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Customizing MSF Process Guidance, Part 2: Activities, Workstreams, and WorkItemTypes

Visual Studio 2005
 

Allison Bokone
Microsoft Corporation

June 2006

Applies to:

   MSF for Agile Software Development v4.0 Process Guidance
   MSF for CMMI Process Improvement v4.0 Process Guidance

Summary: This is the second of six companion articles. In this article, we explain how to add new Activities, Workstreams, and WorkItemTypes to your process guidance, and how to customize the elements associated with these content items.

Contents

Introduction
Adding New Activities, Workstreams, or WorkItemTypes to the MSF Process Guidance
Adding Steps to Activities or Adding Activities to Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance
Establishing the Owner of Activities or Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance
Adding Entry or Exit Criteria to Activities or Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance
Adding Fields to WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance
Adding States to WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance
Adding Transitions to WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance
Viewing Changes to Activities, Workstreams, or WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance
Adding New Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance to the MSF Content Build
Deleting Content Items from the MSF Process Guidance
Conclusion

Introduction

Process guidance is the content that documents the Activities, Workstreams, and WorkItemTypes for a specific software development process. The process guidance complements the process template.

Visual Studio® Team System 2005 includes two process templates: MSF for Agile Software Development and MSF for CMMI Process Improvement. Each of these processes may be customized and used to develop software in projects. As process template Activities, Workstreams, and WorkItemTypes are customized, the corresponding process guidance should be updated to address any changes that were made.

Activities

An Activity is a collection of steps to perform to achieve a goal or accomplish work. For example, the Reassign a Bug Activity contains two steps: modify bug description and update owner. You can add Activities to your process guidance to define specific details of your software development process.

Workstreams

A Workstream is a collection of related Activities that is frequently associated with a specific role. For example, the Activities of reproducing a bug, locating the cause of a bug, writing code to fix a bug, and reviewing the code, are associated with fixing a bug. In the MSF for Agile Software Development process guidance, a Workstream named Fix a Bug captures these Activities and primarily associates them with the developer role. You can add Workstreams to your process guidance to define specific details of your software development process.

WorkItemTypes

A work item is a record of work around a specific area. For example, bug work item records work concerned with finding, analyzing, and fixing bugs.

A WorkItemType defines: data that is collected for a work item by using fields and field rules, how that data is presented to a user by using a form, and the workflow that work item undergoes by using a state-transition model. You can add WorkItemTypes to your process guidance to define specific details of your software development process.

Adding New Activities, Workstreams, or WorkItemTypes to the MSF Process Guidance

If you add new Activities, Workstreams, or WorkItemTypes to your process template, you should also add them to your process guidance together with descriptions of how they should be used in your software development process. Follow these steps to add a new Activity, Workstream, or WorkItemType to your process guidance.

To add a new Activity, Workstream, or WorkItemType

  1. If you are adding a new Activity, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file that contains the Workstream with which your Activity is associated (for example, myWorkstream.xml).

    If you are adding a new Workstream, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file Blank.xml. Click File, Save As, and name the new file <Workstream Name>.

    If you are adding a new WorkItemType to the MSF for Agile Software Development process guidance, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file WorkItems.xml.

    If you are adding a new WorkItemType to the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement process guidance, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file RolesandWorkItems.xml.

    Note   Process guidance XML files are located in the \Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML folder.
  2. On the Insert menu, select Section, and then select ContentItem. The new item appears at the bottom of the content item list.
  3. In the content item form, set the Content Type field to Activity, Workstream or WorkItem.
  4. In the Content Name field, type a unique name that identifies the Activity, Workstream, or WorkItemType. The name must be unique across all content items to make sure that links between content items work correctly.
  5. In the Content Description field, type a description such as why the Activity or Workstream exists and what it accomplishes, or what work the WorkItemType tracks and how it relates to specific work products.
  6. Save your changes.
    Note   You may encounter a dialog box stating This form contains validation errors. Errors are marked with either a red asterisk (required field) or ...You may ignore this error until you add the remaining components.

Adding Steps to Activities or Adding Activities to Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance

An Activity is a collection of steps to follow to accomplish a goal. The steps of an Activity provide detailed guidance for how a role performs the Activity. Each step should be distinct from one another and be as descriptive as possible. The steps should also indicate how inputs into the Activity are turned into outputs at the end of the Activity.

Similarly, a Workstream is a collection of Activities. When you create a new Activity, it must be associated with one or more Workstreams that contain it. This enables anyone viewing a Workstream to see which Activities are performed in that Workstream.

Follow these steps to add a step to an Activity, or to associate a new Activity with an existing Workstream.

To add a step to an Activity or add an Activity to a Workstream

  1. In Microsoft InfoPath, open the XML file that contains the Activity or Workstream you want to modify. Select the Activity where you will add the step or the Workstream where you will add the Activity.
    Note   Process guidance XML files are located in the \Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML folder.
  2. Create a Part section if one does not already exist. You can create a Part section by clicking the Insert item link under the Entry Criteria section.
  3. Set the Part Type field to Step.
  4. If you are adding a step to an Activity, in the Part Name field, type the name of the step that someone following the Activity performs.

