can remain aware of the current state of the code and make informed decisions throughout the project. Ultimately, you should be able to answer the question “Can we release?” and understand the implications for the people who use the software.
This topic recommends the following practices:
·         Create a set of automated unit tests for each class and for the API of every major component. Writing unit tests should take about 40% of team members' time. For more information, see Creating Automated Tests.
·         Create tests for each user story. These should preferably be automated. For more information, see Creating a Test Plan Using Requirements or User Stories.
·         Create check-in policies that remind team members to run unit tests before checking in code. For more information, see Add Check-In Policies.
·         Set up a continuous or nightly build that runs the full set of tests.
·         Monitor test coverage to ensure that all your code is tested. Aim for coverage of at least 70%. For more information, see Testing Gaps Excel Report (Agile).
·         Run manual tests near the end of every sprint.
Your team can manage and scale these testing activities early in your project by using the integration between Microsoft Test Manager, Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.  For more information, see Testing the Application.

4.3.1.   Test Strategy

Your team’s success with testing depends on several factors, which include the size of your team, your team’s methods, and your team's management tools. You can use agile methods to continuously improve test results. By applying this method, not only can you start to test with very limited resources, but also you can adjust your practice as appropriate throughout your project.

4.3.1.1.                  What to consider when introducing agile testing

When introducing agile testing to an existing application, your team can start by thinking of your testing strategy at both the sprint level and the project level. At the sprint level, you can include a set of acceptance tests to cover each user story of the current sprint. At the project level, you can have tests that span the entire project, such as end-to-end testing. This is useful if you want to verify functionality that spans two or more sprints. You can create all kinds of tests while your team builds code during a sprint. These tests include unit tests, acceptance tests, and nonfunctional tests, such as performance tests, security tests, and usability tests.
To apply agile testing methods, you first should consider the history of your application and the system that your team uses. You can apply agile testing methods to both new and existing applications. You can use Microsoft Test Manager to create a test plan for your entire project and a test plan for each sprint in your project. These test plans allow your team to organize test cases into test suites that help prioritize running tests and help understand test results. For more information, see Creating a Test Plan Using Requirements or User Stories. Your team can use Visual Studio ALM to group test cases into test suites through several methods:
·         Creating and managing a static group of test cases.
·         Using a query to create and manage a dynamic group of test cases (that is, find test cases based on priority).
·         Adding a user story or a requirement to a test plan, where test cases have a link to the requirement.
·         Copying an existing test suite from another test plan.
For more information, see Organizing Test Cases Using Test Suites.
Second, you must consider the testability of your code. To learn this, you need to understand the architecture and patterns of your application. If you use patterns such as Model View Controller (MVC), Model View ViewModel (MVVM), or Model View Presenter (MVP), you can isolate certain functions and run functional tests without the negative impact of user interface testing. However, this does not always represent the real case. For example, you cannot isolate functionality for the refactoring parts of your application, and you can reach certain areas of code only through the user interface or networking event handlers. If you want to significantly improve test quality, you must increase the percentage of testable code. For more information about these patterns, see ASP.NET MVC 2.
Third, you must consider the capabilities of your team before you implement agile testing. Some team members should be able to create unit tests when you implement functionalities. Some team members should be able to create and define manual use cases and workflow tests if they are familiar with the business rules of your application. Additionally, other team members should be able to create automated and more detailed tests that are based on these manual tests if they have necessary technical skills.

4.3.1.2.                  How to manage the testing lifecycle

Testing is an iterative process throughout your project. Refer to the following steps:
1.      Make clear testing objectives, and make sure that your entire team agrees to them. Based on these objectives, determine your test strategy. For example, your strategy might be "Tests will be run before every check-in, unit tests will have 70% code coverage, and every user story will have at least one automated test."
2.      Define your test plan based on project user stories, design assumptions, and nonfunctional requirements in the current sprint.
1.      You can add user stories to the backlog and plan them for future sprints. You should match each test plan to at least one sprint and, therefore, should have test cases for all user stories in the sprint.
3.      Define and build test cases, such as acceptance tests, unit tests, functional tests, and performance tests.
4.      Group test cases into test suites. You can fit these test suites into defined test plans that help guide your testing effort.
5.      Run test suites and contained test cases repeatedly throughout a sprint. Start to run tests early in a sprint, and continue to add test cases to the test suites. If you want to identify important test conditions and situations, you can apply exploratory testing and have frequent conversations inside your team.
6.      Ensure that all the acceptance tests for a user story have passed before you set its status to complete.
Iterative testing life cyle
Although the workflow can be much more involved depending on the breakdown of software, the previous illustration captures the essence of a workflow among main components.
·         Code generates builds.
·         Code is influenced by the defined work, test plans, and the quality of builds.
·         Test plans, test suites, and test cases are influenced by planned goals and other aspects of the project that this illustration does not show.
·         Changes in code can affect test cases.

4.3.1.3.                  Fixing Bugs

1.      You must deal with bugs as early as possible. A severe bug means that the user stories that it affects have not been completed.
2.      Create bug work items for bugs that are found through either testing or other activities. Set the severity of the bug to indicate the degree to which it affects user stories. A high severity, such as 0 or 1, indicates that important user stories are not implemented or that users must perform significant workarounds to achieve the story. A low severity, such as 3, indicates that users can still achieve their main objectives without extra work.
3.      Work with others on your team to decide on an action plan for each bug.
4.      Resolve bugs as soon as you fix them. The bug should be assigned to another person to verify. Verify and close bugs as soon as possible.
5.      Track the status of bugs. In the retrospective meeting at the end of each iteration, look at the Bug Trends report, and discuss the reasons for any unusual increases. For more information, see Bug Trends Report.

4.3.2.   Test Planning

Test planning is the process of helping your team to understand your project’s big picture and the process of preparing your team for all kinds of testing. Agile testing starts at the sprint level. In each sprint, your team creates tests to verify the user stories that were built in that sprint. The team runs the tests that were created in both the current and previous sprints. Through the course of the project, a large number of tests are built up that covers all functionalities. The following illustration shows a template for test plans in your project.
Master test plan

4.3.2.1.                  Create a test plan for each sprint and for the project

By using the testing features of Visual Studio ALM, your team can incrementally plan, organize, execute, and report tests. Your team can create a template for test plans, and team members can fill in test suites. In a test plan, your team can identify where you should use automated or manual test cases.
For each sprint in your project, you can start to create a test plan. By using this plan, your team can focus on verifying functionality in the current sprint. Although the plan is empty at first, you can use it as a placeholder for test suites. Then you can organize test cases into appropriate test suites. You should create these test cases early and throughout a sprint if you want to get timely feedback from project stakeholders.
You can also create a test plan that covers your entire project. You can use project test plans to coalesce tests from previous sprints and organize test suites that apply to the entire project. You should continue to run regression test suites because it is important to maintain stability and flow when your team builds larger projects. Especially if you work with larger and distributed teams that lack proximity, regression test suites can catch errors that are based on changes that have cascading impacts. Without correct measures in place, these errors are very difficult to catch and may be caught either late in the cycle or after delivery.
Some teams may want to define a test plan that spans the entire project. These kinds of test plans may verify related functionality in a number of sprints and contain test suites that run throughout the project. For example, you can test a feature that spans user stories across sprints only when the entire feature is complete.

4.3.2.2.                  Define acceptance tests before a sprint

You should define acceptance tests before a sprint. These acceptance tests can help you determine whether a user story is complete. You can track acceptance test cases if you create a test suite that is named Acceptance Tests in a test plan for each sprint. For more information, see Acceptance Testing later in this topic.

4.3.2.3.                  Build unit tests during a sprint

Your team should build unit tests during a sprint. Unit tests can verify code performance, such as the cost of time and resources that are used to execute code. Other types of tests, such as nonfunctional tests (that is, performance tests and security tests) should be built and added to the appropriate test suites. You should organize these test suites so that you can easily identify their cost.

4.3.2.4.                  Focus testing on areas of high use

Understanding where the high variability in your software exists determines where the hotspots can be. The user input, the environment that runs the software, the network, and the hardware are examples of configuration variables that enable your team to discover hotspots in the software. If a condition rarely occurs or there are a convoluted number of conditions that can occur during a test, the value of the test diminishes except that the potential impact of a defect is very high. In general, isolation of functionality is desirable when possible. Testing situations of high impact are also important. For more information about how to manage configurations by using Microsoft Test Manager, see Defining Your Test Matrix Using Test Configurations
For existing projects, monitor the areas that have the highest number of defects, and determine why the defects exist. Also monitor code churn because this area might overlook underlying assumptions. Some reasons for code defects include difficulty of managing not only states (for example, network and user interface) but also code.

4.3.2.5.                  Separate tests for processing and storing data

Code that uses a database typically separates processing data from storing data. You can test data processing by running unit tests, and you can test data storage directly at the database layer. Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 provides functionality for testing database stored procedures. You should organize these tests into their own test suite. For more information, see Creating and Defining Database Unit Tests.
Microsoft Test Manager can be used to create snapshots of machine images and use them as a way to revert to a known state after running tests that depend on data (or some other aspect of the state). These tests are very valuable and have been traditionally very time intensive.

4.3.3.   Acceptance Testing

Acceptance tests verify user stories. These tests can not only ensure that you successfully build what your customers need throughout the lifecycle of your project but also build trust with your customers and show your accepted responsibilities. For more information, see the following Web page: Acceptance Test Engineering Guide.

4.3.3.1.                  How to get started with acceptance testing

Open Microsoft Test Manager, and then create a test suite that is named Acceptance Tests in your test plan. Your team should have at least one test suite that groups acceptance tests for each sprint. For more information, see Defining Your Testing Effort Using Test Plans.

4.3.3.2.                  Migrate from manual tests to automated tests

Manual tests are easier to define than automated tests but more expensive to run. It is, therefore, a good strategy to start with manual tests and gradually replace the more important ones with automated tests.
First, start to build a set of manual test cases that verify each user story that has been defined for the sprint. Because there is no code at the start of a sprint, a test case should outline high-level actions that map to parts of a user story. For example, a step in a test case can be “As an authenticated user, do…” Starting with a manual test case enables your team to quickly define ideal acceptance tests before a sprint starts.
Second, revise and update acceptance tests to reflect specific user experiences when your team has code that implements user stories in a sprint. However, if your team does not want to modify the existing set of acceptance tests, you can import the tests into a new test suite and have a starting point for more detailed tests. For example, a step in a more detailed test case can be “Type name into the Username text box, and click the Login button to log into the bank account.”
Third, based on your acceptance tests, create coded user interface (UI) tests by using action recording. For more information, see How to: Generate a Coded UI Test from an Action Recording. Coded UI tests can generate cleaner code if you create steps that isolate functionality. You can run automated tests from your test plan if you attach coded UI test to manual test cases (For more information, see How to: Associate an Automated Test with a Test Case.)
The manual tests that were defined at the beginning of a sprint can help you create automated tests. There is a cost to both manual and automated tests because manual tests need to be run by a person and automated tests need to be updated if the code or user experience changes. For more information, see Manual vs Automated Testing later in this topic.

