Announcing Team Foundation Server Scrum v1.0 Beta

7/19/2010 Update - this post applies to the beta release of this template.  For details on the RTW please see this updated post.

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Today , we’re announcing and releasing a brand new process template… Team Foundation Server Scrum v1.0 Beta.  This is a new process template built from the ground up specifically for Scrum teams.   So, why a new template?  Quite simply, because you told us you wanted one.   Scrum has become a dominant methodology in software development and you have told us that you want a process template aimed directly at Scrum teams. 

I’ve written up a quick FAQ below to help with common questions.   I’ll update this thread with additional questions and answers as they come in.  We would love your feedback, so download the template and give it a shot.  Click here to visit the Visual Studio Gallery where you can download the template.

Q:  How does Team Foundation Server Scrum differ from MSF Agile v5.0?

A:  TFS Scrum v1.0 is a Scrum process template.  Nothing more, and nothing less.  In contrast, MSF Agile v5.0 is an Agile process template that can be used to apply a variety of Agile practices/methodologies including Scrum.  The biggest differences between the templates are found in the work item types, terminology, and state transitions. 

TFS Scrum v1.0 WITs MSF Agile v5.0 WITs
Product Backlog Item User Story
Bug Bug
Task Task
Impediment Issue
Test Case Test Case
Shared Steps Shared Steps

Below are screenshots of the Product Backlog Item, Bug, Task, and Impediment work items. 

Product Backlog Item BugTask image 

Q:  Why did Microsoft decide to have both a Scrum and Agile template?

A:  Because you told us you wanted both of them.  We have many customers that want a generic Agile template that can be used to implement Scrum and other Agile methodologies.  MSF Agile does this very well.  At the same time, we have many customers that want a very prescriptive Scrum template that matches the terminology they read in the Scrum literature.   Enter Team TFS Scrum v1.0.

Q:  How is the state model different between Team Foundation Server Scrum differ from and MSF Agile v5.0?

A:   MSF Agile 5.0 uses a fairly consistent state model across all work item types:  Active –> Resolved –> Closed.  TFS Scrum v1.0 uses a unique state model for each work item type that matches common Scrum terminology.  For example, a Task work item in TFS Scrum v1.0 has the following state model:  To Do –> In Progress –> Done.

Product Backlog Item and Bug Work Items


Task Work Item


Impediment Work Item



Q:  What reports are included in TFS Scrum v1.0?

A:  The first release of the template includes 3reports:

  • Release Burndown - Indicates how quickly the team is completing work and delivering Product Backlog Items. 
  • Velocity - Indicates the amount of effort the team is completing in each sprint.
  • Sprint Burndown - Indicates the team's progress towards completing its work for a sprint


imageimage image


Q:  Why are there only 3 reports in TFS Scrum v1.0?

A:  We recognize that there are many more reports that could be helpful to a Scrum team.  However, with this first release of the template we wanted to including what we felt were the necessary reports that a Scrum team needed to be successful.

Q:  How is the Sprint work item intended to be used?

A:  The Sprint work item is intended to capture the sprint dates, sprint goal, and sprint retrospectives.  Because TFS does not have a method for storing dates on iterations, we chose to create a Sprint work item that allows you to capture sprint dates and other sprint data directly in a work item.  You can see in the screenshot that the Release 1\Sprint 1 work item is mapped directly to the Release 1\Sprint 1 iteration.  When you create a new project with TFS Scrum v1.0 by default the project is provisioned with 24 sprint work items and 24 matching iterations. 


Release 1:  Sprint 1-6

Release 2:  Sprint 1-6

Release 3:  Sprint 1-6

Release 4:  Sprint 1-6

With this model, you have both Sprint work items AND iterations… the trick is that you should have only one Sprint work item for each iteration that you create.   For example, if you created a new iteration named Release 4\Sprint 7 you would want to create a new Sprint work item and assign it to Release 4\Sprint 7.  The dates for this new Sprint would be entered directly on the Release 4\Sprint 7 Sprint work item.

The advantage to this approach is that when you’re working with reports in the template you don’t have to enter dates.  Instead, you just select the Sprint(s) that you’re interested in viewing.  The dates are read directly from the Sprint work item and used in the reports.

Q:  Can I move my data from my existing project in TFS Scrum v1.0?

A:   Yes.  You can use the TFS Integration Platform to create a mapping between any existing team project an the new TFS Scrum v1.0 template.

Q:  How does TFS Scrum v1.0 deal with Bugs?

A:   Defects found that relate to work outside the current Sprint are added to the Product Backlog as Bug work items.  Defects found that relate to work in the current Sprint are added by the team to the Sprint Backlog as Tasks work items.  These defects represent unfinished work, and should be completed by the team during the Sprint. 

