It´s often hard to keep track of your project on a daily basis: implemented requirements, open bugs or unfinished tasks accumulate over the course of a project and cannot be visualized easily. For this purpose, the Microsoft Team Foundation Server has been actively supporting you for several years with tools like reporting or since TFS 2012 with backlog features (e.g. Agile Portfolio Management) on the web access.
However, reporting is not the final truth. It does not enable you to modify work items and the web access visualization is not customizable… One thing came up quite frequently in conversations with non-TFS-using project managers concerning the abilities with Microsoft Office Visio: “Wouldn’t it be nice to just press a button and transform all these work items into a Visio drawing?”
With our brand new free tool VisioToTFS this is now possible. We implemented a first prototype based on a few basic requirements. The features are still quite limited, but even now, this fantastic combination of Microsoft Team Foundation Server and Microsoft Office Visio shows the opportunities it offers to its users.
As you can see there is a new ribbon called “Team” visible in Visio supporting you with the default TFS connection dialogue and the ability to choose a hierarchical query. Pressing the button “Get Work Items” starts the import from TFS to Visio objects.
A clearer overview through better visualization
The next wish is obvious: Mark items with specific attributes like state, priority or type with a specific color, and mark untouched backlog items more discretely, maybe in a light grey. With this feature enabled you can easily identify problematic project areas and modules. The rules for colorization are already customizable via XML.
After importing the work items to Visio and marking them according to their attributes all we have to do is to provide you with the ability to edit and publish the work items back to the TFS. You can achieve this by simply selecting a Visio shape and entering the desired values into the appropriate edit boxes. The only thing you then have to do to publish back to the TFS is to press the “Publish” button.
Example: Project overview as diagram
As you can see in the example above there are some finished tasks and requirements in green, a backlog in grey and a critical module with open tasks and time lag. Items currently under progress are also easy to identify by their yellow color.
PS.: You can also use all the abilities from Visio to modify your diagram. How about a circle shaped diagram?
Especially on bigger and long term projects with several hundreds of items, this kind of map visualization is unbeatable. Moreover, seeing the chart turn more and more “green” will positively motivate your team when they see the project “VISIO”alized.
Download the free tool
Did we arouse your interest? Just send us a short email, and we will forward you the first prototype of VisioToTFS for Microsoft Office Visio 2010