4.3.3.3.                  Who runs the acceptance test cases?

Your team, your product owner, and your customers can run acceptance test cases. Your team should run them as often as possible to provide a baseline on the set of tests that need to pass in a sprint. The product owner and the customer can also run the acceptance tests and may require verification to successfully complete the sprint.
Your team can use Microsoft Test Manager to run each acceptance test case and record a video screen capture of the test results. In this way, you can get a visual record of the test results and can also share the results with your customers. This is helpful when it is difficult to create required configurations (for example, multi-server configurations).

4.3.3.4.                  Define acceptance test cases along with user stories

You can define acceptance criteria right after you define user stories. By defining acceptance tests, you can help your team understand the acceptance criteria for the current sprint from the product owner and customers. Because the customer needs to agree to the acceptance tests, it is a good idea to create the acceptance test cases before the sprint starts.

4.3.4.   Unit Testing

Unit tests are automated tests that verify functionality at the component, class, method, or property level. Unit tests are the foundation of automated and regression testing, which provides long-term stability and future maintainability of the project.

4.3.4.1.                  How do unit tests help evolve the design of my application?

The process of creating unit tests while building the tested code helps define the shape of the code. You can create code that is testable by using unit tests. Difficulty in creating unit tests for code is a sign that the code should be refactored.

4.3.4.2.                  How do I organize my unit tests?

Each team member who writes code should create unit tests for the components that they build and check the unit test code into version control inside a Visual Studio project. File the test case work items into a build verification test suite that will be run during each build through continuous integration and also inside the test suite that verifies the corresponding user story.

4.3.4.3.                  How do I manage variance of unit tests without having to change the test code?

Variance in test inputs defines the similarity or differences between tests as it verifies functionality in the project code. For example, when testing the logon component of a Web application, you can provide several types of passwords to create a user account. The system may have rules for the order and combination of character types that are used.
Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 provides capabilities for writing data-driven unit tests and coded UI tests. For more information, see How to: Create a Data-Driven Unit Test and How to: Create a Data-Driven Coded UI Test.

4.3.5.   Test-Driven Development and Testing Early

Test-driven development (TDD) is a discipline of design and programming where every line of code is written in response to a test that the programmer writes just before coding. The idea of becoming the consumer of the code which you want to implement is very powerful and maintains a realistic expectation of how the code should be used and designed.
In TDD, the developer works in many small increments. The development of each small increment takes between a few minutes and a few hours. Typically, many such increments make up a user story. The developer check in the tests and code when the user story works. The developer works in the following cycle:
1.      Write an automated test that is expected to pass when the increment is written.
2.      Verify that the new test fails to help make sure that the test works.
3.      Write code that will make the test pass.
4.      Run the test to verify that it succeeds.
5.      Also run all other tests in the same area to make sure that no bugs have been introduced.
6.      Refactor the code, if necessary, to improve its structure without adding behavior. Rerun the tests to make sure that the code still works.
7.      Repeat all these steps until a complete user story is implemented. As the preceding increments are integrated into a complete story, add tests that verify the full story.
8.      Check in the implementation code and unit tests.
If you are interested in the benefits of test-early methods, you can start by creating manual (or manual acceptance) tests. These manual tests can be automated by creating a coded UI test. (For more information, see How to: Generate a Coded UI Test by Recording the Application Under Test.) Integration tests that use the unit test framework in Visual Studio ALM can also be created to verify functionality that is being implemented. The groups of test cases that are created early in the iteration are run early in the iteration to try to both verify functionality and find bugs. These test suites and test cases can be continuously run as regression tests throughout the life of the project. By continuing to run these tests, you help ensure that the bugs that were found and the functionality that was verified early in the iteration are not affected by change later in the project.

4.3.5.1.                  Use unit tests for continuous integration

The unit tests that are created while using the test-early practice should be organized inside the test suite for the current sprint and user story. These unit tests can be promoted to the project-wide test plan and run periodically by the team and inside the continuous integration cycle. Unit tests can also serve as a foundation for integration, load, and performance testing.
Unit tests that are created at the start can be used as part of continuous integration. For more information about how to run tests during a build, see TestToolsTask Task.

4.3.5.2.                  Use virtualization to manage test configurations

To run unit tests, you can create a set of environments that are managed Hyper-V images in Microsoft Test Manager. For more information about how to run automated tests from a test plan by using Microsoft Test Manager, see TestToolsTask Task.

4.3.6.   Manual versus Automated Testing

Automated and manual test cases are complementary. Agile teams strive to have more automated test cases because they promote frequent or continuous test runs. To continuously run tests, they must execute quickly and frequently, which is difficult to achieve with manual testing.
There are several considerations that should be made when deciding on a distribution of manual and automated test cases.

4.3.6.1.                  How do the skills in your organization influence your distribution of test types?

The product owner helps define the user stories for the project and should also contribute to the creation of acceptance tests. The product owner will likely not be producing coded tests but will have significant knowledge of the business domain. The test cases that are defined by the product owner will, therefore, be at the level of the business vocabulary and business rules. For example, a product owner in a shipping company will specify different means of transportation that are supported by the business (for example, truck, train, air, sea, or a combination). The product owner can then define several test cases that exercise the different possibilities. For these manual tests, it is important to specify the minimum number of tests that exercise the different options (in this case, the means of shipping).
Team members who produce code can build coded UI tests, which can be based on the manual tests or independent of any other test. (For more information, see How to: Generate a Coded UI Test by Recording the Application Under Test)Coded UI tests must be supported by team members who have the ability to manage and develop project code.

4.3.6.2.                  When should you convert manual tests into automated tests or create automated tests from the start?

You can build automated tests when you expect to run tests repeatedly to maintain stability of your code. It is important to consider the effort of creating automated tests because the investment of automation affects the resources of your team. Creating automated tests when the code has little churn results in a higher return on investment (ROI) because there is less test churn. However, there is value in creating automation early because it will help discover problems in both the logic and design. In both cases, the resources that are required for supporting the automated test code needs to be considered.
After you decide that a set of tests must be automated, move to complete the automation as quickly as possible because the benefits of automation include managing the stability of the code. The stability and number of defects that are found as the automation is written will affect the effort that is required to complete the automation. Ultimately, the balance between manual versus automated tests is about the prioritization of the kinds of tests that need to be built and run during the life of the project.

4.3.6.3.                  What types of tests are automated?

4.3.6.3.1.             Unit Tests
Unit tests verify functionality in code or through a process such as TDD. Unit tests are important because they help maintain the stability and dependencies inside the code. TDD also tends to produce better design with dependencies and good layer definition because it helps you understand the design from the code consumer’s perspective.
4.3.6.3.2.             Load Tests
You can create load tests that are based on existing automated test cases, or you can create tests that generate specific types of loads on applications or services. For more information about how to use test agent controllers and test agents to generate simulated testing loads, see How to: Run a Test Using Test Controllers and Test Agents.
For more information about load testing with Visual Studio ALM, see the following page on the Microsoft Web site: Understanding Load Tests.
4.3.6.3.3.             Continuous Integration Tests
You can use continuous integration with Visual Studio ALM to help ensure that whenever code is developed and checked in, it works correctly with the existing code. Continuous integration is critical as your team and your code base grows. You can define a build type that includes testing parameters and specify which tests to run after completing the build. For more information about how to define a build that runs tests, see Define a Build Using the Default Template.

4.3.6.4.                  What types of tests can be automated?

4.3.6.4.1.             Configuration Testing
Testing on multiple installed environments can be a very laborious task. Microsoft Test Manager provides capabilities of running test suites on different configurations by using virtual machines or physical machines. For more information about how to run tests and gather data in multiple environments, see Setting Up Test Machines to Run Tests or Collect Data.
4.3.6.4.2.             User Interface Tests
Visual Studio ALM has capabilities of creating automated tests directly for the user interface. For more information about how to create coded user interface tests, see How to: Create a Coded UI Test.
4.3.6.4.3.             Installation Tests
You can use the lab capabilities of Microsoft Test Manager to set up a group of configurations that you can use to verify whether the installation programs for your applications work as expected.

4.3.6.5.                  What are the barriers to automation?

4.3.6.5.1.             Capabilities of the team
Creating automation requires a subset of the test team to learn how to write code. Plan to incur the learning curve of creating automation and the design of the test code. Similar to production code, design the automation code for your desired goals, such as maintainability, ease of composition, and longevity.
For more information about how to create automated tests by using Visual Studio Test Professional 2010, see Creating Automated Tests.
4.3.6.5.2.             Code churn
Code that is changing frequently is a moving target and will have cascading effects into test automation code because it will also need to be changed. Avoid these cascading effects by creating test automation code for components and interfaces that are less likely to change.
4.3.6.5.3.             Code design
Code frameworks such as ASP.NET MVC and MVVM guide team members to write code that has the isolation that is required to verify different parts of the code. Code that is tightly bound to the user interface is difficult to test because it may require the user to interact with the user interface controls.

4.3.6.6.                  What are the benefits of manual test cases?

Manual test cases offer the following benefits:
·         Manual tests help your team find bugs through the process of exploration.
·         Manual test cases are easy to define because you can define the set of steps at any abstraction and define success and failure in any terms that you like.
·         It is very easy to get started writing manual test cases early in the project before any code has been written. This is important during the process of defining acceptance tests.
·         If you use Visual Studio Test Professional 2010, test cases can be composed of shared steps, which help save time when defining similar tests and allow your team to reuse a single version of a subset of the test. Using shared steps also helps when changing test cases because a change to the shared steps automatically changes all the test cases that use the shared steps. For more information about how to create and use shared steps, see How to: Share Common Test Case Steps Using Shared Steps
·         Manual test cases can serve as a means of early communication in the project or sprint.
·         Manual test cases can serve as a means of documenting an automated test case without anyone reviewing the code.
·         If you use Visual Studio ALM, running manual tests can gather code coverage metrics.

4.3.6.7.                  What are the deficits of manual test cases?

Manual test cases carry the following deficits:
·         Defining success criteria can be complicated because it depends on the perspective and the language that is used in the definition of the test. Some language can be interpreted differently, and that may leave room for error.
·         Running test suites that include manual test cases requires a person to physically follow the test steps and report results. This process can consume of a lot of time and, therefore, may require either an increased number of team members to execute tests or an increased period of time for running the test suite. By using Visual Studio Test Professional 2010, the team can use "fast forward manual testing," in which actions are recorded during testing, which can then be run in future test runs.
·         Depending on the stability of the code, the time and effort that is required to run the tests will vary. As a result, running manual tests can affect flow in the team.
·         The biggest deficit is that manual tests are prone to human error in detecting a bug. Testers may see the bug in front of their eyes and not recognize it.

4.3.6.8.                  What are the benefits of automated test cases?

Automated test cases offer the following benefits:
·         Automated tests help maintain stability and help find regressions that might occur because of code changes.
·         Automated tests can be run unattended.
·         Automated tests are software and can be designed and composed of other reusable code. This makes automated tests flexible and maintainable.
·         Automation can be run on multiple configurations by using Microsoft Test Manager.
·         Code coverage metrics can be gathered when automated tests are run.

