New Lab: Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with Team Foundation Server 2013

When we shipped the Visual Studio 2013 ALM Virtual Machine earlier this month we were still in the process of finalizing one of the hands-on-labs / demo scripts. This work is done and you can now access Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with Team Foundation Server 2013.

If you are not yet familiar with the agile planning tools introduced in Team Foundation Server 2012, you should start with Exercise 1 of this lab. In this exercise you will learn how these tools can be used to help a small team manage their backlog, break work down into iterations, and track this work using a task board.

Exercise 2 introduces the new agile portfolio management capabilities introduced in Team Foundation Server 2013. These capabilities allow you to “scale agile” across your entire organization by providing you with a hierarchy for your backlog. This means that I can have several smaller teams sprinting together to achieve related objectives, and I can track that work in either a top-down or bottom-up manner.

Finally, Exercise 3 will show you a few of the ways that Team Foundation Server 2013 allows individual teams to maintain some autonomy in the way they work without requiring core process template changes on the shared team project that you might be using across the entire organization. Features such as the Kanban board and work item tags can be customized on a per-team basis to adapt to the individual needs of those teams.


We hope you enjoy this new lab, and as always your feedback is welcome.

Comments (14)
  1. Neil W says:

    Do any of the hands on labs cover the integration of TFS 2013 to Project Server 2013? We are using TFS 2010 with Project Server 2010 and are looking to see how the new Agile Planning and Portfolio Management tools in 2013 work with Project Server. Any idea if 2013 works with hiearchical project plans from Project Server?

  2. Brian Keller says:

    Hi Neil,

    That's a good question. These two approaches aren't really designed to work together for portfolio management. We expect organizations will pick one or the other. We find that for some organizations, using Project Server is the "standard" within their organization. For these organizations, TFS provides a great integration experience so that you can synchronize work across those systems. For organizations who don't use Project Server, or are looking for a much lighter weight method of organizing their development projects, the agile portfolio management capabilities of TFS 2013 provide one such option.

    I would be interested in learning more if you envision a better way that this could work for you.


  3. Neil W says:


    Here's what we want, we want ability to keep in sync bidirectionally Project Sever and TFS at various points in the hiearchy on either system. Push from TFS to PS with hiearchy (especially with 2013's new portfolio management features that RELY on parent child links), or Push from PS to TFS with hiearchy (summary tasks should show up as epic/initiative/goal parent level items in TFS).

    We have folks using Project Server for daily timesheet entry (we are required to bill back developers time to the business units/customers), and we have folks in TFS entering tasks, there are times when we need to push everything from TFS to a Project Server Enterprise Project plan, and there are times when we need to push everything from an enterprise project plan to TFS.

    What we've found to date is that if we have summary tasks in project server then when we push items to sync to TFS, we end up items in TFS who's updates are not synced back into Project Server. It's like the sync isn't a true sync but a one-way one-direction bridge between the systems especially if you parents and children / summary tasks.

    I like TFS, LOVE TFS, but until you can give my executives an earned value curve out of TFS….and integrate TFS with SAP…and having resource hourly bill rates that can be sent to business units then we'll need to continue to use BOTH TFS and Project Server.

    Please don't go build Project Server into TFS…instead make the 2 play BETTER together.

  4. Brian Keller says:

    Hi Neil,

    Thank you for taking the time to provide more input on this scenario. I've passed it along to our program management team who looks after this scenario. This is helpful.

  5. Eric P says:


    I wanted to second Neil's sentiments. In my organizatio,n we are working on better ways to manage our lightweight projects with TFS, but in the end, everything needs to be pushed to Project Server for our enterprise level reporting. The integration is key to keeping duplicate entry from being necessary.

  6. Brian Keller says:

    Thanks Eric, I have passed it along.

    If one of you has a moment can I trouble you to file this request on our UserVoice?

    That way we can start to get a sense how popular this would be. We take our UserVoice seriously and it drives a lot of our roadmap decisions.

  7. Thanks Brian…that's great!

  8. Roger Osland says:

    +1 Eric, Neil, Dan. Our PMO group has the control in our org and everything has to be accountanted for in Project Server. What that means today is we use TFS for just source control and builds, but we have to use Project Server for Requirement and Task management. We'd love to use TFS work items and all the agile planning features/boards, but because we can't figure out how to get the two systems to play nicely together we get to use PS Server for it's timesheet, and we continue to investigate if the two systems will play nicely together. Some decade we'll get our PMO group onto TFS…and away from Project Server.

  9. Tanya Sundberg says:

    We are running TFS 2012 in our development organization and those of us who are project managers need to use Project Server to plan team capacity and team budgeting from project server. We apparently have the integration setup in such a way as to not be able to use multiple enterprise project plans with TFS projects. Is there any clear guidance for how a PM can easily make her Project plan get updates from TFS work items? I'm not an admin in either system…but I have resources entering time in like 3 places…and I want to make it easier for them to update in just one place. The developers keep saying that they have to enter workitems in TFS but that those work items should be published to Project Server but I just don't see anything being pushed across to my subproject enterrprise project plan. Is this a better experience in TFS 2013?

  10. Brian Keller says:

    Hi Tanya,

    Sorry your question is beyond the level of support I provide via this blog. I'd suggest referring your TFS and PS administrators to the TFS+PS integration documentation:…/gg455680.aspx


  11. Ankush says:

    Hi Brian,

    I am new to TFS and PS 2013 integration and was looking for a doc/books which can give me a start.

    I have all the bits installed but now I would like to configure everything from a scratch but I was not able to find any article/book which can provide step by step guide info.

    Basically, I would like to

    a. create a mpp plan )which will be done by project manager)

    b. via project server, it gets into TFS 2013/TFS 2012 and then TL add more task(s) to it.

    c. It comes back to manager for approval.

    I couldn't find any article which explains how to set this up (I saw your vms but everything is already setup there)

    Any help here…


  12. Brian Keller says:


    Take a look at the MSDN Library article I provided in reply to Tanya in my comment above.

  13. Tanya Sundberg says:

    Brian, I'm not an admin in ether system…just a lowly PM trying to report to senior managment what the development team has delivered and what the development team will deliver in the next quarter. I guess I'll just keep up with the entry in 3 places for the folks…sure would be nice to have a unified experience.

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