Q:  Where is the process guidance?

A:   We’re writing the guidance for the work items right now, but we won’t have it ready until the beta is complete.  You’ll notice that in the interim the process guidance directs you to   We worked closely with Ken Schwaber and others at in the creation of this template.  If you’re new to Scrum I highly recommend you download and read the Scrum Guide.

Q:  How long will the beta be?

A:  As long as it needs to be (I know, that’s a cop-out answer, but it’s the truth).  We don’t anticipate a long beta however, so if you’re got feedback, send it our way.  🙂

Comments (24)
  1. Gaurav says:

    Great stuff. Trust that dynamic ranking of user stories/tasks in your product backlog !

  2. El Bruno says:

    Good work … let's give it a try ^^

  3. Roy Dictus says:

    This looks promising. It seems to be somewhere between MSF Agile 5 and EMC2's Scrum for Team System v3. I'll definitely be evaluating this template in the coming weeks!

  4. James says:

    The above is great at explaining the differences between the two, and I for one am keen for a more succint process template.

    Clearly there is some uncertainty about which scrum template is best, and it would be great if someone could elaborate on how to choose which one.

    For example, there has been a great deal of fuss about the new "Certified Scrum Developer" course just as Visual Studio 2010 (and Team System 2010 with the MSF Agile 5.0 template) was released. Which process template would fit that training the closest? (I know there isn't a simple answer to this and that it depends, but which is closer?)

    Put differently Is the training closer to the traditional scrum terminology and process or closer to the MSF Agile variation?

    The above detail is very usefull, but how do I decide which? What are the pro's and what are the con's of each?

    It is my experience that teams that are new to scrum or small organisations that have less budget and tollerance for overhead, tend to fair better where there is less optional bits. It keeps things simplified and clear. I fully appreciate that larger teams/organisations have greater need for more detail and "user defined" setups. That in mind, would it be an accurate to say that this TFS Scrum v1.0 aims to achieve just that?

    Where is it going compared to the road map of MSF Agile?

    Technical questions:

    • Can this template be used on Team System 2008?

    • Can the TFS Integration platform migrate from a MSF Agile 4.2 template to TFS Scrum v1.0 on TFS 2008?

  5. Aaron Bjork says:

    James, I think choosing a template is something that's different for everyone.  Our goal in building the Scrum template was to provide a template that gives a great experience for Scrum teams… teams that are doing "pure Scrum" if you will (not mixing practices/methodologies).  We definitely want teams to have choices, and between MSF Agile 5.0, MSF CMMI 5.0, TFS Scrum 1.0, and the many other templates built by partners and the community there are a lot of good options.  Which is "best" is really a question about which template best fits the needs of your team.

    The new Professional Scrum Developer course taught by will be taught with this new template.  I've worked with Ken Schwaber and many of the trainers of that course to incorporate their feedback as we put the template together.

    In answer to your questions about what TFS Scrum v1.0 aims to achieve, my answer is "Yes".   There's no doubt that we'll be adding to this template and maturing it in the future, but I definitely see a roadmap for both the Agile and Scrum templates.  Each has a distinct purpose as process templates aren't "one size fits all".

    It's not compatible with 2008 as it leverages hierarchical work items which are not supported in 2008.

    And yes, the TFS Integration platform can be used to migrate to TFS Scrum v1.0.

  6. James says:


    Makes good sense – much appreciated!

  7. Hartmut says:

    Hi Aaron,

    thanks for the Beta, but although I don't want to be negative – it would be great to have a Scrum template with a true points-based burn chart – there are a couple of things that keep me wondering:

    • how would you find tasks (assigned to you, non-blocked in the active iteration, non-assigned, etc.)?
    • the reports don't work (find no data, stop with rsErrorReadingNextDataRow) — what fields are necessary – and why don't you require the user to enter data right there (e.g. effort before starting on a task)

    • the state transitions are a bit too limited for my experience, there is no undo and thus no room for error. what should you do after mistakenly activating a task?

    • bug workflow – it feels a bit arbitrary – are you finished with this?

    • are bug / test plan reports from ASF compatible with the Scrum template?

    • what about min/max estimation and derived risk value?

    • are you planning Excel spreadsheets for iteration planning?

    So log,


  8. Aaron Bjork says:

    Thanks Hartmut.

    Is the release burndown sufficient for a points based burndown?  Or are you after something just for sprints?  I'll take a stab at some of your questions…

    1.  Finding tasks – Isn't this as easy as writing a work item query?  I'm not entirely sure what you're driving at here.  
    2.  Can you send me a screenshot of the errors you're seeing?  This is the first I've heard of trouble with the reports.  The Burndown chart requires hours on tasks in order to display data.  We chose not to make the template restrictive with regards to how/when people enter hours, but I think you're making a good point.  