4.3.6.9.                  What are the deficits of automated test cases?

Automated test cases carry the following deficits:
·         Special conditions need to be considered and implemented using code. As the automation is created and run, additional conditions will be implemented as they are discovered.
·         When code is changed or refactored, there may be cascading effects that will require a corresponding effort to change the affected automated tests.
·         There may be psychological impact on your team when code changes cause many tests to fail. If these tests are used as flags, the team may not want to raise any flags.
·         There may be a false sense of security when all tests pass if the test cases are not testing for the correct conditions. It is important to maintain the test suites and ensure that they verify the correct conditions and results.

4.3.7.   Reporting the Test Results

From an agile perspective, reporting and querying Team Foundation Server for the current state of quality, based on bugs or aggregate metrics, is the part of the feedback loop that allows the team to iterate and make changes to the code, the project plan, and the test plan. For more information, see Test Plan Progress Report.

4.3.7.1.                  What levels of testing should be reported to your team?

By using Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 and Team Foundation Server, your team can understand the status of planning and executing tests. Team Foundation Server stores your test plans, test suites, test cases, test results, and all other associated data that is generated throughout your testing process. You can visualize the process of testing and quality control if you combine Microsoft Test Manager with reporting and work item queries in Team Foundation Server. You can use Microsoft Test Manager to query for bugs in a variety of different states. Bugs that are marked as fixed by other team members should be in the resolved state. You can use subsequent builds to verify the fixed bugs. For information about how to verify whether a bug has been fixed, see How to: Verify a Bug is Fixed Using Microsoft Test Manager.

4.4.         Use Models in Agile Development

Your team can create models to help define and implement user stories and tests by using Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. A model is a view of a chosen aspect of your application, such as the sequence of interactions between components or the business activities of the users.
You team can develop models throughout the project when it must understand its user stories and its code more deeply. For example, a team might develop an activity diagram for a user story that has complex user interactions before estimating the task.

4.4.1.   Updating Existing Applications

If your team is updating an existing application, one of its first tasks is to learn the code. To be able to estimate the work that your team will do, it must identify the parts of the code where changes are required, and then determine how far the consequences of the changes will propagate.
Your team can help make sure that the changes that it makes have no negative effects by creating and running unit and system tests. If these tests do not already exist, your team must create them. However, creating an exhaustive set of unit and system tests for an existing application is not required. By understanding the existing structure of the code and the changes that you expect to make, your team can focus on creating the tests that you require to make sure that those changes do not adversely affect the application.
The following actions and tools are recommended when you must update existing code:
  • Understand the existing structure. Use Architecture Explorer, directed graphs, and generated sequence diagrams to find the major components and their dependencies. For more information, see Exploring Existing Code.
  • Understand the existing behavior and the changes that are required. Your team should understand the existing behavior when it discusses the new stories in detail. Tag existing stories "as-is," and new stories "to-be." Use those tags as part of file, folder, and model names.
You can use models to help clarify the user stories. For more information, see Modeling User Stories.
  • Stabilize the behavior with tests. Add automated or manual tests to achieve the following:
    • Help you understand the existing behavior of the product.
    • Highlight those aspects of the behavior of the product that will be changed.
    • Make sure that your changes do not break existing functions.
For more information, see Test Early and Often.
  • Stabilize the architecture with layer diagrams. Create layer diagrams to achieve the following:
    • Help understand the structure of the existing code.
    • Highlight areas for change in the existing code.
    • Make sure that your changes do not unintentionally contravene the existing architecture by introducing unintended dependencies or by putting functions in inappropriate locations.
  • Write the required changes as stories, estimate the costs of the stories, and arrange them into a product backlog. When you estimate cost, you will naturally consider the fact that you are updating existing code. Each estimate should include the time that will be taken to understand the existing design and to write automated tests.
For more information, see Creating a Great Product Backlog.

4.4.2.   Modeling User Stories

Your team can create models that help it understand the user stories that it is about to estimate or develop. Your team can also use models in ongoing discussions with your product owner that occur during development, if the questions are adequately complex.
For example, your project may involve a set of concepts that are new to your team. By working with your product owner, your team can develop a domain class diagram to capture these concepts and the relationships between them. If your team must understand the major sequences in a user activity, it can create an activity diagram.
For more information, see Modeling User Requirements.

4.4.2.1.                  The Domain Model: The Users' Language

4.4.2.1.1.             Domain class diagrams
A domain class diagram shows the concepts and relationships that are associated with the application. Everyone who is associated with the application can then use those concepts to achieve more consistent understanding.
Rule in Comment attached to Order class.
The example in the previous illustration is not directly a class diagram of the software solution, which might represent these relationships in several different ways. Instead, it presents a vocabulary with which you can write the user stories:
The customer chooses a Menu from which to construct an Order, and then the customer creates Order Items in the Order by selecting Menu Items from the Menu.
Because it is a model of concepts instead of objects in a program, you ordinarily do not assign operations to the classes when the diagram is used for this purpose. Instead, you can use activity diagrams to describe the actions that the users perform.
For more information see UML Class Diagrams: Guidelines.
4.4.2.1.2.             Activity diagrams
Your team can explain the flow of activities that a user can perform and show the alternative courses of action at each point by using activity diagrams.
Activity with three actions and a loop.
When your team creates tests, it can refer to activity diagrams and create a test for each path through the activity diagram.
A user story might introduce a path in an existing activity diagram. For example, a user story might be "As a customer, I can choose to save an order for later instead of paying for it now." When the story is taken into a sprint to be developed, the activity diagram can be updated to express the new feature.
The activity diagram can describe a complete set of paths that the user can follow by using a particular release of your application, if you update the diagram to reflect all user stories that your team has implemented.
For more information, see UML Activity Diagrams: Guidelines.
4.4.2.1.3.             Using the model to uncover gaps
Your team can better understand the requirements of your users by avoiding misunderstandings that occur in conversations that are not supported by a diagram. For example, a diagram would clearly distinguish between an item on an order and an item on a menu.
Creating the model helps your team ask questions that it might not otherwise ask until much later in development. Some techniques include the following:
·         Asking about the cardinalities on a class diagram (for example, "Can a menu item appear on more than one menu?").
·         Asking about loops in the class diagram (for example, "In any order, are all items from the same menu?").
The answers to these types of question can be added as comments on the diagram.
4.4.2.1.4.             Model consistency
Your team can resolve ambiguities by making sure that the model and user stories are consistent:
·         The user stories use the terms that are defined in the model and are consistent with the relations that it defines. If the model defines menu items, the stories should not use the term "products" to mean the same thing. If the class diagram shows that a menu item belongs to exactly one menu, the stories should not refer to sharing an item between menus.
·         Every user story describes a series of steps that is allowed by the activity diagrams.
·         User stories or activities describe how each class and relationship on the class diagram is created and destroyed. For example, what user story creates a menu item? When is an order destroyed?

4.4.2.2.                  Models and the Product Backlog

Your team can mark models and storyboards to show what parts will be changed by each user story and can color or comment on a model to help you plan the development. For example, your team could color the actions in an activity diagram to indicate which ones have been completed and which will be completed in the next sprint.
For more information, see Modeling User Requirements.

4.4.2.3.                  Models and Tests

Your team can use a domain model as a basis for system tests, which makes a clear relationship between the tests and the requirements of the users. This relationship helps your team update the tests quickly and correctly and helps make sure that the product meets the new requirements.
Your team can link any element in a Unified Modeling Language (UML) model to any work item, such as a test. When any part of the model changes, the model will help your team locate the tests to which it is related.
Use the domain model to help you create tests:
·         Create at least one test that involves the construction of each type or association, such as menu item or order item, and at least one test that involves its destruction.
·         Make sure that all paths that are described by activity diagrams are tested.
NoteNote
The tests should also cover exceptional paths that you would not ordinarily illustrate in activity diagrams.
·         Use the vocabulary of the domain model to define the tests. For example, your tests would include a test of the Select Menu Item action, which would verify that the action results in the Order containing a new Order Item. To write automated tests, you can use classes and relationships that are based directly on the diagram.
For more information, see Developing Tests from a Model.

4.4.3.   Stabilizing the Application Structure by Using Layer Diagrams

When a team develops code in small increments, it changes and extends the code frequently. These changes can lead to increasingly complex dependencies, which make the code more difficult to change over time. Your team can use layer diagrams to design and validate the dependencies between components in your application to help prevent this problem.
Using a layer diagram, your team can view the major parts of the application and the dependencies between them, without the details of how the parts work and how they interact.
Your team can also use layer diagrams to make sure that the code conforms to the architecture. When you draw a layer diagram in Visual Studio, you can assign groups of classes from your code to each layer and specify the dependencies by using arrows. You can then use Visual Studio to validate that the dependencies in the code actually follow the arrows you have drawn in the layer diagram.
Your team can make sure that future changes always comply with the architecture by defining a check-in policy to validate the layer diagram and by using it in the continuous builds of your team.

4.4.3.1.                  Introduce layer validation

Your team can start to use layer validation by following the procedures outlined in this section.
4.4.3.1.1.             To use layer validation when you are writing new code
1.      Near the time when you first write code for the application, draw a layer diagram to represent the major components and their dependencies. You will probably change the diagram during the project as the application develops.
For more information, see Layer Diagrams: Reference.
2.      As you create namespaces or classes, assign them to layers.
3.      Before you check in code, right-click the layer diagram and then click Validate Architecture.
4.      Add layer validation to the check-in and regular build procedures.
4.4.3.1.2.             To introduce layer validation when you update an existing application
1.      Use Architecture Explorer and directed graphs to explore the application to gain some understanding of its structure. The following steps will help you improve your understanding.
2.      Describe the major components and dependencies should be. For more information, see How to: Create Layer Diagrams from Artifacts.
3.      Assign elements to layers by dragging them from Architecture Explorer or Solution Explorer.
4.      Right-click the layer diagram, and then click Validate Architecture.
5.      Inspect any error reports, and fix any errors by using the following approaches:
o    Fix the layer diagram. Improve the layer diagram to represent the existing code more accurately, or reassign code elements to different layers.
o    Fix the code. If you feel that your layer diagram represents a better design than the existing code, you might want to update the code so that it matches your layer diagram.
For more information, see Refactoring existing code to conform to your layer diagram later in this topic.
6.      Repeat the previous steps until no errors are reported.
7.      Add layer validation to the check-in and regular build procedures.
4.4.3.1.3.             Refactor existing code to conform to your layer diagram
When your team starts to work on an existing application, it might find that the structure of the application is more complex than it has to be. You will notice this situation when you try to draw a layer diagram and assign elements to the layers. Your team might not be able to assign elements to layers in a way that can be validated without introducing layers and dependencies that are logically unnecessary or by introducing dependencies that skip layers or form loops. Shortcomings such as these make the code difficult to understand and change and can make its behavior seem inconsistent to users.
Your team can make the code easier to work on by refactoring it to improve its design. When your team decides to refactor the code to improve the design, consider the following points:
·         Keep the refactoring changes separate from other changes. A refactoring change should involve no important change in the user stories.
·         Add each proposed change to the product backlog, and include a description of the change and the expected benefit.
NoteNote
Refactoring changes that require only hours to implement and test can be handled as bugs. Larger refactoring changes should be added to the product backlog and estimated and prioritized together with other items in the backlog.
·         Before you refactor, write tests that make sure that the functionality of the area that you are working on has not changed.

