Team Foundation Server 2012 & 2015

In my current post I'm the self appointed TFS Admin

I installed the 2012 Express version on my own initiative shortly after its release and maintained it to its current (September 2016) level of TFS 2015 Update 3 (I can Kanban!).

Our team of three devs, with a few owners tech-savvy enough to use the project management features, use the install for the full application lifecycle from initial design and Area & Iteration planning, through to assigning as coding tasks (image) and bug reporting/fixing.

That said, because we are such a small team with multiple simultanous active projects (and responsiblitly for maintenance of existing applications), sticking to a real-time iteration cycle is nigh on impossible. This is a major reason I'm now looking to join a larger team, perhaps in a more overtly Agile/scrum working environment.

Team System 2005 & 2008

My first install was of the 2005 version in the summer of 2008 as a lab environment to prepare for the .Net 2.0 MCTS exams I intended taking in ASP.NET and WinForms.

It was a single-server installation with SQL Server 2005 hosted on MS virtual server 2005 and accessed from a VS 2005 Pro workstation running on virtual PC 2007. This used simple NTLM authentication - effectively what they since released as Workgroup mode.

Previous to this I'd only been using the Express versions of Visual Studio to keep up with developments and my thinking was that when I got back into employment it would be a major benefit if I was preparing in a more realistic environment.

As it transpired, by the time the IT Academy at UWS were offering the official MS courses (and, very importantly at the time, exam vouchers!) we'd moved on to .Net 3.5 and the Academy were adding ADO, WPF and WCF into the mix.

By then I'd taken a 3 month placement at Strathclyde Uni where I'd set up a system of automated network installation of Windows 7 and had just completed a UWS course in Windows Network Administration (all low-level TCP/IP, RRIS & DHCP stuff) so it seemed a logical next step to rebuild the entire thing centred on a dual-server install of Team System 2008; but this time in a VMWare Workstation-hosted Active Directory domain (image).

I created a Team System project (appropriately named MCTS) and created sub-folders for the source code for each of the official tutor-led courses and for the self-paced training kits that I'd also got a hold of. I then broke down each exam into the relevant topics and created work items and iterations for them. Here's a screenshot of the workspace in Source Control Explorer within visual studio from a connected workstation (image).

Then it was simply a matter of setting up a Gantt chart in MS project, connecting to the server and managing the schedule from Office (image).

All I had to do then was work through the material (image) and pass the exams :-)

In the interest of completeness, if you're wondering about the physical host for all this, it was a mid-range Acer laptop and this is what Task Manager looked like when the domain was fired up (image). That's pretty much every byte of 4GB RAM being squeezed out and both cores getting a damn good thrashing. It could be painfully slow at times but I got round that by only running the entire setup for planning and at checkin/out. Nevertheless, the VMs were on a promise that as soon as I was back in work I'd build them a nice big machine to live in and the host could retire to being a plain old laptop...(done!)