REVIEW - Visual Studio Team System - Better Software Development for Agile Teams


Visual Studio Team System

Better Software Development for Agile Teams


James W. Newkirk, Will W. Stott


Pearson Education (2007)




Ed Sykes


January 2009



VSTS: BSDFAT is essentially a rehashing of Kent Beck's work on extreme programming as presented in Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change and Test Driven Development. The authors frame XP in the context of a project with a broken process which adopts the Team Foundation System (TFS) in order to fix it. It focuses on the usual agile practices of version control, continuous integration, automated builds, Test Driven Development, Automated Customer acceptance tests and continuous planning. All the advice for these subjects is useful and accurate and will set novices in agile practices heading in the right direction. There are also some anecdotes that help to lend legitimacy to the advice given.

This book succeeds as a worked example of a team adopting agile practices, however for someone with experience of working in an agile environment the book is not weighted enough towards team foundation system. At the end of reading this book I was disappointed to find that I hadn't learnt anything new from this book. Admittedly my appreciation of the book was tainted by my level of proficiency with my old toolset and my skill level. I was looking for something similar to Laura Winguards 'Practical Perforce' that would explain how to use the building blocks of TFS to get more out of it. This is definitely not that kind of book. Going straight to the Kent Beck books will give you a better grounding in agile practices and the TFS documentation grounds the reader as well as this book.

This book is not going to help you to understand the Team Foundation philosophy. It's not going to help to mould you into the Team Foundation tool set or help you become a power-user. I can't recommend this book, not even to someone with a limited budget, because you can buy both of Kent's books for the same price and the TFS documentation is free.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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