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Collaborating within a Team Using Team Project Resources

As a member of a team project, you can collaborate effectively with other team members by using the tools and processes that Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) provides. Visual Studio ALM enables collaboration by enhancing communication, tracking work status, enforcing team processes, and integrating tools.

The purpose of enhancing communication on a team is to make sure that no information or work is lost when tasks are reassigned from one team member to another. Your team project provides a central location for you and your team members to coordinate work.

NoteNote

You can add several collaborative menu options to Team Explorer if you install the Team Members power tool for Visual Studio. By using this tool, you can organize your team into sub-teams, and team members can gain quick access to instant messaging and e-mail, share queries and links, and download and install custom components of Team Foundation. This power tool is not supported. For more information, see the following page on the Microsoft Web site: Team Foundation Server Power Tools.

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Share documents by uploading them to the project portal. You can share files that you want to make available to all team members by uploading them to the project portal.

The Documents node of your team project displays all the project portal document libraries as its child nodes. These nodes are the same names that you see when you click Documents and Lists in the project portal. The Documents node is another view of the document libraries on the project portal.

NoteNote
The Documents node is present only when your team project has a project portal enabled and the project is associated with a SharePoint site. For more information, see Access a Team Project Portal and Process Guidance.

You can view documents by double-clicking them. You can also upload, delete, move, and perform other tasks on the documents and folders.

Share information that is specific to one or more work items by using attachments. You can share information that is specific to a task, bug, or other type of work item by attaching it to the work item. For example, you can attach an e-mail thread, a document, an image, a log file, or another type of file.

You add files to work items from the Attachments tab on the work item form.

Augment descriptions and history of work items. As new information becomes available, you can add it to a work item, either in the Description or History fields. In the History field, you can format text to provide emphasis or capture a bulleted list.

Link your changesets to user stories, requirements, tasks, or bugs. If your team is using Team Foundation version control, when you check in the files that you have changed to complete a work item, you might want to add a link to the changeset for that work. This allows you and the team to track what files were involved in completing the work item.

Link versioned items to user stories, requirements, tasks, or bugs. If your team is using Team Foundation version control, you can associate version control changes to a particular work item. This allows other members of your team to see what changes have been made in the source code to address a work item.

Add nonsource code files to version control. Team members can add important project documentation, artifacts, and other nonsource code files to Team Foundation version control. This enables the team to manage all source files for a project in one location.

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Track dependencies by linking work items. You can better manage risks and dependencies if you create relationships between work items. Your team can more easily evaluate the following situations when work items are linked:

  • Determine the impact of cutting a feature. You can create a direct links query to list all active work items on which each feature depends and all requirements that the feature supports.

  • Determine which tasks your team must complete to implement a feature. A team lead creates a direct links query to list all incomplete tasks for each feature.

  • View all tasks that are assigned to a development team and group the tasks by the features that are implemented. You can create a direct links query that lists all features that are linked to active tasks that your team members must complete.

Monitor progress on feature development by linking work items. The reports that are listed in the next column require that you create links from user stories or requirements to tasks and test cases.

Manage and share your work item queries. You can create, save, copy, and rename work item queries. You can maintain a private set of queries or share them with other team members.

Share work items with other team members. You can share work items, work item queries, and query results with other team members by using e-mail, using query folders, or posting a hyperlink.

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Get notified when changes occur in your team project. You can determine whether you want to receive e-mail when one of the following events occurs:

  • A work item that is assigned to you changes.

  • Anything is checked in to version control for your team project.

  • A build status changes.

  • A build finishes.

Alert subscriptions are defined for each team project. You can add different alerts for each team project that you have permission to access.

Send notifications to your team. You can create alerts that are sent to an e-mail distribution group.

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Support the flow of work by updating work items. Changing the State and the Assigned To fields in work items are the primary ways by which work gets handed off to team members and work is effectively tracked.

Assign work to specific product areas and iterations. By assigning work items to specific product areas, you help organize the work and support team members to understand what work is associated with specific product features and functions.

By assigning work items to the iteration in which they will be addressed, you help keep all members of the team informed about what work is current.

NoteNote
The project administrator for each team project defines area and iteration paths for that project so that the team can track progress by those designations.

Review process guidance for your team. Process guidance provides information about how to coordinate work on a team project, and how to use a type of work item in the overall project life cycle. Process guidance can provide details about a team project. Details can include information about how to complete work item fields, examples of healthy and unhealthy reports, query descriptions, roles to assume, activities to complete, and other information.

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