One of the big changes made to the Agile & CMMI process templates in 2010 was to move the guidance outside of the process template itself and into MSDN (the guidance was shipped in past versions as a set of HTML files provisioned on SharePoint at the project creation). There were many contributing factors to the decision that I thought it would be useful to write about.
Discoverability – While the guidance was discoverable from within Visual Studio, that’s where it ended. We heard from many of you that you wanted to search the guidance and reference it in other materials. MSDN was a natural solution to this problem.
Integration with Help – Having “help” topics separate from “guidance” topics proved to be another stumbling block. It was never clear if you should look for the answer to a question in the help system? Or in the process guidance? The two are now integrated together into one experience.
Maintainability – The final factor in the decision was that MSDN provided a vehicle to update process guidance after the product ships. This is a huge step forward because it allows us to address common questions/issues or new trends/tools relating to the process itself or the product.
You can see the Beta2 versions of the Agile and CMMI guidance at the links below. It should be noted that that Agile guidance is only about 60% complete in this version and the CMMI version is only about 10% complete (see the Artifacts section in CMMI). More to come…
Update (4/28/2010) - I had a few questions so I wanted to point out that the links below are now hooked up to the RTM process guidance.