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Artifacts (CMMI)

Product owners and team members can manage their software development projects and track work easily and effectively by using work items and other artifacts, such as reports, workbooks, and dashboards. This topic provides an overview of the artifacts that the process template for Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) for Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Process Improvement v5.0 provides.

Teams can use work items to propose work, approve or reject work, track information, analyze progress, and make decisions. The team can use built-in and custom reports that are based on the database for tracking work items or the SQL Server Analysis Services database to answer questions such as the following metrics:

  • Are we on track?

  • Is our bug debt growing or shrinking?

  • What is our burn rate?

Teams can use workbooks to help triage proposed work. Dashboards and reports display critical information and support transparency and real-time metrics. Dashboards help the team visualize project information, which is especially useful for driving an iteration and conducting retrospectives. Dashboards also provide access to many features and functions that team members use every day.

Team members can access artifacts either from the team project node in Team Explorer or the team project portal.

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Create and update requirements, tasks, bugs, and other types of work items. The team tracks work by work items. Each type of work item is based on a template that includes data fields, workflow states, transition logic, and a work item form. Team members can create work items that are based on only those types of work items that are defined for the team project.

The process template for MSF for CMMI Process Improvement v5.0 defines the following types of work items: requirements, tasks, bugs, change requests, risks, issues, reviews, test cases, and shared steps. Each type of work item is defined by an XML file that project administrators can completely customize.

List requirements, tasks, bugs, and other work items by using queries. Each query defines a set of filter criteria that team members can run to find specific groups of work items, such as open requirements or active bugs. team members can find predefined queries in the Team Queries folder.

The process template for MSF for CMMI Process Improvement v5.0 defines 25 team queries. Each team member can create and store queries that are just for themselves or that they share with the team.

Use dashboards to review progress and quickly access assigned work. Team members can use dashboards to quickly find important information about the team project. Dashboards show project data, support investigation, and help the team perform common tasks more quickly.

Dashboards display charts and graphs that are defined by an Office Excel report, lists and controls in Team Web Access, or other objects on a SharePoint site. To access dashboards, the team project must be configured for a project portal and a SharePoint site.

The process template for MSF for CMMI Process Improvement v5.0 defines several dashboards, which project administrators can fully customize.

View and track progress by using reports in Excel. Reports in Excel support two purposes. The first purpose is to present visual data within the dashboards. The second purpose is to support reviewing and tracking progress for your project.

The process template for MSF for CMMI Process Improvement v5.0 defines 17 reports in Excel. Each report corresponds to an Office Excel workbook (.xlsx file) that displays information that is stored in the Analysis Services database for the team project. You can modify Excel reports and create custom reports by using the Excel template the process template provides.

Review, analyze, and track progress by using Reporting Services. Team members can analyze the status and progress of their project by using the reports in Reporting Services. These reports help answer questions about the state of the team project by aggregating metrics from work items, version control, test results, and builds.

Before your team can access Report Reports, the team project collection where your team project is stored must be provisioned with Reporting Services and Analysis Services.

The process template for MSF for CMMI Process Improvement v5.0 defines 13 reports, which you can customize. Each report is defined by a Report Definition Language (RDL) file that accesses information from the Analysis Services database for the team project.

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Capture and track Requirements. Product owners can capture each feature, function, or requirement for a product as a Requirement. Requirements support triaging and ranking requirements, capturing customer requirements and test criteria, and assigning the item to a specific iteration.

Create and edit multiple Requirements as a batch. Product owners can use Office Excel to build a product backlog.

Capture, track, and link other types of work. Team members can also capture tasks, issues, and other types of work and link them to Requirements or each other.

Project administrators can also create or customize each type of work item by adding fields, changing the workflow, or modifying the form. For more information, see Customization.

View hierarchical tree structures of requirements and child requirements. Product owners can create many small, focused requirements that, taken together, implement several larger stories. Child requirements can be linked to parent requirements to form a hierarchical tree structure.