4.4.3.2.                  Updating the layer model

After the first one or two sprints, the layer diagrams should remain stable. Usually, a layer validation error should be considered an error in the code instead of an error in the layer model.
When you must update the layer model, review the proposed change with your team.
Most changes to the layer model fall into the following categories:
·         Extension. You are adding more components to the code and want to add layers to comply with them.
·         Refinement. Many code elements are currently assigned to a single layer. You want to improve the effectiveness of layer validation by separating the single layer into smaller layers.
·         Refactoring. You want to improve the dependency structures of the existing code. The existing structures are reflected in the current layer diagrams. You therefore want to improve the layer diagram and the code at the same time.

4.4.3.3.                  Related topics

How to draw layer diagrams.
What to represent with layers, and how to use the diagrams.
Create layer diagrams that reflect the structure of the existing code.
Make layer validation part of the check-in and continuous build.

4.4.4.   Generating Code

Your team can respond very quickly and reliably to changes in user requirements by generating code from your models. If your team develops a line of similar products or relies on frequently used patterns, generating code is especially effective.
Your team can generate program code, schemas, documents, resources, and other artifacts of any kind. Your team can write text templates that interrogate the model using the Unified Modeling Language (UML) API. For more information, see How to: Generate Files from a UML Model.
In most cases, your team will not generate all of its code from models. By using techniques such as partial classes, your team can keep the generated code separate from hand-written code. Never edit generated code. Instead, update the model, which will, in turn, update the code.
Code generation is helpful in the following situations:
  • Product Lines. Fabrikam, Inc. builds and installs baggage handling systems for airports. Much of the software is very similar between one installation and the next, but the software configuration depends on what bag-handling machinery is installed and how these parts are interconnected by conveyor belts. At the start of a contract, Fabrikam's team discusses the requirements with the airport management and capture the conveyor-belt plan by using a UML activity diagram. From this model, the team generates configuration files, program code, and user guides. They complete the work by making manual additions and adjustments to the code. As they gain experience from one job to the next, they extend the scope of the generated material.
  • Patterns. The developers in Contoso, Ltd often build Web sites. They design the navigation scheme with UML class diagrams, using classes and associations to represent Web pages and navigation links. Much of the Web site code can be generated. Each Web page corresponds to several classes and resource file entries that conform to a uniform pattern. The result is more reliable and flexible than hand-written code.
  • Schemas. Humongous Insurance has thousands of systems worldwide. These systems use different databases, languages, and interfaces. The central architecture team publishes internal models of business concepts and processes. The diagrams make it easy to discuss the designs. From these models, local teams can generate parts of their database and XML schemas, C# declarations, and other elements.

4.4.4.1.                  Custom modeling languages

In the previous examples, each company has a very specialized use for its models. Although you can represent a baggage track by using an activity diagram, a formal baggage-track notation would be much better. Visual Studio supports the following approaches:
  • Customize a UML diagram with stereotypes. Stereotypes allow you to differentiate different types of elements (for example, to distinguish passenger check-in desks from X-ray stations) and record additional attribute values in each element. For more information, see How to: Define a Profile to Extend UML.
  • Design your own domain-specific language (DSL). If you do lots of work in the target domain, the additional effort might well be worth the more specific adaptation to your needs. For more information, see Visualization and Modeling SDK - Domain-Specific Languages.
Your team can create menu commands, validation tests, and toolbox items for both of these types of models by using the Visual Studio SDK. You can also build Visual Studio extensions that can integrate diagrams and couple them to external resources such as databases.

4.4.5.   Modeling Your Design

If your team works with other teams on a large project, problems that occur when the teams integrate code can be costly to fix. Your team can help prevent these problems by using models to understand the interfaces of each component and how they fit together before your team starts coding.

4.4.5.1.                  The Components of Your Application

Component diagrams show how an application or component is made up of parts wired together. Each part's type is a smaller component. A component can be anything from an individual object to a substantial system, and the connectors between them can represent method calls, event signals, web service calls, and so on.
At the surface of a component are its provided and required interfaces. Provided interfaces are those that other components can use. Required interfaces are those for which the component depends on other components.
UML component diagram showing parts
Required interfaces allow you to represent a component that is separable from both the components that use it and the components that it uses. A clear understanding of this separation is important for the team to be able to test the component in isolation, using mock objects to plug into the required interfaces.
The explicit depiction of required interfaces often leads to more cleanly separated and more flexible designs. The components, when implemented, can readily be recombined with other components to make a variant of the system, leading to greater agility in response to requirements changes.
Models of the components should be no more detailed than is useful at each iteration. For more information, see UML Component Diagrams: Guidelines.

4.4.5.2.                  Interactions between the Parts

Use sequence diagrams to help discuss or explain how a component will work. Represent each port or part of the component by a lifeline. A diagram can show how, when a message is received at one of the parent component's ports, the internal parts interact along the paths of the connectors.
For more information, see UML Sequence Diagrams: Guidelines.

4.4.5.3.                  The Interfaces of the Components

Draw class diagrams to show the types available at the interfaces to the components.
·         Start with each interface and show its methods.
·         Then show the types of the parameters and return values of the interfaces. Draw properties as associations.
·         Where an interface sends XML or other data structures, you might find it useful to draw the structure using a UML class diagram.
These diagrams can be useful in discussions of the component behavior. They also help to separate discussions of the externally visible behavior from the internal implementation.

4.4.5.4.                  Design Patterns

Models are also useful to help describe recurrent patterns. Just as the Observer pattern (for example) is applicable to a wide variety of applications, many projects find configurations of objects that are useful for their particular purposes. You can use class and sequence diagrams to describe the interacting classes.

4.4.5.5.                  See Also

4.4.5.6.                  Concepts

5.                Artifacts

ScrumMasters can run their processes more easily and teams can work more effectively by using the artifacts that are provided with the process template for MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0. These artifacts include work items, reports, workbooks, and dashboards.
Teams can use work items to track information, analyze progress, and make decisions. The team can use built-in and custom reports that are based on the database for tracking work items or the SQL Server Analysis Services database to answer questions such as the following metrics:
·         Are we on track?
·         Is our bug debt growing or shrinking?
·         What is our burn rate?
Teams can use workbooks to help maintain the product backlog, plan an iteration or sprint, and prioritize bugs. Dashboards and reports display critical information and support transparency and real-time metrics. Dashboards help the team visualize project information, which is especially useful for driving an iteration and conducting retrospectives. Dashboards also provide access to many features and functions that team members use every day.
Team members can access artifacts either from the team project node in Team Explorer or the team project portal. 

5.1.         Work Items and Workflow

5.1.1.   Introduction

You can use work items to track, monitor, and report on the development of a product and its features. A work item is a database record that you create in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server to record the definition, assignment, priority, and state of work. The process template for MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 defines six types of work items: user stories, tasks, test cases, shared steps, bugs, and issues.
By defining individual work items and storing them in a common database and metrics warehouse, you can answer questions on project health whenever they come up. Work items, links between work items, and file attachments are all stored in the Team Foundation database for tracking work items, as the following illustration shows.
Conceptual overview of work item 
usage

5.1.1.1.                  Defining User Stories, Tasks, and Other Work Items

You can specify and update information for work items on the work item form. The topics in this section provide details about how you work within each work item form.
Tasks
Related content
Track user stories, product features, or requirements. A team creates user stories to define the features, functions, and requirements to be implemented. A user story describes customer goals at a high level and are fundamental elements of the team's planning effort because they help the team estimate, prioritize, define, schedule, and verify work that relates to each user story.
You can use the Stories Overview and Stories Progress reports to track the status of user stories and team progress.
·         User Story (Agile)
·         Stories Overview Report (Agile)
·         Stories Progress Report (Agile)
Track and estimate work. A team creates tasks to track the level of effort that is required to implement a user story or other areas of work that are identified for the project. Tasks should represent a small unit of work that can be accomplished within one to two days. You can break larger tasks down into smaller subtasks.
You can create a task to track work to develop code, design and run tests, address bugs, and perform regression testing. In addition, you can create tasks to support generic work that must be performed.
By tracking work hours for each task, the team can gain insight into the progress that it has made on the project.
You can use the Remaining Work and Burndown and Burn Rate reports to monitor team progress, identify problems in the flow of work, and determine the team burn rate.
·         Task (Agile)
·         Remaining Work Report
Test the application. A team uses test cases to define tests that will support testing of user stories. You can define manual test cases that specify a sequence of action and validation steps to run, or you can specify automated test cases that reference an automation file.
NoteNote
The recommended client for creating and defining test cases is Microsoft Test Manager. By using this tool, you can also create test suites and test configurations that address the complete range of testing criteria for your project. In test configurations, you specify the software environment under which you want to run your test cases and test suites. For more information, see Testing the Application.
You can use the Test Case Readiness report to determine the progress that the team is making toward defining test cases. You can use the Test Plan Progress report to determine how many tests are passing or failing.
·         Test Case (Agile)
·         Test Case Readiness Report
Define shared steps. A team uses shared steps to streamline definition and maintenance of manual test cases. In shared steps, you define a sequence of action and validation steps to run as part of a test case. Many tests require the same sequence of steps to be performed for multiple test cases. By creating shared steps, you can define a sequence of steps once and insert it into many test cases.
Important noteImportant
The recommended client for creating and defining shared steps is Microsoft Test Manager. You can view these types of work items by using Team Explorer and Team Web Access; however, you cannot use Team Web Access to modify or update certain fields.
·         Shared Steps (Agile)
Open and track bugs. You can track a code defect by creating a bug work item. By creating a bug, you can accurately report the defect in a way that helps other members of the team to understand the full impact of the problem. In the bug, you should describe the steps that led to the unexpected behavior so that others can reproduce it, and the test results should clearly show the problem. The clarity and completeness of this description often affects the probability that the bug will be fixed.
You can use the Triage workbook to rank and assign bugs to be worked on for an iteration or release. You can use the Bug Status report to track the team's progress toward resolving and closing bugs.
·         Bug (Agile)
·         Triage Workbook
·         Bug Status Report
Define and manage risks, issues, and impediments. You can define known or potential problems, impediments, or risks to your project by creating issue work items.
When concrete action is required, an issue might translate into one or more tasks to be performed to mitigate the issue. For example, a technical issue can lead to an architectural prototyping effort. Teams should always encourage its members to identify issues and ensure that they contribute as much information as possible about issues that jeopardize team success. Individuals should be empowered to identify issues without fear of retribution for honestly expressing tentative or controversial views. Teams who create and sustain positive environments for managing issues will identify and address issues earlier, faster, and with less confusion and conflict than teams who sustain negative risk environments.
You can use the Issues workbook to review, rank, and manage issues.
·         Issue (Agile)
·         Issues Workbook

5.1.1.2.                  Creating a User Story, a Task, or Another Type of Work Item

You can create a work item by opening Team Web Access or Team Explorer and following the procedure in this section. After you create a work item, you can always modify and add details as a sprint progresses.

