Having integration issues with your TFS and VSO?
You and everybody else on this planet. It’s hard to find means to seamlessly manage work items and support tickets in between your TFS and other platforms. Especially without having to resort to manual work and blind faith from your teams that they will remember to input it all.
There are solutions out there to the classic TFS failings, but most will contain some form of drawback. Here’s what to look for when on the market for a prepackaged all-in-one platform to replace or improve on your TFS experience:
4. Improve don’t muddle
Getting another platform for your workers to dabble in means finding something that does much more than TFS.
Too often you’ll try to find a small tool to workaround a specific issue and find yourself adding six more of those before the end of the week. By the end, it’s pandemonium, and you have to keep track of a complex production line involving praying on the diligence of all your workers and colleagues.
Get a tool that is a bundle of hundreds of tools. If it’s intuitive enough you might be able to slowly switch everything over to it over time.
When Microsoft descends from the mountain with a new program or software, it’s always written in stone.
It is intended for a specific purpose and not much else. You can of course have some luck moulding your work around the platform, but not much hope in trying to do it the other way. If this is a thorn in your work, then the keyword here is customization.
You need to look for a platform that offers that, and a lot more. Custom fields, changing navigation views, hide/show options, stackable and custom filters, multiple item statuses, etc.
The goal is to tailor the platform that has the tools you need to whatever scenario is necessary. You might not be doing the same thing you are now in a few months let alone years. Terms change, plans change, technology changes. Get something that can change with you.
TFS does not play well with others. He’s the kid with sharing issues. Any fix of TFS involves going through connectivity applications that just tack-on and bring you back to problem number one. This is an obvious one but it still has to be said: Get an application that can connect to TFS!
Just one, a good one. This shouldn’t be too hard either, most applications will offer a connectivity service to make sure you can go on using your old programs. You just need to make sure that this is a streamlined and easy process, one that the new application’s personnel is more than happy to help you set up. And this brings us to the last point.
Yes, support. Do you remember that? When you would send a question and feel like people were working to try and fix it for you?
Now it’s a little more like throwing a bottle in the sea and watch as messages come back saying : have you tried to do the obvious thing you already mentioned didn’t work?
Support is important. Large companies like Microsoft have an impressively complicated customer service system. One that doesn’t really work on a peer-to-peer basis. Pre-packaged answers and bouncing off one person to the next is just the natural order of things.
Find an application linked to a business with good creds when it comes to support, one you’ll feel confident will help if you start a ticket.
If you follow this you should narrow down your choices to a few good picks, give them a try and see which one fills the criteria best. Remember, they’ll all feel alien for a while. It’s in how they will make your work go from good to better, not how close they look to TFS!
Did I mention we run such a platform with a seamless integration to TFS and many other systems and applications? Well, we do. Just book a free demo to see how it all works!
Photo Credit: “Server Room” Sparkfun Electronics / CC BY