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Providing Process Guidance to Your Team

Process guidance is content that documents the process to be followed by team members who work on a software project. Work items, reports, and queries can all change during the lifecycle of a team project, and they can be different between team projects. Process guidance provides details about a team project, such as information about how to complete work item fields, examples of healthy and unhealthy reports, and descriptions of the queries. Process guidance also provides details about the process to follow on a team project, such as roles to assume and activities to complete.

The process guidance that is provided for team projects that you create by using a Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) process template is hosted in the MSDN Library. This includes process guidance for MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 and MSF for Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Process Improvement v5.0. Both of these templates are included with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM).

Team members can access process guidance from any client of Team Foundation: Team Explorer, Team Web Access, Office Excel, and Office Project. 

As a project manager, you may want to customize the process guidance to support your specific team processes. Also, if you customize the types of work items that your team uses or you add work item types, you may want to provide process guidance for these changes.

In this topic

You can access process guidance from Team Explorer, the project portal, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Project. For more information about how to access process guidance, see Access a Team Project Portal and Process Guidance.

Process guidance is used to coordinate the efforts of all team members. You use process guidance to answer questions about team roles and responsibilities and specific items that are used on the team project, such as reports and work items.

If you work on multiple team projects that use different processes, process guidance helps provide the details that you need to know when you switch between team projects.

If you work on a single team project, process guidance is still useful. Reports, work items, queries, and other items can change over time, and the process guidance should be up-to-date on how to use these items.

The following table describes the process guidance content that supports teams that use the process template for MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0.

Scrum or Agile practices

Related topics

Scrum: Describes the required practices for conducting Scrum to manage product development.

Scrum

Engineering practices: Describes specific practices that a team that practices Scrum can use to increase the speed at which they will be able to deliver value to customers. These practices come from agile methodologies and support agile principles and values.

Engineering Practices

Roles: Describes the responsibilities and activities that one or more team members will assume on a team that practices Scrum.

Roles

Meetings: Describes the purpose and frequency of meetings that are conducted when a team practices Scrum.

Meetings (Agile)

Artifacts: Describes the artifacts that are available and how they are used to support a team that practices Scrum. Each group of artifacts, such as team queries and dashboards, serves a specific function and provides opportunities to refine your processes over time.

Artifacts (Agile)

The following table describes the process guidance content that supports teams that use the process template for MSF for CMMI Improvement Process v5.0.

CMMI practices and processes

Related topic

Background: Introduces key concepts about CMMI, its application to software development, and a lean approach to working with CMMI.

Background to CMMI

Project management: Provides detailed practices for tracking projects and working with the CMMI process template to manage, plan, and coordinate development and maintenance of software products.

Project Management

Engineering: Describes value-added activities for discovering the information that is required to design and build software products. The Engineering grouping of process areas in the CMMI includes Requirements Development, Requirements Management, Technical Solution, Product Integration, Verification, and Validation. All of these are model level 2 or 3 process areas.

Engineering

Artifacts: Describes the artifacts that are available and how they are used to support a team that practices CMMI. Each group of artifacts, such as team queries and dashboards, serves a specific function and provides opportunities to refine your processes over time.

Artifacts (CMMI)

You can access process guidance for the artifacts that are defined for your team project, which is based on an MSF process template. Each team project provides types of work items, team queries, reports, dashboards, and workbooks. Process guidance provides explanations for all these artifacts to help the team coordinate efforts and to follow its processes.

The following table describes the process guidance for each group of artifacts that each MSF process template defines.

Artifact

Related topics

Work Items and Workflow: Describes each type of work item in terms of how to define it and the types of link relationships to create. It also illustrates and explains valid state transitions and which reasons to use that type of work item.

Work Item Fields: Provides reference information for each field that is used in each type of work item.

Team Queries: Indicates which work items each team query finds and which queries support workbooks.

Dashboards: Describes the burndown, progress, trend, and other Excel reports in addition to the Team Web Access Web parts that appear in the dashboard. Also, indicates the required activities that the team must perform for data in the dashboard to be useful and how you can modify and use the dashboard to monitor and track progress for your team.

Excel Reports: Describes the data that each workbook presents, the filters that you can use to modify the report, and the required activities that the team must perform for data in the workbook to be useful.

Workbooks: Shows examples of each workbook and how you can use it to manage your project.

Reports: Describes the data that Reporting Services presents, the filters that you can use to modify the report, and the required activities that the team must perform for data in the report to be useful. Most topics show healthy and unhealthy examples of each report.

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