5.1.1.3.                  To create a user story, a task, or another type of work item

1.      Open either Team Web Access or Team Explorer, and connect to the team project collection that contains the team project in which you want to create the work item.
2.      Perform one of the following steps:
o    In Team Web Access, find the quick launch area of the navigation pane, and then click the New Work Item arrow. On the Work Item Types menu, click the type of work item that you want to create. 
o    In Team Explorer, open the Team menu, point to Add Work Item, and click the type of work item.
A work item form opens of the type that you specified.
Bug Work Item Form
3.      Define the remaining fields as the type of work item requires.
For more information, see Defining User Stories, Tasks, or Other Work Itemsearlier in this topic.
4.      On the work item toolbar, click SaveSave Work Item.
NoteNote
After you save the work item, the identifier appears in the title under the work item toolbar.

5.1.1.4.                  Creating Many User Stories, Tasks, or Other Work Items at One Time

You can quickly define multiple tasks that are automatically linked to user stories by using Office Excel. Also, you can quickly define user stories, tasks, issues, and bugs by using the workbooks that are provided with the process template for MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0. For more information, see the following topics:
·         Workbooks (Agile)

5.1.1.5.                  Creating a Work Item that Automatically Links to Another Work Item

You can create a work item that automatically links to an existing user story or other work item. You can perform this action from an open work item or from a list of results for a work item query.
5.1.1.5.1.             To create a work item that is linked to an existing work item
1.      Open either Team Web Access or Team Explorer, and connect to the project collection that contains the team project where you want to define the linked work item.
2.      Right-click the Open Work Items team query, and then click Open.
3.      Perform one of the following actions:
o    In Team Web Access, click the arrow next to the existing work item to which you want to link the new work item, and then click Add New Linked Work Item.
o    In Team Explorer, right-click the existing work item to which you want to link the new work item, and then click Add New Linked Work Item.
The Add new Linked Work Item dialog box opens.
Add a new linked task to an 
issue or bug
4.      Define the following fields:
o    In the Link Type list, click Tests if you are linking the new work item to an existing test case or user story. Click Related if you are linking the new work item to an existing task, issue, or another bug.
o    In the Work Item Type list, click the type of work item that you want to create.
o    In Title, type a descriptive name that indicates the story, task, or other type of work item to be tracked.
o    (Optional) In Comment, type additional information.
5.      Click OK.
A work item form opens with the information that you have provided.
6.      Define the remaining fields as the type of work item requires.
For more information, see Defining User Stories, Tasks, or Other Work Items earlier in this topic.
7.      Click SaveSave Work Item.

5.1.1.6.                  Creating Test Cases and Test Plans By Using Test and Lab Manager

By using Microsoft Test Manager, you can create not only test cases but also test suites and test configurations that support testing your project. You can use test configurations to define the software environment under which you want to run your test cases and test suites.
Test Plans, Test Suites, and Test Configurations

Components of a Test Plan
You can group your test cases together by organizing them into a hierarchy of test suites in your test plan. By creating test suites, you can run sets of test cases as a group. For more information about how to use Microsoft Test Manager to define test cases, test suites, and test plans, see Testing the Application.

5.1.1.7.                  Opening and Tracking Bugs using Test Runner and Test and Lab Manager

By using Microsoft Test Manager, you can submit bugs that automatically contain information about the test case and test environment that you ran, in addition to the specific test step on which you discovered a code defect. Bugs that you create by using Microsoft Test Manager automatically link the bug to the test case that found the bug.
You can create bugs in the following ways:
·         From Microsoft Test Manager when you run a test by using Test Runner, view a test result, or view your bugs
·         From Team Web Access or Team Explorer
·         From Office Excel (useful if you are submitting multiple bugs at the same time)
For information about how to submit, track, and verify bugs and fixes by using Microsoft Test Manager, see the related content in the following table.
Tasks
Related content
Create a bug. When you notice unexpected behavior of the application during ad hoc testing, you can quickly create a bug.
Collect diagnostic data to support debugging. By using Test Runner, you can collect diagnostic trace data on an application that was written with managed code, which a developer can then use with Intellitrace to isolate errors.
Create a recorded action log file and add it to a bug. You can record actions as text in a log file when you run manual tests. You can automatically add this file to any bug that you create as you run your manual test.
Create a test case from a bug and a recorded action log file. You can use an action log to create a manual test case from a bug or a test result. By taking this approach, you can create test cases without having to type in all the steps.
Verify and update the status of a bug based on test results. If you submit a bug that is based on a test case, you can verify that bug directly from the My Bugs list in Microsoft Test Manager. To take this approach, a test result must be associated with that test case. You can quickly rerun the test, change the status of the bug based on the results, and add comments to the bug.

5.1.1.8.                  Viewing Work Items That Are Assigned to You

As a team member, you can quickly find the work items that are assigned to you by either opening the My Work Items team query or by accessing My Dashboard. For more information, see the following topics:
·         Team Queries (Agile)
·         My Dashboard (Agile)

5.1.1.9.                  Customizing Work Item Types and Related Tasks

Tasks
Related content
Learn about the fields that you can use to track information across all types of work items. The database for tracking work items tracks fields that do not appear on the work item forms. You can learn more about these work item fields, restrictions on specific fields, and which fields that are reported and indexed.
·         Work Item Fields (Agile)
Add, remove, or customize how you use each type of work item to track data. You can customize an existing type of work item or create a type to meet your requirements. Each type of work item corresponds to an XML definition file that is imported into a team project.
·         Working with Work Item Types
Customize objects for tracking work items to support your requirements for tracking projects. You can customize data fields, workflow, and work item forms that your team uses to track progress.
To customize an object for tracking work items, you modify an XML file and import it into the server that hosts the project collection.
Add, remove, or modify the states or transitions that control workflow. You control the workflow by defining its initial state, its valid states, the valid transitions between those states, and the users or groups who have permission to perform those transitions. The WORKFLOW section of the work item type controls how a work item is tracked.
Modify and customize the form for a type of work item. You can control how a work item type displays user-interface elements through the FORM section of the definition for the type of work item. Each type of work item must have only one form. You can describe the whole form, which includes all its tabs, fields, and groups.

5.1.1.10.             See Also

Concepts

5.1.2.   User Story

You can learn how to fill in the details of a user story work item in this topic. For information about what user stories are and how they are used in agile processes, see Creating a Great Product Backlog. For information about how to create a work item for a user story, see Work Items and Workflow (Agile).
Required Permissions
To view a user story, you must be a member of the Readers group or your View work items in this node must be set to Allow. To create or modify a user story, you must be a member of the Contributors group or your Edit work items in this node permissions must be set to Allow. For more information, see Managing Permissions.

5.1.2.1.                  Defining a User Story

A user story communicates functionality that is of value to the end user of the product or system. Each user story should simply state what a user wants to do with a feature of the software and describe it from the user's perspective. When you write user stories, you should focus on who the feature is for, what they want to accomplish, and why. You should avoid descriptions that specify how the feature should be developed.
The work item form for a user story stores data in the fields and tabs that the following illustration shows:
Work Item Form for a User 
Story
When you define a user story, you must define the Title in the top section of the work item form. You can leave all other fields blank or accept their default values.
5.1.2.1.1.             To define a user story
1.      In the top section of the work item form for the user story, specify one or more of the following types of information:
o    In Title (Required), type a short description.
Good story titles reflect the value to the customer or functionality that needs to be implemented.
o    In the Assigned To list, click the name of the team member who owns the user story.
NoteNote
You can assign work items only to members of the Contributors group.
o    If you leave the story unassigned, it is automatically assigned to you.
o    In the Rank box, type a number that indicates the relative importance of the story compared to the other stories in the product backlog.
o    In the Story Points box, type a number that specifies a subjective rating for the amount of work that will be required to complete a user story.
If you specify more points, you indicate that more work will be required.
o    In the Priority list, click the level of importance for the user story on a scale of 1 (most important) to 4 (least important).
o    In the Area and Iteration lists, click the appropriate area and iteration or leave these fields blank to be assigned later during a planning meeting.
NoteNote
The project administrator for each team project defines area and iteration paths for that project so that the team can track progress by those designations. For more information, see Create and Modify Area or Iteration Paths.
2.      On the Details tab, specify the one or more of the following types of information:
o    In the Description with Acceptance Criteria box, provide as much detail as you want to describe not only the user story but also the criteria that you will use to verify whether the user story has been fulfilled.
Your team will use this information to create work items for tasks and test cases. For more information, see Task (Agile) and Test Case (Agile).
o    In the History box, add comments that you want to capture as part of the historical record.
Every time that a team member updates the work item, its history shows the date of the change, the team member who made the change, and the fields that changed.
3.      Link the user story to other work items, such as tasks, test cases, bugs, and issues.
For more information, see the following sections later in this topic:
4.      Click SaveSave Work Item.
NoteNote
After you save the user story, the identifier appears in the title under the work item toolbar.

5.1.2.2.                  Adding and Linking Tasks to a User Story

You add tasks to a user story to track the progress of work that has occurred to complete the user story.
NoteNote
The Stories Overview and Stories Progress reports require that you create links between user stories and tasks and between user stories and test cases. For more information, see Stories Overview Report (Agile) and Stories Progress Report (Agile).
5.1.2.2.1.             To create a task that is linked to a user story
1.      On the Implementation tab, click Add New Linked Work ItemNew.
The Add new Linked Work Item dialog box opens.
Add new linked work item to user story
2.      In the Link Type list, leave the default option, Child.
3.      In the Work Item Type list, click Task.
4.      In Title, type a name that identifies the area of work to be performed as specifically as possible.
5.      (Optional) In Comment, type additional information.
6.      Click OK.
A work item form for a task opens with the information that you have provided.
7.      Specify the remaining fields as described in Task (Agile), and then click SaveSave Work Item.
5.1.2.2.2.             To link several existing tasks to a user story
1.      On the Implementation tab, click Add LinksLink to.
The Add Link to User Story dialog box opens.
2.      In the Link Type list, leave the default option, Child.
3.      Click Browse.
The Choose Linked Work Items dialog box appears.
Link task to user story dialog box
4.      Type the items in Work item IDs, or browse for the items to which you want to link. You can also run the My Tasks team query to locate the tasks to which you want to link. Select the check box next to each task that you want to link to the user story. For more information, see Find Work Items to Link or Import.
5.      (Optional) Type a description for the tasks to which you are linking.
6.      Click OK, and then click SaveSave Work Item.
NoteNote
Both the user story and tasks that you linked are updated. A parent link to the user story is created for each task that you added.

