Customizing Team Foundation Process Guidance

Today I was considering writing my own editor for the Process Guidance files that are used to load up Team Foundation Server with custom process guidance templates (Work Item Types, Sharepoint documents and templates, Reports, Work Item Queries, Classifications, Groups and Permissions, and Version Control settings). It's basically a bunch of Xml configuration files along with some queries and Reporting Services reports, but mostly Xml configuration.

Before I got started ripping out an editor I thought I'd at least give Google a spin to see if someone else had already beat me to the punch. Sure enough, I found a great little utility on GotDotNet. The VSTS Customization Toolkit was exactly what I was thinking of writing.

There isn't really any documentation to it and I don't think it is final release yet as I discovered several bugs that look like they had a lot to do with just getting the Xml schema down correctly. Note, this could also just be Beta bugs in the Foundation Server importing the Process Guidance. Either way, be sure and pay attention to the following work arounds to easily crank out your own customized Process Guidance.

  • Must have a description
  • Must have at least one document library, with at least one folder, with at least one file, for the Sharepoint Portal
  • Must have at least one default Work Item.
  • In order to create custom fields, specifiy you own namespace for the RefName field.

The best way I have found to create my own process is to start with an existing one on the server, modify it locally, and then upload the newly named and modified guidance back to the Team Foundation Server.

Here is a walk through to give you a general idea of how to create or modify the process guidance to best suit your needs.

Step 1
Download a copy of an existing process guidance to a local directory. Open up the Process Template Manager by going to the Team menu, selecting Team Foundation Server settings, then Process Template Manager. Select the process you want to modify and select Download.

Step 2
Open the Process Template Editor that you downloaded from the VSTS Customization Toolkit workspace. At the connection dialog, select "Work Disconnected"

Click Ok on the warning dialog:

Step 3
Select the Open toolbar button and navigate to and select the Process Guidance.xml file in the root of the directory structure that was created by downloading the Process Guidance from the Team Foundation Server.

Step 4
Rename the Process Guidance and provide a corresponding description. Note, it MUST have some text in the description field or the upload to the Team Foundation Server will croak with errors about invalid Xml schema.

Step 5
Make all modifications that you desire, paying attnetion to the issues listed above.

Step 6
Click the Save button and exit.

Step 7
Upload the the Process Guidance to the Team Foundation Server.

That's all there is to it. You should now be able to create Team Projects with your new Process Guidance customized to fit your organizations needs and processes.