TFS. When I Mention It Who Do You Think Of?
Developers? QA? Your Scrum Master? Well time to reframe your expectations and preconceptions.
Recently after working on a project using Microsoft Test Manager and TFS with VisualStudio.com I went into PowerPoint to update a presentation / pitch I was about to run and I discovered a new menu tab Story boarding.
Storyboarding allows us to turn our message into a visual display. This is a powerful tool for those involved in relaying the stories that explain the why and how of their product.
As you can see from the screen-capture above there are 3 points of interest in PowerPoint: –
The first is self-explanatory. The second are importable, embeddable graphics in sets; as usual Microsoft has several additional sets for free for the user to download and use. The third Storyboard Links – Team allows the person creating the storyboard to add it to a work item in TFS.
For those not in the know TFS is Microsoft’s ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) built around Visual Studio, MS-Projects, Sharepoint and Test Professional (and others). Depending on the role of the team member they are granted the tools and permissions to perform their role in building the product. TFS can be run from a server or online via VIsualStudio.com.
TFS is optimally used to build products using one layer of Microsoft technologies but not exclusively so. It can be used for Waterfall based projects but serves Agile projects extremely well.
The Warptest POV
Whoever is writing the story of your product, whether it be your marketer, community manager, product manager etc. this is a great addition to their toolbox. How do they get it?
This is a TFS add-in so the link here explains which versions of Visual Studio will add this to an installed version of PowerPoint 2007 (or greater).
The ROI on having menu and Visual Studio is obvious. By linking your storyboards to your TFS work items, you are drastically increasing the ability of your team to understand the why’s and wherefores each requirement or use case.
This will also prevent any disconnect from the information silo in TFS by personnel who traditionally don’t have any flavor of Visual Studio installed on their work PC.
You next question is probably Isn’t this a bit expensive for us in Startup Land? I can only suggest you jump over to Microsoft’s BizSpark site to see if you and your Startup are entitled to all the benefits of the program (designed to encourage innovation, growth and success for your idea and your execution).
So, don’t go overboard and end up exemplifying everything in Weird Al’s latest video instead ask what Storyboarding can do for you.
Are you ready to improve how you relate your product’s story?