    3.  Agreed on the state transistions.  We're fixing that now.

    4.  Bug workflow… tell me more.  What are you after?

    5.  We're definitely looking at additional fields, but again, we wanted v1 to be the basics with the intent that v2 will add additional fields that the community deems necessary.

    6.  At ths time, no, we're not planning on adding Excel spreadsheets.  We're open to listenting to feedback on this one however.  How important are they from your perspective?



  9. Wes says:

    I am looking for an overall project management Portal.  I see the portal for those specific tasks assigned to me, however, as the project manager I would like to be able to see a project summary portal.  Does one exist and I am just missing it?

    Thanks for any help!


  10. Hi,

    What is the difference between your SCRUM template and de TFS template from



  11. Aaron Bjork says:

    Wes – have you seen Release dashboard on the portal?  It's focused on the project and I think should have what you're looking for.

  12. Aaron Bjork says:

    Peter – In 2010, EMC has taken their Scrum template more in the direction of coupling it with consulting arrangements.  They still have a template, and it's more extensive than what we have in our v1 (more reports, more complex/deep state management, etc).  Our goal was to provide a very simple and very straightforward implementation of Scrum which we'll be extending and maturing over time.

  13. SteveFromPekin says:

    Actually, these reports more accurately represent how we are working that the Agile.  I guess from the start we are using a combination of both methodologies.   But… right off the bat, when I bring up the Project Portal I see that the Project Dashboard no longer comes up.  I have a MyDashboard but the Project Dashboard is missing.  I thought I had downloaded and installed the Templates correctly.  Is this correct?

  14. houguan says:

    If I using this beta template in my team project, what happen when the Released Template out?

    Am I able to switch the existing team project to the new released template?

  15. Aaron Bjork says:

    Houguan, when the released template is delivered we will provide a detailed list of the changes between the Beta and the final version so teams can apply the changes to any in-flight projects.  At this point, the changes are fairly minimal.



  16. Greg Duncan says:

    It's a little unclear (or maybe I missed it) but with this project template be "included in the TFS box"? I.e. a standard part of TFS (say included in a future SP or in included in TFS vNext, etc?). Can this template be considered to truly be the third "official" TFS Project Template from Microsoft? Or is this just a cool "additional" template that will never likely be in the TFS box?

    My concern is that I've seen other Scrum TFS Project Templates from MS come and go and before investing time in this one, I'd like to be sure it's "real." That it will have the same level of support and lifetime of the CMMI And Agile TFS templates…


  17. leo says:

    It may be a basic question but, how should we deal with the situation that a work item must be deleted, (sprint, task, backlog) ?

    Good work on this template, very straight forward, exactly what I was looking for.

  18. Aaron Bjork says:

    Leo – the work items have a state named "Removed" that the queries filter out.  So, if you need to delete a task/PBI/etc you can move it to the "Removed" state.  In the Beta the state transitions were too restrictive so we're relaxing them now for the RTW release so that it's easier to put work items into that state.  We didn't anticipate needing to delete a Sprint… our thought was that it should remain to track history even if aborted/failed/etc.  Thoughts?

  19. Aaron Bjork says:

    Greg – yes, this template will eventually be "in the box".  Obviously our plans for vNext are not copmletely nailed down, but I anticpate having an Agile and Scrum template moving forward along with our CMMI template.  This is not just a "cool additional template".  

  20. Frank Boyne says:

    Could you discuss the differences between the "Description" and "Description HTML" columns in Process Backlog Items please?  The two columns seem to be capable of holding different values.  It appears that only the Description column can be bulk-modified via Excel since the Description HTML column is read-only.  Yet the Description HTML value is the one that appears in the Description tab of an individual PBI?

    Or, am I being entirely clueless (again)?

  21. Aaron Bjork says:

    Frank – the Description field is a plain text field that does not support rich text formatting.  DescriptionHTML is a nfew field we added in this template to support rich text formatting.  You're absolutely right that today HTML fields cannot be edited in Excel… because of that, they appear as read-only.  We chose to go ahead with the DescriptionHTML field despite this limitation as the ability to record text in a rich manner is something our customers have long asked us for.  I understand the Excel pain and realize that this prevents bulk editing of the Description field in Excel.  🙁  We had to choose one, and rich formatting won out.

  22. James says:

    Excited to give this a shot with my team.  Thanks for uploading!

  23. R says:

    A question for all the experienced SCRUM users;

    Is this a good template for someone starting new with scrum and TFS?

  24. Aaron Bjork says:

    @R – I think it is… but I might be biased.  We built the template for this exact scenario.  We wanted people who are new to Scrum to be comfortable using this template.

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