5.1.2.3.                  Adding and Linking Test Cases to a User Story

As part of planning, you create test cases and link them to user stories. The recommended client for creating test suites and test cases is Microsoft Test Manager. From this client, you can also link to a user story as described in How to: View Requirements or User Stories Using Microsoft Test Manager.
5.1.2.3.1.             To add a new test case to a user story
1.      On the Test Cases tab, click Add New Linked Work ItemNew.
The Add new Linked Work Item dialog box opens.
2.      In the Link Type list, leave the default option, Tested By.
3.      In the Work Item Type list, leave the default option, Test Case.
4.      In Title, type a descriptive name that defines the area to be tested.
5.      (Optional) In Comment, type additional information.
6.      Click OK.
A work item form for a test case opens with the information that you have provided.
7.      Specify the remaining fields as described in Test Case (Agile), and then click SaveSave Work Item.
5.1.2.3.2.             To add existing test cases to a user story
1.      On the Test Cases tab, click Add LinksLink to.
The Add Link to User Story dialog box opens.
2.      In the Link Type list, leave the default option. Tested By.
3.      In Work item IDs, type the IDs of the test cases that you want to link, or browse for them.
You can run the My Test Cases team query to locate the test cases that you want to add, and then select the check box next to each test case to which you want to link. For more information, see Find Work Items to Link or Import.
4.      (Optional) Type a description for the test cases to which you are linking.
5.      Click OK, and click SaveSave Work Item.
NoteNote
Both the user story and test cases to which you linked are updated. A Tests link to the user story is created for each test case that you added.

5.1.2.4.                  Add a Bug to a User Story

You can create a bug and link it to an open user story from the Test Cases tab. Bugs that are added by using the link type Tests are tracked as part of the bugs that have an impact on the user story.
5.1.2.4.1.             To create a bug and link it to a user story
1.      On the Test Cases tab, click Add New Linked Work ItemNew.
The Add new Linked Work Item dialog box opens.
2.      In the Link Type list, leave the default options, Tested By.
3.      In the Work Item Type list, leave the default option, Test Case.
4.      In Title, type a descriptive name that defines the bug that you found.
5.      (Optional) In Comment, type additional information.
6.      Click OK.
A work item form for a bug opens with the information that you have provided.
7.      Specify the remaining fields as described in Bug (Agile), and then click SaveSave Work Item.

5.1.2.5.                  Adding an Issue to a User Story

You can create a work item for an issue and link it to the user story from the All Links tab. By defining the issue and linking it to the user story, you can better track the quality and completion of the user story.
5.1.2.5.1.             To create an issue and link it to a user story
1.      On the All Links tab, click Add New Linked Work ItemNew.
The Add new Linked Work Item dialog box opens.
2.      In the Link Type list, click Related.
3.      In the Work Item Type list, click Issue.
4.      In Title, type a name that identifies the blocking issue as specifically as possible.
5.      (Optional) In Comment, type additional information.
6.      Click OK.
A work item form for an issue opens with the information that you have provided.
7.      Define the remaining fields as described in Issue (Agile), and then click SaveSave Work Item.

5.1.2.6.                  Adding Details, Files, and Hyperlinks to User Stories

You can add details to user stories in the following ways:
·         Type information in the Description or History field.
·         Attach a file.
For example, you can attach an e-mail thread, a document, an image, a log file, or another type of file.
·         Add a hyperlink to Web site or to a file that is stored on a server or a Web site.
5.1.2.6.1.             To add details to a user story
1.      On the Details tab, type information in the Description field.
2.      (Optional) Type information in the History field.
You can format information to provide emphasis or capture a bulleted list. For more information, see Titles, IDs, Descriptions, and History (Agile).
3.      Click SaveSave Work Item.
5.1.2.6.2.             To add an attachment to a user story
1.      On the Attachments tab, perform one of the following actions:
o    Drag a file into the attachment area.
o    Click Pasteor press CTRL-V to paste a file that you have copied.
o    Click Add AttachmentAdd, and then click Browse. In the Attachment dialog box, type or browse to the name of the file that you want to attach.
(Optional) In the Comment box, type more information about the attachment. To return to the Attachments tab, click OK.
2.      Click SaveSave Work Item.
5.1.2.6.3.             To add a hyperlink to a user story
1.      On the All Links tab, click Add LinksLink to.
Add hyperlink to a user story
2.      In the Link Type list, click Hyperlink.
3.      In the Address box, type the address of the target of the link.
4.      If the target is a Web site, type the URL, or copy it from your Internet browser and paste the URL into the Address box. If the target is a server location, type the address in the form of a UNC name.
5.      (Optional) In the Comment box, type more information about the hyperlink.
6.      Click OK, and then click SaveSave Work Item.

5.1.2.7.                  Resolving and Closing a User Story

You can use the Active, Resolved, and Closed states to track the progress of user stories. When you have written the code to implement a user story and all unit tests have passed, you change the State of the user story to Resolved. After all tasks are completed and the user story passed all acceptance tests, you change its State to Closed. Any team member can change the state of a user story.
For more information about the data fields that you can use to track work item states, see Assignments and Workflow (Agile).
5.1.2.7.1.             To resolve or close an active user story
1.      Open the user story.
2.      In the State list, click Resolved or Closed.
o    If you change the state from Active to Resolved, the Reason field automatically changes to Code complete and unit tests pass.
o    If you change the state from Resolved to Closed, the Reason field changes to Acceptance tests pass.
o    If you change the state from Active to Closed, you should click the Reason that matches your intent, as Active to Closedlater in this topic.
3.      Click SaveSave Work Item.
Typical workflow progression:
·         A customer representative creates a user story in the Active state with the default reason, New.
·         A team member changes the state of the user story from Active to Resolved when it is code complete and unit tests have passed
·         A team member changes the state from Resolved to Closed when the test cases that were defined for the user story have passed
Atypical transitions:
·         A customer representative determines that the user story is not relevant or out of scope and changes the state from Active to Closed
·         An acceptance test for the user story fails. Therefore, a team member changes the state from Resolved to Active
·         A customer representative determines that the user story was closed in error or is now in scope and changes the state from Closed to Active
User Story State Diagram
User Story 
state diagram
5.1.2.7.2.             Active (New)
The following data fields are automatically captured when a team member creates a user story:
·         Created By: Name of the team member who created the work item.
·         Created Date: Date and time when the work item was created, as recorded by the server clock.
5.1.2.7.3.             From Active to Resolved
You can resolve an active user story for the following reason:
Reason
When to use
Additional actions to take
Code complete and unit tests pass
When the code to implement a user story is checked in and all unit tests have passed.
Assign the user story to the team member who will test it.
The following data fields are captured when a team member resolves an active user story:
·         Resolved By: Name of the team member who resolved the work item.
·         Resolved Date: Date and time when the work item was resolved, as recorded by the server clock.
·         State Change Date: Date and time when the state of the work item was changed.
5.1.2.7.4.             From Active to Closed
You can close an active user story because of one of the following reasons:
Reason
When to use
Additional actions to take
Rejected (default)
You determine that the user story represents a feature or requirement that does not support a business requirement, scenario, or value proposition.
None.
Abandoned
The user story is no longer considered necessary to implement.
None.
Out of Scope
The team has insufficient resources to implement the user story for the current iteration.
A user story might be identified as out of scope because the team has insufficient time or because blocking issues were discovered.
Update the Iteration field to specify in which iteration the scenario will be implemented. If the scenario is deferred to the next release of the software, leave the Iteration field blank, but describe in detail why the scenario was deferred and when it should be implemented.
The following data fields are captured when you close an active user story:
·         Closed By: Name of the team member who closed the work item.
·         Closed Date: Date and time when the work item was closed, as recorded by the server clock.
·         State Change Date: Date and time when the state of the work item was changed.
5.1.2.7.5.             Resolved
When a user story is implemented in code, the lead developer sets the state to Resolved and assigns the story to a tester so that testing can start.
5.1.2.7.6.             From Resolved to Closed
You can close a resolved user story for the following reason:
Reason
When to use
Additional actions to take
Acceptance tests pass
All test cases that are associated with the user story have passed.
Assign the user story to the product owner.
The following data fields are automatically captured when a team member closes a resolved user story:
·         Closed By: Name of the team member who closed the work item.
·         Closed Date: Date and time when the work item was closed, as recorded by the server clock.
·         State Change Date: Date and time when the state of the work item was changed.
5.1.2.7.7.             From Resolved to Active
You can reactivate a resolved user story for the following reason:
Reason
When to use
Additional actions to take
Acceptance tests fail
When at least one of the user story's tests failed.
Assign the user story to the lead developer. Also, the tester should create bugs for the test failures.
The following data is automatically captured when you reactivate a resolved user story:
·         Activated By: Name of the team member who reactivated the work item.
·         Activated Date: Date and time when the work item was reactivated, as recorded by the server clock.
·         State Change Date: Date and time when the state of the work item was changed.
5.1.2.7.8.             Closed
A closed user story can be reactivated if it comes back into scope. Usually a business analyst or program manager reactivates a closed user story.
5.1.2.7.9.             From Closed to Active
You can reactivate a closed user story for the following reasons:
Reason
When to use
Additional actions to take
Reintroduced in Scope
Resources are available to implement the user story.
Make sure that the implementation tasks, test cases, and details that have been defined for the user story are complete and up to date.
Closed in error
A user story was closed before all associated tasks, test cases, or bugs were closed.
Make sure that the implementation tasks, test cases, and details for the user story are well defined and sufficient to support its development.
The following data is automatically captured when you reactivate a closed user story:
·         Activated By: Name of the team member who reactivated the work item.
·         Activated Date: Date and time when the work item was reactivated, as recorded by the server clock.
·         State Change Date: Date and time when the state of the work item was changed.

5.1.3.   Task

You can learn how to fill in the details of a task work item in this topic. For information about what tasks are and how they are used in agile processes, see Product Backlog. For information about how to create a task work item, see Work Items and Workflow (Agile).
More goes here….

5.1.4.   Test Case

A team uses test cases to define both manual and automated tests that can be run and managed by using Microsoft Test Manager. By using Microsoft Test Manager, you can create not only test cases but also test suites and test configurations that support testing your project. You can use test configurations to define how you want to run your test cases and test suites. You can group your test cases together by organizing them into a hierarchy of test suites in your test plan. By creating test suites, you can run sets of test cases as a group. For more information, see Defining Your Testing Effort Using Test Plans.
NoteNote
You can define a test case by using Team Explorer, but it is best if you define test cases by using Microsoft Test Manager. You can access Microsoft Test Manager from Visual Studio Test Professional 2010, Visual Studio 2010 Professional, or Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. For more information, see Creating and Managing Tests.
To define the sequence of action steps that define a manual test or a set of shared steps, you must use Microsoft Test Manager. You can view and modify other fields that are defined for test cases and shared steps by using Team Explorer or Team Web Access. However, you cannot modify the fields that appear on the Steps tab in these clients.
If you upgraded a team project, you may need to perform additional tasks before you can use test cases and interface with Microsoft Test Manager. For more information, see Enabling Interfacing with Microsoft Test Manager for Upgraded Team Projects.
Many tests require the tester to perform the same sequence of steps for multiple test cases. By creating shared steps, you can define a sequence of steps once and insert it into many test cases. For example, if each test case requires a tester to log on to the application, you can create a set of shared steps to perform these actions. You can then add the shared steps to each test case and run the steps by using Test Runner. Because you use shared steps only to streamline the definition of manual test cases, you should use Microsoft Test Manager to create shared steps. For more information, see How to: Share Common Test Case Steps Using Shared Steps.
More goes here….

