Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Book Review: Visual Studio Team Systems: Better Software Development for Agile Teams

Long overdue with a review of this book…

Visual Studio Team System: Better Software Development for Agile Teams (Microsoft .Net Development) by Will Stott and James Newkirk.  ISBN 0321418506, published by Addison Wesley

This book covers a wide range of cool things in VSTS wrapped up in a solid introduction to and roadmap through agile practices.  Read the book and you’ll get great guidance to working with agile planning, test driven development, refactoring, agile modeling, and a number of other topics.

I have two small gripes with the book.  First is that it includes the seemingly mandatory, maddening “meet the development team and walk through each day in the project with them” storyline.  This book does no better than any of the other weak attempts at the novelization of a working team.  Leave that stuff off for novellas and focus on the technical aspects instead.  My second gripe is the book’s organization.  Planning is way back in section 8, modelling’s in 6, etc.  It seems a bit disjointed.

Those gripes aside, the content in the book is just great.  The walk-through of test driven development is solid, and the emphasis on having an environment and code base that can rapidly change to requirements is very nice.

The technical side relating to Team Systems is also solid. The guidance on using source control is well-written, and the section on working with team build is as good as it can be (I’m NOT a fan of team build).  The section on using and working with the process frameworks are solid, although I wished they’d covered the process editor add on.

I’m also very happy to see that the Framework for Integrated Testing (FIT) was included — I’ve been a long-time proponent of FIT and love seeing it in more books.

Overall this is a very solid book.  I like their approach to discussing agile, and I like their tie-ins to VSTS/TFS.  They gloss over some of the things I don’t like about VSTS/TFS, but hey, those are more my issues, not theirs.

This book is a good addition to your bookshelf if you’re looking to do agile in the VSTS/TFS world.

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