Team members can view and modify tree hierarchies of work items through either Office Excel or Team Explorer. In Team Explorer, team members can change a tree structure by dragging items within the tree view.

Monitor progress and status of requirements. By using the Requirements Progress report, the team can review the level of effort that it has spent implementing requirements. By using the Requirements Overview report, the team can track how far each requirement has been implemented and tested.

Product owners can review these reports daily or weekly to monitor the progress of the team during an iteration.

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Quickly access tasks and other daily functions for each team member. Team members can use the My dashboard to review and open the tasks, bugs, and test cases that are assigned to them.

View hierarchical tree structures of requirements and tasks. Team members can create a link between each task that they must complete and the requirement that it helps implement. By creating these links, team members can track work hours for each story.

Team members can modify tree hierarchies of work items, either through Office Excel or Team Explorer. In Team Explorer, you can change the tree structure by dragging items in the tree view.

Monitor the iteration progress and status. Product owners and team members can use the Progress dashboard and reports to view their progress. These reports help teams determine whether they are on track, how much value they are delivering by closing requirements, and how closely the iteration execution matched their iteration plan.

Generate custom views of reports. Team members can generate different views of reports by using built-in filter functions. For example, a team member can change the display of the Burndown and Burn Rate report by filtering the set of requirements, bugs, and tasks that the report displays.

In addition, team members can customize each dashboard by changing the filter criteria or fields of the Excel reports displayed in the dashboards.

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Quickly access "My" active Bugs. By using the My dashboard, individual team members can review Bugs that are assigned to them.

Review and triage the bug backlog. By using the Untriaged Work Items team query, the team can rank, prioritize, and assign bugs to work on during an iteration.

Monitor bug burndown, trends, and distribution by priority and assignment. By using the bug dashboards and reports, the team can track its progress toward finding and resolving code defects.

Monitor the fault feedback ratio. By using the Reactivations report, the team can determine how effectively it is fixing bugs. Reactivations generally refer to bugs that have been resolved or closed prematurely and then reopened. The team can use the Reactivations report to show either bugs or requirements that have been reactivated.

Submit bugs that automatically contain test case and test environment information. Testers who use Microsoft Test Manager can submit bugs that automatically contain information about the test case and test environment that was run, in addition to the specific test step in which the tester discovered a code defect. If a tester uses Microsoft Test Manager to create a bug, it is automatically linked to the test case that was run when the bug was found.

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Plan, schedule, and manage tasks and resources. Product owners can plan projects, schedule tasks, assign resources, and track changes using Office Project. Office Project helps to simplify scheduling by providing the Team Foundation Gantt View and Team Foundation Task Sheet View.

In addition, data integration between Office Project and Team Foundation maintains predecessor-successor and subordinate relationships in both the project plan and the database for tracking work items.

Monitor task allocation to team members. In the Progress dashboard and reports, team members can view the workload that is assigned to themselves and to other team members.

Manage and monitor issues and impediments to team progress. Product owners can track known or potential problems, impediments, or risks to their project by using issue work items and the Open Issues team query to define, review, rank, and manage issues.

Determine the team's average burn rate or velocity. By viewing the information in the Status on All Iterations report, product owners can gain information toward calculating the team's average burn rate.

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Monitor team progress and team capacity. During an iteration, the team can review the rate of its progress by viewing the burndown of either Tasks or other work items.

Burndown shows the trend of completed and remaining work over a specified time period. Burn rate provides calculations of the completed and required rate of work based on the specified time period.

Manage cross-group dependencies. Product owners can define dependencies for a task or feature that another team or group owns, track and annotate those dependencies, build relationships with another project group, and track how dependencies change over time.

Monitor product quality. The team can track indicators of overall product quality by using the Quality dashboard. Also, the team can use build reports to track the quality and success of the team's builds over time.

Report progress to upper management. Product owners can use several dashboards and reports to communicate status and progress, and customize reports to display the exact details that the team and management require.

