Pain is temporary, failure lasts forever

Lean, agile living for the running mother of Peter

2008-09-02

Using the Excel integration for TFS

Since I'm not a developer, I've simply installed the Team Explorer on my computer. I update simple stuff directly using the GUI in TFS, but sometimes I need to make bulk updates, send info to stakeholders or make some statistical analysis. Then I use the excellent Excel integration. It is easy as pie!
  • Right click a query in the team explorer and select to view in Excel.
  • Select a number of items in the result list, right click and select to view in Excel
When in Excel you can change which columns are visible and make bulk updates: simply make your changes and by clicking "Publish" you can simply upload your changes to the server. By clicking "Refresh" you can refresh the items in Excel from the server. Of course you can save your Excel file and re use it if needed.

I also like using the Pivot charts in Excel to enable fast data analysis. And since it's in Excel format, I can send the files to other stakeholders.

Another nice feature is the creation of story cards. I have my default query in Excel and then I use the Mail merge features in Microsoft Word to connect to the Excel file. I can then create my own story cards, which I can print before a sprint start. I use default A4 format and a three column layout. The first column consists of the title of the story and the other columns are used for other stuff which is of interest of the developers. It takes me about five minutes to create the story cards. My biggest problem is that the mail merge wants the columns to be at the top of the excel list, which is not the case then I'm using the Excel integration. But this is a small hazzle, since I can preview example text instead of the field tags. If you're in to Postits by husband recently bought A4 size large postits made for printing.

So, why choose when you can have it all!

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