Getting started with Team Foundation Service



At the Build conference this week, a new service for the upcoming version of TFS was announced. They call it Team Foundation Service. This is a Windows Azure hosted solution of a Team Foundation Server, which is pretty cool! The TFS team definitely did a great job to bring the Application Lifecycle Management features of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server to a higher level. And from what I can say, it looks promising. In this post, I’ll describe some setup steps and a general overview of some new features. 



First of all you need an account for the Team Foundation Service on For now, you need an invitation code to create an account. (If you don’t have an invitation code, I have some left. Just post a comment..) Brian Harry already made a nice blogpost about the registration process and how to add and invite users to your Team Foundation Service environment. When you finish your registration (using your Windows Live Id), you’re in the adminstration mode of the Team Foundation Service.

One tip I can give is that the gray border on top indicates that you’re in administration mode. This is one thing I didn’t notice in the beginning. I was a little bit confused when I tried to open my team project when I was still in administration mode. But after a while I got whole point.

The first thing you can do is create your first team project. You can do this by clicking on ‘create team project’. There you get a dialog where you can enter a name and a project description. You can also select which process template you want to use. The Microsoft Visual Studio Scrum 2.0 Preview 1 template is selected by default. (More about this specific template will follow in a later post) Currently it is not yet possible to add extra process templates. But I think most of us will use the Scrum template or the Agile Software Development 6.0 template.

Creating the team project only takes about one minute or less. Actually it will queue a job in the background, and the service does some jobstatus polling to show the process status to the user.



After the team project is created, you can click on the ‘My Team home page’ and you are redirected. That’s the place where all the fun starts. On top of the page you see:

  • Home: where you have some shortcuts to your activites, and a link to some administration
  • Backlog: where you can add your userstories
  • Board: where you have a graphical overview of the running/sheduled/.. work items. There you can also change the status of the workitems.
  • Source: where you have the possibility to search in changesets, shelvesets. You can lookup code, compare code with previous versions.
  • Builds: where you get an overview of the build history. You can also manage the build qualities.



I spent some time on the Team Foundation Service now, and from what I experience it’s really good. It’s surprisingly easy to use and quite fast. I really like the ajaxified interface. The only things which I think will need some change are some usability issues. Apart from that, my first impressions are good.

In my next blog posts, I’ll cover some other things like the product backlog, work-items, the board, how to use Team Foundation Service with Visual Studio 2010,..   You can always share your personal experiences by adding a comment to this post.

Thanks for reading!

Written by
Alexander Vanwynsberghe
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Alexander Vanwynsberghe

Belgium-based entrepreneur. Into technology, innovation and a bit of cycling and running too. Evangelist for everything related to smart-tech.