5.1.5.   Shared Steps

Your team can use shared steps to streamline definition and maintenance of manual test cases. Many tests require the same sequence of steps to be performed for multiple test cases. By creating shared steps, you can define a sequence of steps once and insert it into many test cases. For example, if each test case requires a tester to log on to the application, you can create a set of shared steps to perform these actions. You can then add the shared steps to each test case and run the steps using Test Runner.
NoteNote
You can define a test case by using Team Explorer, but it is best if you define test cases by using Microsoft Test Manager. You can access Microsoft Test Manager from Visual Studio Test Professional 2010, Visual Studio 2010 Professional, or Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. For more information, see Creating and Managing Tests.
To specify the sequence of action steps that define a set of shared steps, you must use Microsoft Test Manager. You can view and modify other fields that are defined for test cases and shared steps by using Team Explorer or Team Web Access. However, you cannot modify the fields that appear on the Steps tab in these clients.
Because you define shared steps only to streamline the definition of manual test cases, it is best that you define shared steps by using Microsoft Test Manager. For more information about how to define and use shared steps, see the topics that are listed in the following table.
More goes here….

5.1.6.   Bug

More goes here….

5.1.7.   Issue

More goes here….

5.1.8.   Work Item Fields

5.1.8.1.                  Introduction

You use work item fields to track data for a work item type, to define the filter criteria for queries, and to generate reports. Work item types that are defined for the process template for MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 share many work item fields.
Not all fields that are tracked in the database for tracking work items appear on any work item form. You can review the information in this topic to learn more about the work item fields that are used to track information, the restrictions for specific fields, and the fields that are reported and indexed. If you want to customize a work item type, you can review the information for each data field that is already defined for that type.
Also, you can learn more about the toolbar controls that appear on the links and attachment tabs on the work item forms.
5.1.8.1.1.             Common Tasks
Tasks
Related content
Identify additional fields that you can use to track workflow changes. You use status and assignment fields to track the progress of work items from the active to the closed state. In addition to the fields that appear on the work item form, you can use 10 more fields to track status changes.
Work with tree path reference fields. You use the area and iteration classification fields to categorize work items into product areas and iteration or sprint cycles.
·         Areas and Iterations
Define rank, priority, and other planning fields. You use planning, ranking, and priority fields to plan what work should be completed first.
Work with task scheduling fields. You use the task scheduling fields to track estimated, completed, and remaining work for a task. In addition to the fields that you can track on the task work item form, you can use three additional fields that support integration with Office Project.
Use description and history fields. You use the title and ID fields to uniquely identify work items within a list. You use the description and history fields to provide additional information that others need to implement the work item and to track changes that are made to the work item. In addition to the fields that you can track on the task work item form, you can use six additional fields to filter queries and create reports.
Understand restrictions around linking work items. You use links to create relationships between user stories, tasks, test cases, and other work items. Most links are restricted as to the types of links that you can create and types of work items that can you can link.
·         Linking Work Items (Agile)
Define fields that track build numbers and test cases. You use build and test data fields to track information that helps the team resolve bugs or implement tests. In addition to the fields that appear on the work item form, you can use five additional fields to filter queries and create reports.
·         Build and Test Integration
Attach files. You can attach an e-mail thread, a document, an image, a log file, or another type of file to a work item. In addition, you can use the AttachedFileCount field to filter queries and create reports.
·         Attachments
5.1.8.1.2.             Related Topics
Tasks
Related content
Learn about the data types and field attributes that you can specify. You can define fields to store specific types of data, such as text, numbers, or HTML content. You can set additional attributes that are based on how you want to use the field for reporting or query purposes.
·         Working with Work Item Fields
Add, remove, or customize how you use a work item field to track data. You use work item fields to track data for a work item type, to define the filter criteria for queries, and to generate reports. For any data element that you want to track, you must add a FIELD element to the definition file for the appropriate type of work item.
Customize objects for tracking work items. You can customize fields, workflow, and forms that your team uses to track progress.
You can customize all objects for tracking work items by modifying an XML file and importing it to the server that hosts the team project collection.
Specify fields to perform specific actions. Team Foundation manages system fields, which you can use to track all types of work items. You add all other fields to a team project collection through the work item type definitions.
For best results, you should use fields that already exist if they meet your needs.
5.1.8.1.3.             See Also
Concepts
5.1.8.1.4.             Other Resources

5.1.8.2.                  Titles, IDs, Descriptions, and History

5.1.8.3.                  Assignments and Workflow

5.1.8.4.                  Planning, Ranking, and Priorities

5.1.8.5.                  Areas and Iterations

5.1.8.6.                  Effort, Schedules, and Tracking Hours

5.1.8.7.                  Build and Test Integration

5.1.8.8.                  Linking Work Items

5.1.8.9.                  Attachments

5.2.         Team Queries

5.3.         Dashboards

5.4.         Excel Reports

5.5.         Workbooks

5.6.         Reports

6.                Roles

6.1.         Intro

Scrum defines three roles. Most individuals are in the team role, which has the responsibility of creating the software. Two individuals have additional responsibilities. Your product owner has responsibilities that ensure that your customers are represented on the team. Your ScrumMaster has responsibilities that help your team and your product owner follow Scrum processes effectively.

6.2.         Product Owner Role

As the product owner, your primary function is to act as an interface between the customers and the team. This role is very intensive; you will be pulled in many directions by a variety of customers and stakeholders.

6.2.1.   What Makes a Good Product Owner

You must analyze customer needs and articulate them as user stories. You must have good negotiation skills so that you can help customers understand the tradeoffs between requested features and the impact that they have on the schedule. You must work with the customers to prioritize the product backlog so that the team produces the most valuable product or system, one increment at a time. Subject matter expertise in the business area or industry of the system that is being built is essential. For example, you need a background in healthcare and healthcare insurance if your team is building a healthcare system for a hospital. Without this knowledge, you cannot effectively prioritize the product backlog or explain the product backlog items to the team. You will also benefit from basic financial skills, such as the ability to understand the payback period on a system, to amortize budgets, and to understand capital and expense budgeting. Your understanding of the Scrum processes and commitment to them is also very important to the team's success.

6.2.2.   Core Responsibilities

You represent the customers and stakeholders. Your core responsibilities are to represent customer needs to the team and facilitate and respond to the team's questions. You must keep the product backlog up to date and in priority order. To maintain the product backlog, you communicate regularly with customers, stakeholders, and the team. You should meet with stakeholders at least every one to two weeks. The order in which user stories are implemented will affect the payback period and the amount of work that the team must perform. The team will help you understand how the order of user stories affects the work. You must help the stakeholders understand these effects of the ranking decisions. You also reduce the need for detailed specifications by being available to the team when it has questions about how to implement functionality. To keep the team moving, you must have these answers or be able to find them very quickly (in a few hours). If you are unavailable, the team's results will be adversely affected.
NoteNote
The level of detail in specifications depends on many factors, which include the type of application that your team is developing. For many applications, properly elaborated user stories and open lines of communication are the most effective specifications. However, an application that processes lab tests might require very detailed specifications so that the team can analyze in more detail the impact of changes that they make over time.
You will also work with both the team and the stakeholders to build acceptance tests, which allow the team to know when a particular user story is complete and ready for the sprint review. You must understand, identify, and articulate risk to both the team and the stakeholders. Your function can be summarized as ensuring that the team has the information that it needs to satisfy customers by building the best software for them.

6.3.         ScrumMaster Role

As a ScrumMaster, you are responsible for building and maintaining a healthy team that conforms to the Scrum processes. You are the change agent who will help the team overcome impediments.

6.3.1.   What Makes a Good ScrumMaster

You should possess excellent communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills. You will use these skills daily to help your team develop. You must be an active listener. You must listen not only to the words that people are speaking but also to how they are delivering their messages (their body language and other non-verbal communication). You should ask questions to reveal hidden issues and confirm what you have understood people to say. You should use these active listening skills to identify potential issues on the team and help prevent them from growing into larger issues. It is cheaper to fix a bug soon after it is discovered, and it is easier and less disruptive to fix a team issue when it is small and manageable than when it is large and out of control. You should make the team, the product owner, and the business feel at ease as you drive the team toward hyperproductivity. You should gather, analyze, and present data to the business in a way that demonstrates how the team is improving and growing. For example, if your team has significantly increased the amount of value that it has delivered and it is generating fewer bugs, you must show that improvement to the business.

6.3.2.   Core Responsibilities

You will use these skills and abilities to perform a variety of functions. Your primary responsibility is to make sure that the team and the product owner are following the Scrum processes. You coach your team to help it practice Scrum more effectively. For example, you should not let the daily Scrum become an open discussion that lasts 45 minutes. You should also make sure that the product owner does not ask the team to add work to a sprint that is in progress. You should not let the team present user stories in the sprint review meeting if those stories are not completely finished.
You will help clear blocking issues that the team may encounter. These issues might require small tasks such as approving a purchase order for a new build computer. The issues might require larger, more challenging accomplishments such as dealing with conflicts between members of your team. When the team engages in painful interaction, you must help the team recover.

6.4.         Team Role

The team consists of the individuals who are responsible for creating the software. The team selects user stories at the start of the sprint, collaborates to implement and test the user stories during the sprint, and presents the finished software at the sprint review. The team is self-organizing in that it manages itself and its work. The team is cross-functional in that it contains the skills that it needs to deliver the user stories in the product backlog. MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 does not distinguish roles on the team by criteria such as engineering discipline or area of expertise.

6.4.1.   What Makes a Good Team

A good software team is hard to assemble and takes time to build. Examples of good teams are all around us: surgical teams, soccer teams, sheepdogs and their handlers. Each team member may have his or her specialty, but the team works together and succeeds or fails together.
Good software teams are also made up of individuals who pull together toward a common goal. A software team should not be viewed as a collection of experts who each take a turn performing the tasks in which they specialize. Instead it should be viewed as a group of people whose collective skills and expertise outweigh any individual skill that a team member may have. Through collaboration, communication, trust and openness, a team can deliver success and grow beyond its individual capabilities to become a high-performing team.
A good team will have the people and skills that are necessary to fulfill the obligation of executing on the vision to deliver working software. This means that the full-time members of the team should have most or all of the skills that are needed to fulfill the project. Very specialized roles such as designers, operations people, architects, or experts in a specific technology might not be available full time. The team can pull in non-team specialists for short-term activities. However, the full-time members of the team should consist of a group of people who can cover most of the skills that are needed to do the work.

