Agile processes with Visual Studio 11


The ALM offering in Visual Studio 11 was designed to enable improved collaboration amongst team members, accelerate the adoption of agile processes, and improve the cycle that links development and operations.  I’ll take a look at a few examples of how Visual Studio 11 achieves this.


A good example how Visual Studio 11 improves collaboration between developers is the new code review support.  Visual Studio 11 includes a significantly overhauled Team Explorer tool window, which includes the new My Work pane that provides a central location for you to see what work you currently have in progress and what other work is assigned to you.  As part of this experience, developers are able to request code reviews from teammates (easily shelving the current state of their work), respond to others’ requests, dialog with teammates about reviews, annotate “diffs” for requested code reviews within the Visual Studio editor, and much more.

Collaboration isn’t just about communications between developers, of course.  There are many other roles in a software team, and Visual Studio supports collaboration with and between all of those roles. For example, Visual Studio 11 includes a new exploratory testing experience.  With formal testing practices, you author your test cases up front and then execute them against your iterative builds. Sometimes, however, you can find additional problems while going “off road” with unscripted testing, problems for which you wouldn’t necessarily have thought to write test cases. In those instances, you still want to be able to capture rich, actionable bug reports – possibly featuring video, audio annotations, screenshots, and the like. And when you do find a bug, you want to be able to automatically turn the repro steps into a test case so that you can formally test it moving forward.  This is at the heart of the exploratory testing experience.

Agile Processes

This exploratory testing example also serves as a glimpse into the aforementioned work  to better enable agile processes in Visual Studio 11.  Another such area of investment is our work to improve agile project management.  This has been a big focus for Visual Studio 11, and in particular for Team Foundation Server 11.  Some of the experiences that are enabled include:

  • Managing your product backlog

  • Engaging in sprint planning

  • Driving your daily stand-ups

Work in Visual Studio on agile processes goes beyond product management and testing; support has also been added to improve requirements and feedback gathering.  For example, the new PowerPoint Storyboarding tool helps you to quickly prototype interfaces:

And the new feedback client makes it easy to get critical input from your stakeholders on your iterative builds:


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