For example, the Quality dashboard provides an overview of progress in the test, development, and build areas. The Stories Overview report tracks how far each Requirement has been implemented and tested. The test reports track the team's progress toward developing Test Cases and show how well they cover the Requirements.

Support for multiple means of access. Team members can view dashboards and reports through a Web interface, and export Reporting Services reports into several formats, which include Excel, Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), and Word.

On the Microsoft Web site:

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Manage work handoffs and track work status. By using work items to maintain information in the Team Foundation database, team members can ensure that no information or work is lost when they hand off tasks to each other. Team members can use work items to define work to be accomplished for a project and track progress.

Support team communications. Team members can use the project portal to save and retrieve documents, view reports, exchange information by posting messages, and use other collaborative features in SharePoint Products, such as calendars, lists, wikis, and blogs.

Share documents and files. By using their team project portal, team members can upload files that are maintained under version control, attach files, and insert links to Web sites in any type of work item.

Receive e-mail notifications when work changes. Alerts are e-mail notifications that Team Foundation sends when some event occurs, such as the status of a work item or a build changes, a check-in occurs, or a build is completed. Team members can configure when alerts are sent and to whom they are sent.

Find and share frequently used lists of work items. Team members can quickly access active work items by using the default team queries. Queries find work items that match a specific set of criteria. Queries are useful for finding the current status on work items. For example, a query could find all bug work items with a priority of 1 or all task work items that are assigned to the Web development team.

Also, team members can create and share individual queries and additional team queries through e-mail or the team project portal.

Set access permissions to sensitive data or resources. Project administrators can place restrictions on which team members can view or modify work items, team queries, reports, or dashboards. Permissions to view or modify an artifact are granted to team members, either individually or by role.

Educate new team members about team processes. Work items, dashboards, and reports in Reporting Services all provide links to process guidance for each of these kinds of artifacts. If you add or customize one of these artifacts, you can provide links to your own hosted process guidance.

Track the status of work items, and generate reports by using queries. Team members can generate a list of work items by using simple or complex queries.

You can send the details about a particular work item, a list of work items, or a work item query by e-mail to team members, clients, or other interested people. Also, you can create hyperlinks to these items that recipients can open, view, save, and modify if they have the necessary access and permission in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server. 

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Track the implementation of requirements and other work items. Team members can create links from work items to changesets and source code that is under version control. These links support an audit trail that the team can use to understand issues that might arise later.

Create relationships to support integrated views of requirements, tests, and backlog items. Team members can link requirements to the test cases that test them and bugs that affect them. This practice helps product owners determine the test case readiness for any requirement and the overall number of bugs that have been logged against a requirement.

Monitor builds, code coverage, and code churn. Team members can use build reports to track the quality and success of their builds over time.

Monitor test progress and test coverage. Team members can use the test dashboard and test reports to track the progress of tests over time.

Monitor progress and identify the volume, status, and effectiveness of test activities. Teams that are responsible for testing the product can use the Test Management reports to monitor builds, test runs, test case authoring, and more.

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Create or customize types of work items, types of links, categories, and other artifacts. Project administrators can create or customize a type of work item, a type of link, or a work item category to meet their team's requirements for tracking a project.

Add or customize data fields, work item forms, and workflow. Project administrators can add or modify the data fields that track work item information, in addition to modifying the form and the workflow for a type of work item.

Customize dashboards. Dashboards comprise one or more Web parts, with each part being fully customizable. Each team member can customize their My Dashboard to support their individual needs. Team members can customize other dashboards for themselves or for use by the team.

Generate ad-hoc reports. Team members can create, share, and manage Excel reports. After you create a report that shows data for your team project in Office Excel, you can upload the report to your team's project portal.

View, organize, and configure reports. Project administrators can create and publish reports in SQL Server Report Designer and then use Report Manager to view, organize, and configure those reports. By using Report Manager, a project administrator can organize related reports into folders, adjust parameters and data sources, schedule automated reports, and configure different methods by which reports are copied automatically to a network location.

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