6.4.2.   Team Core Responsibilities

The team is responsible for delivering software, starting with the sprint planning meeting in which user stories are broken down into tasks. The cycle continues through development and testing until the working software is presented to the product owner (and possibly customers) in the sprint review meeting. The team ensures that these increments meet its own and its customers' expections for finished software. The activities of the sprint, writing and testing software, are the team's first responsibility.
The team is also responsible for its own effectiveness. The team manages itself in defining and doing the work that it has selected and in collaborating between team members to optimize the team’s effectiveness. The team should always work to improve its results by engaging in the following activities:
  • Defining its criteria for what is finished and finishing one thing before moving on to the next.
  • Adopting effective engineering practices.
For more information, see Engineering Practices.
  • Helping the product owner craft effective user stories and then estimating and prioritizing them.

7.                Meetings

7.1.         Intro

When your team practices Scrum, it will hold a set of meetings, and each meeting has a specific purpose and frequency. Your ScrumMaster should ensure that each meeting fulfills its intended purpose, considering the following guidelines:
·         The meeting agenda should be clear.
·         If team members start a discussion that does not address the purpose of the meeting, the members should take the discussion offline, to be completed later. The ScrumMaster should identify and indicate when team members should take a discussion offline.
·         All meetings should follow the basic structure that is described for that meeting.
·         Meetings should start on time, even if some team members are late.
·         Team members should be on time except in rare, unavoidable cases. If your schedule prevents you from being on time regularly, the conflict should be resolved as soon as possible. If necessary, the ScrumMaster should adjust the meeting time to resolve the conflict if the change does not unfairly inconvenience another member of the team.
·         Each team member should come to the meeting prepared.
·         Meetings should finish on time. In most cases, the length of the meeting is determined by the length of the sprint. For example, take two hours for a sprint planning meeting if the sprint is one week long and four hours if the sprint is two weeks long.
·         Scrum enforces this meeting structure to a level that might make people uncomfortable. This reaction comes from the pressure to be on time, the peer accountability that is associated with making and keeping commitments, and the transparency that is required to actively participate.
Meeting
Purpose
Duration
Frequency
Determine what work to do in the coming sprint.
Two hours per week in the sprint, up to four hours
Once per sprint
Allow team members to commit, collaborate, and communicate risks.
Fifteen minutes
Daily
Show the customer and other stakeholders the work that the team accomplished in the sprint, and receive feedback.
Two hours per week in the sprint, up to four hours
Once per sprint
Identify and implement ideas for process improvement.
Three hours
Once per sprint

7.2.         Sprint Planning Meeting

Your team builds the sprint backlog in the planning meeting on the first day of the sprint. At this meeting, your product owner works with your team to determine which stories it will complete in the sprint. The planning meeting has two parts, and each half is limited to half of the total length of the meeting. In the first part, your team and your product owner identify the user stories that the team feels it can commit to completing in the sprint, based on experience with previous sprints. After the user stories have been identified, you can use the Product Planning workbook to assign them to the sprint. For more information, see Product Planning Workbook.
In the second part of the meeting, your team determines how it will develop and test those user stories. Your team then breaks those user stories down into tasks and estimates the work that is required to complete them. Finally, your team commits to implementing some or all of the user stories based on these estimates.
In the first part of the meeting, your product owner meets with your team to discuss the user stories that might be included in the sprint. Your product owner will share information and answer any questions that your team has about those stories. This conversation might reveal details such as data sources, user interface layout, response time expectations, and considerations for security and usability. Your team should add these details to the user stories. During this part of the meeting, your team learns what it must build.
After your team has discussed all of the details about the user stories that it feels are necessary, your ScrumMaster starts the second part of the planning meeting. Your product owner should attend this part of the meeting to help clarify requirements and to help understand and select alternatives. The ScrumMaster facilitates this part of the meeting as your team determines how it will implement the user stories and whether it can commit to implementing all the stories that your product owner requested. To better understand what is involved in completing each user story, your team breaks down each story into the tasks that your team must perform to implement that story and to ensure that it is finished. You might find the following example tasks in the sprint backlog: “Update the stored procedure to use the new data feed” and “Create the class for the collector web service.”
Your team can use the Iteration Backlog workbook to break user stories down into tasks. For more information, see Iteration Backlog Workbook.
The team then estimates how many hours of work each task will require. Because the tasks are not assigned before they are estimated, the team works together to create these estimates. (Teams often cannot identify and estimate all work during the sprint planning meeting. As much as 40% of the work that a team completes during a sprint emerges after the sprint planning meeting).
The planning poker technique is a good tool for estimating task hours. By using this tool, each team member can participate in estimation, instead of depending on the subject matter experts to estimate their own tasks. Whether you use this technique or another, you should involve the whole team in determining how many hours each task will take. For more information, see the following Web resource: Planning Poker.
Tasks should take no more than a day to complete. If a task is too large, the team should break it down. In some cases, you may not be able to estimate some tasks effectively until other tasks have been completed. Create the task now, but estimate it when you have enough information. Individual task estimates are added together to determine how many hours the team will likely require to complete each user story.
Your team continues to analyze each user story and estimate its tasks until your team determines that it has enough stories for the sprint. Your team makes this determination by comparing the number of estimated hours to the number of hours that the team expects to complete in the sprint.
You can use the team capacity worksheet in the Iteration Backlog workbook to help determine your team's capacity for the sprint. You must fill in the details of the sprint in the settings worksheet. To account for vacation, holidays, and other interruptions, you must fill out the interruptions worksheet. For more information, see Iteration Backlog Workbook.
You should alert your product owner if your team determines that it cannot complete one or more of the stories that your product owner has requested because its task estimates exceed the number of available hours. Your product owner might substitute a smaller user story, split the story, or hold the story in the product backlog for a future sprint. After your team completes both parts of the planning meeting, it has accomplished the following:
  • created the sprint backlog, with tasks and hours for each user story
  • committed to the user stories that it will deliver in the sprint
  • understood, as a self-organizing team, how it will work together to meet its commitments

7.3.         Daily Scrum Meeting

In rugby, a scrum is a play, similar to a down in American football. In the Scrum methodology, the Scrum meeting makes a day of work like a play in rugby. It might be rough and tumble, but the goal to make forward progress is clear, and your team pulls together toward that common goal. Your team should hold daily Scrum meetings to determine what it needs to do in the next day to maximize its chances of meeting its commitments. Each team member describes what he or she has accomplished since the most recent meeting, the work that he or she plans to accomplish that day, and any issues or impediments that might affect or require help from other team members.
Your ScrumMaster strictly enforces the structure of the meeting and ensure that it starts on time and finishes in 15 minutes or less. In this meeting, each member of the team answers three questions:
  • What have I accomplished since the most recent Scrum?
  • What will I accomplish before the next Scrum?
  • What blocking issues or impediments might affect my work?
It is important that team members answer these questions quickly and concisely. An example of a good answer is, “Yesterday, I updated the class to reflect the new data element that we pull from the database, and I got it to appear in the interface. This task is complete. Today, I will ensure that the new data element is correctly calculating with the stored procedure and the other data elements in the table. I believe I will accomplish this task today. I will need someone to review my calculations. I have no impediments or blocking issues.” Compare that answer to the less-than-stellar answer, “Yesterday, I worked on the class, and it works. Today, I will work on the interface. No blocking issues.”
As these examples show, the first response conveys what was accomplished, what will be accomplished, and that the team member would like some help looking at the code. The second example does not provide enough detail about what class the person worked on or which interface components will be done. In fact, the word accomplished never came up.
Notice that no one interrupted during the sample response. There was no follow-up discussion where several people talked about who might be the best person to review the calculations or how the class was implemented. Each person must have sufficient time to answer the three questions. The time for elaboration is after the meeting, as people return to their desks or, if a significant amount of conversation is necessary, in a follow-up meeting. Many teams delay discussions by using the “virtual parking lot” method. As topics come up that a team member feels must be discussed later, any team member can quietly walk to a whiteboard or flipchart and list the topic in the parking lot. At the end of the meeting, the team plans to discuss topics that appear in the list.
Another aspect of a successful Scrum is that people actually stand up. When the team stands up, members feel uncomfortable, especially when they are speaking. If everyone stands, the meeting will keep moving and discourage lengthy conversations.
Third, the meeting should start and end on time and be at the same time in the same location every day. This consistency helps the team because a pattern can be established. Also, the team can post data and notes in the area where the meeting is held, such as burndowns, issues, release plans, and tasks. Alistair Cockburn calls these information radiators in Agile Software Development. Having one location to store and view these important assets as the team meets is an easy way to help things run more smoothly.

7.4.         Sprint Review Meeting

On the last day of the sprint, your team meets with your product owner, customers, and stakeholders to accept completed work and to identify new requirements. During the course of the sprint, your team may have already gathered and incorporated feedback. Your team should also have already performed the acceptance tests for each user story that it completed. In this meeting, your team demonstrates each user story that it completed in the sprint. Your product owner, customers, and stakeholders accept the user stories that meet their expectations. In many cases, your customers will understand their additional needs more fully after seeing the demonstrations and will identify and discuss the changes that they want to see.
Based on this meeting, some user stories will be accepted as complete. Incomplete user stories will remain in the product backlog, and new user stories will be added to the product backlog. Both sets of stories will be ranked and either estimated or re-estimated in the next sprint planning meeting.
After this meeting and the retrospective meeting, your team will plan the next sprint. Because business needs change quickly, you can take advantage of this meeting with your product owner, customers, and stakeholders to review the priorities of the product backlog again.

7.5.         Retrospective Meeting

The retrospective meeting occurs on the last day of the sprint, after the sprint review meeting. In this meeting, your team inspects and explores how it has been working within the Scrum processes. Based on this analysis, your team might decide to adapt its processes to improve its own effectiveness, productivity, quality, and satisfaction. This meeting and the resulting improvements are critical to the agile principle of self-organization. For more information, see Agile Principles and Values, by Jeff Sutherland.
If your team did not complete all of the user stories that were assigned to the sprint, you will discuss why that happened in the retrospective meeting. Your team will determine whether it can adapt its processes so that those kinds of problems are less likely to occur. Also discuss issues that affected your team's general effectiveness, productivity, and quality and your team's satisfaction with the project.
For example, consider a team that had several tasks that only one individual on the team could perform. That isolation of expertise created a critical path that threatened the sprint's success. The individual team member had to work very long hours during the sprint, and the other team members were frustrated that they could not do more to help with those tasks. That team decided to practice eXtreme Programming to help correct this problem over time.
In some cases, your team may need to do some work to implement an improvement. For example, consider a team that was spending too much time dealing with failed builds. That team decided to implement continuous integration. The team did not want to risk disrupting their regular build process. Therefore, they allocated a few hours to set up a trial build before turning it on in their production build. The team created a spike and prioritized that work against the rest of the product backlog.
For more information about how to run effective retrospective meetings, see the following Web resources: Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews and Agile Retrospectives.

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