    If you are adding an Activity to a Workstream, in the Part Name field, type the name of the Activity exactly as it appears in the Content Name field of the Activity’s content item.

  5. In the Sequence field, type an ordinal number corresponding to the order in which this Activity is performed. For example, if the step or Activity is performed first, the sequence should be 1.
  6. Select the Is Required field if the step or Activity must be performed, otherwise clear the Is Required field.
  7. In the Part Description field, type a description of the step or Activity with enough details that the role performing this step can accomplish the step successfully.

    If there are multiple steps in the Activity, you can create more than one Part Description field to capture an overview of each step. Right-click the Part Description section and then click Insert Part below.

  8. Save your changes.

Establishing the Owner of Activities or Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance

After you document an Activity or Workstream, you should identify which role is the owner of the Workstream.

This information is established using the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) section:

  • Responsible   The role responsible for performing the task.
  • Accountable   The role with overall responsibility for the task.
  • Consulted   People who provide input to help perform the task.
  • Informed   People with a vested interest in the task who should be kept informed.

In MSF for Agile Software Development, only the responsible and consulted roles are rendered.

There should be only one accountable role, however there can be multiple consulted roles.

To establish the owner of an Activity or Workstream with a RACI role

  1. In Microsoft InfoPath, open the XML file that contains the Activity or Workstream you want to modify. Select the Activity or Workstream requiring RACI information.
    Note   Process guidance XML files are located in the \Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML folder.
  2. Create a RACI section if one does not already exist. You can create a RACI section by clicking the Insert item link under the last Part section.
  3. Set the RACIType field to Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed depending on the relationship of the role to the Activity or Workstream. If the role is the owner of the Workstream, the type should be Responsible.
  4. In the Role Name field, type the name of the role exactly as it appears in the Content Name field of the role’s content item.
  5. Save your changes.

Adding Entry or Exit Criteria to Activities or Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance

Entry and exit criteria are optional sections usually found on well defined Activities and Workstreams. An event or group of events frequently determines when an Activity or Workstream will start or be completed. One type of event is time. Time-based events are put into the When section. Dependencies are another type of event. These events determine what must be done in order to start the Activity or Workstream, or to declare the Activity or Workstream completed.

To add entry criteria to an Activity or Workstream

  1. In Microsoft InfoPath, open the xml file that contains the Activity or Workstream you want to modify. Select the Activity or Workstream requiring entry criteria and locate the Entry Criteria section.
    Note   Process guidance XML files are located in the \Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML folder.
  2. In the When field, type a description of the time-based event that determines when this Activity or Workstream starts.
  3. Create a Criteria Type section if one does not already exist. You can create a Criteria Type section by clicking the Insert item link under the last Cross Type section.
  4. Set the Criteria Type field to Entry.
  5. In the Criteria Name field, type the name of the criteria that must be met before the Activity or Workstream starts.
  6. In the Criteria Description, type a description with more information about the criteria.

    If you must create more than one entry criteria, right-click the Criteria Type section, and then click Insert CriteriaItem below.

  7. Save your changes.

To add exit criteria to an Activity or Workstream

  1. In Microsoft InfoPath, open the XML file that contains the Activity or Workstream you want to modify. Select the Activity or Workstream requiring exit criteria.
    Note   Process guidance XML files are located in the \Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML folder.
  2. Create a Criteria Type section if one does not already exist. You can create a Criteria Type section by clicking the Insert item link under the last Cross Type section.
  3. Set the Criteria Type field to Exit.
  4. In the Criteria Name field, type the name of the criteria that must be met before the Activity or Workstream ends.
  5. In the Criteria Description, type a description with more information about the criteria.

    If you must create more than one exit criteria, right-click the Criteria Type section, and then click Insert CriteriaItem below.

  6. Save your changes.

Adding Fields to WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance

The WorkItemType fields are defined in the WorkItemType XML as part of the process template. Describe each of these fields in the process guidance using the following procedure.

To add a field for a WorkItemType

  1. If you are adding a field to a WorkItemType in the MSF for Agile Software Development process guidance, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file WorkItems.xml and select the WorkItemType you want to modify.

    If you are adding a field to a WorkItemType in the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement process guidance, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file RolesandWorkItems.xml and select the WorkItemType you want to modify.

    Note   Process guidance XML files are located in the \Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML folder.
  2. For the selected WorkItemType, locate the Part section which is under the Entry Criteria section.
  3. If a Part section does not already exist, create one by clicking the Insert item link.
  4. Set the Part Type field to Field.
  5. In the Part Name field, type the name of the field. The name should match the field label that team members will see on the WorkItemType form.
  6. In the Sequence Number field, type a number. This number determines the order in which the fields are listed in the process guidance content.
  7. Select the Is Required field if the field must contain data, otherwise clear the Is Required field.
  8. In the Part Description, type a description that provides guidelines for how a team member should use the field. Make sure that you document any constraints on the field.
  9. Repeat steps 3 through 8 for each field in your WorkItemType.
  10. Save your changes.

