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Microsoft Cloud: Book Review

Book Review: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012

Adopting Agile Software Practices - From Backlog to Continuous Feedback (3rd Edition)

I own the first two versions of this book and was looking forward to the third version. There was a lot of change between the first and second editions, but this third edition does not have that much new material. The authors let you know in the preface that the major update to this version of the book is that it has been updated for Visual Studio 2012. My personal preference is to always have the latest edition.

I would say if you want to get familiar with doing Scrum with TFS this is the book you want. It really does not cover the other templates at all. I am not saying that is bad, but when I read the second edition of the book it is not what I expected or wanted. I already had read enough on Scrum to last me a lifetime. I wanted to see more on the other templates.

All that said, if you have not had the opportunity to get familiar with Scrum this is a great place to get started, especially if you use TFS.

The book starts out with an introduction to agile, Scrum, and Visual Studio. It then digs into Scrum and TFS with chapters on Product Ownership, Running the Sprint, Architecture, Development, Build and Lab, Test, Lessons Learned at Microsoft Developer Division, and Continuous Feedback.

My favorite chapters are Development, Build and Lab, and Test. The author did a great job of showing all the different features available in TFS and Visual Studio that enable continuous integration, automating testing, and detecting programming errors early. The chapters go into enough detail to give you a really good understanding of the tools available and when to use them.

The architecture chapter did a good job of showing how to take advantage of the tools in Visual Studio for reverse engineering existing applications. It does not however show you how to use them to architect an application. Instead the author plays the "Emerging Architecture" trump card, and writes it off to it not being needed in agile processes. I guess this is ok, because the tools in Visual Studio are not ready for prime time when it comes to designing an Architecture. They are however awesome for reverse engineering an application, especially with the new Code Maps. I wholly disagree with the "Emerging Architecture" agile approach and believe it contributes to most of the messes that come out of teams claiming to be agile, but I won't ding the book for it since it is after all what agile prescribes.

Personally I think the book should have been titled "Developing with Visual Studio and TFS using the Scrum Template". That is not a bad thing if that is what you want. The book is well written and an easy read. I think is does what it sets out to do and it does it well. It is a top notch book.

I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn Scrum and wants to use the TFS toolset to enable your team to accomplish your mission. I liked the book enough to get the third version even though I knew there were not that many changes. If you are using TFS and the Scrum template this is the book you must have on your shelf.

Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012: Adopting Agile Software Practices: From Backlog to Continuous Feedback (3rd Edition)

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Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

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