Adding States to WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance

The WorkItemType states are defined in the WorkItemType XML as part of the process template. Describe each of these states in the process guidance using the following procedure.

To add a state for a WorkItemType

  1. If you are adding a state to a WorkItemType in the MSF for Agile Software Development process guidance, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file WorkItems.xml and select the WorkItemType you want to modify.

    If you are adding a state to a WorkItemType in the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement process guidance, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file RolesandWorkItems.xml and select the WorkItemType you want to modify.

    Note   Process guidance XML files are located in the \Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML folder.
  2. For the selected WorkItemType, locate the States, Transitions, and Reasons section.
  3. If a State section does not already exist, create one by clicking the Insert item link.
  4. In the State Name field, type the name of the state, such as Active, or Resolved. The name should match the name that team members see in the State field on the WorkItemType form.
  5. In the Sequence Number field, type a number. This number determines the order in which the states are listed in the process guidance content. Try to set the sequence so that the states are listed in the same order as the workflow.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for each state in your WorkItemType.
  7. Save your changes.

Adding Transitions to WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance

The WorkItemType transitions are defined in the WorkItemType XML as part of the process template. The transitions describe the workflow of the WorkItemType. Describe each reason for each transition that can occur using the following procedure.

To add a transition for a WorkItemType

  1. If you are adding a transition to a WorkItemType in the MSF for Agile Software Development process guidance, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file WorkItems.xml and select the WorkItemType you want to modify.

    If you are adding a transition to a WorkItemType in the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement process guidance, use Microsoft InfoPath to open the file RolesandWorkItems.xml, and select the WorkItemType you want to modify.

    Note   Process guidance xml files are located in the \Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML folder.
  2. For the selected WorkItemType, locate the States, Transitions, and Reasons section.
  3. Locate the existing State section to which you will add transitions.
  4. Set the Transition Type to Reason.
  5. In the Transition Name field, type the names of the states; such as Active to Resolved. The names should match the names that team members see in the State field on the WorkItemType form.
  6. In the Sequence Number field, type a number. This number determines the order in which the state transitions are listed in the process guidance content. Try to set the sequence so that the state transitions are listed in the same order as the workflow.
  7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for each state transition in your WorkItemType state.
  8. Save your changes.

Viewing Changes to Activities, Workstreams, or WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance

As you change an Activity, Workstream, or WorkItemType, you will want to review the changes in the HTML pages to make sure they appear correctly. You must make sure that no source XML files are open in Microsoft InfoPath to view the process guidance content. Each Workstream has an associated HTML page that can be accessed through the Index tab.

To view changes to an Activity, Workstream, or WorkItemType

  1. Close Microsoft InfoPath.

    If InfoPath is left open, the XML will remain locked and the MSFWinBuild tool will be unable to process it.If you documented a new Workstream, follow the steps in Adding New Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance to the MSF Content Build.

  2. Run MSFWinBuild to build the process guidance pages. For more information, see Customizing MSF Process Guidance, Part 6: Building HTML Content Pages with MSFWinBuild.
  3. Open the Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\ProcessGuidance.htm file in a browser.
  4. Click the Index tab.
  5. To view Activity or Workstream changes, in the left menu, click the Workstreams tab.

    To view WorkItemType changes, in the left menu, click the Work Items tab.

  6. In the Workstream list, click the Workstream or WorkItemType you want to view, or click the Workstream that contains the Activity you want to view.
  7. For an Activity or Workstream, you should see the Activity or Workstream description, entry criteria, steps or Activities, and exit criteria listed on the Activity or Workstream page.

    For a WorkItemType, on the Work Items page, click the parts of the WorkItemType you want to view (Overview, States and Transitions, Fields, Activities, or Workstreams).

Adding New Workstreams in the MSF Process Guidance to the MSF Content Build

When you add a new Workstream in the process guidance, you create a new XML file that has the same name as the Workstream. This new XML file must be added to the ProcessGuidanceMap.xml mapping file in order to be included in the MSF content build. The MSFWinBuild command-line tool uses ProcessGuidanceMap.xml to collect the files needed for a content build.

To add a new Workstream to ProcessGuidanceMap.xml

  1. Open the folder Windows SharePoint Services\Process Guidance\Source\XML.
  2. Right-click the file ProcessGuidanceMap.xml and select Edit.
  3. Search for the closing Content tag: </mstns:Content>.
  4. Insert the following code before this tag:
    <xi:include href="NewWorkstreamName.xml" xmlns:xi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XInclude" xpointer="xmlns(mstns=http://tempuri.org/XMLSchema.xsd) xpointer(//mstns:ContentItem)"/>
  5. Save your changes.

Deleting Content Items from the MSF Process Guidance

You can delete any content item, but know that other content items may have links to the deleted content item and must be updated. For example, if you delete an Activity, you must also delete its associated Part section in any Workstreams that reference it. Otherwise the Workstreams will list the Activity, but not link to it.

To delete a content item

  1. Select the content item.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Cut.

Conclusion

In this second part of a six-part series, we have discussed how to add Activities, Workstreams, and WorkItemTypes to your process guidance. See the following articles for more information about how to customize other areas of your MSF Process Guidance:

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