Reading List for a TFS Implementer – get the President on the phone…

I just got off the phone with my friend Jim, and we had a great discussion. He originally wanted to talk about the Requirements Authoring Starter Kit for Visual Studio Team System ( RASK but I quickly lead him down the primrose path to a conversation about incremental implementation of process using Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server.  I wanted to share with you the results of our talk as it may help you to develop an implementation plan for your team.

Problem Statement
Small software development teams need basic skills to take them from chaos to process.
For many small teams of developers using Visual Studio, the most important lifecycle tool has been Visual SourceSafe. With the introduction of Visual Studio Team System, the scope of skills required for successful execution of tools supported software development process has increased.

Here is a short and non-exhaustive list of the skills that help teams to use Team System process effectively:
• Project management
• Software estimation
• Quality assurance
• Software testing
• Configuration management
• Unit testing

I want to share with Jim and with you a list of books that I have used to help develop the skills needed to succeed in a process-oriented development world. I hope this bibliography helps you to incrementally raise your skill levels toward a successful implementation of process with team System.

Software Engineering with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System
By Sam Guckenheimer
Addison-Wesley, Paperback, Published May 2006, 256 pages, ISBN 0321278720

This is a MUST READ! Please read this book straight away if you want to get the essence of process in Team System. I declared this book pure brilliance after reading the first four chapters. Pay special attention to chapters 1-4, 7 and 9.

Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art
Steve McConnell
Microsoft Press, Paperback, Published February 2006, 272 pages, ISBN 0735605351

This is a MUST READ! If you cannot tell the Software Estimation Story as revealed by Steve McConnell in your sleep, then you must get this back and learn about the Cone of Uncertainty. 

Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules
Steve McConnell
Microsoft Press, Paperback, Published June 1996, 647 pages, ISBN 1556159005

This is a MUST READ! Think of this book as the Jungian flow of software projects revealed. I recall reading this book and declaring that this book would forever remain on my nightstand so that I could get eternal inspiration after a bad day on the job. I love the chapter on Integrity.

Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change, 2nd Edition
Kent Beck
Addison-Wesley, Paperback, 2nd edition, Published November 2004, 189 pages, ISBN 0321278658

This is a MUST READ! Period.

Code Complete, 2nd Edition
Steve McConnell
Microsoft Press, Paperback, 2nd edition, Published June 2004, 914 pages, ISBN 0735619670

How often have I reached for this one over the years? The latest reach involved discussing the fundamental nature of software quality assurance and software testing with a customer. Check out chapters 20-22 for quality assurance. Short version – why do any QA? Answer – QA ultimately reduces rework, shortens schedules, and lowers cost.

Whoa! That’s a lot of must reads! I say enough already.

I will have a few more must reads in a week or three. I’m already having a great time reading Learning UML 2.0 from O’Reilly:

Learning UML 2.0
Russell Miles, Kim Hamilton
O’Reilly Media, Paperback, Published April 2006, 286 pages, ISBN 0596009828

More on UML later.

I almost forgot a quote. Here you go:

QUOTATION: Colonel “Bat” Guano: Okay, I’m going to get your money for you. But if you don’t get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what’s going to happen to you?
Group Captain Lionel Mandrake: What?
Colonel “Bat” Guano: You’re going to have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.

ATTRIBUTION: Stanley Kubrick (b. 1928), U.S. director, screenwriter, Peter George (1925–1966), U.S. screenwriter, and Terry Southern (1928–1995), U.S. screenwriter. Colonel “Bat” Guano (Keenan Wynn) and Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, arguing about whether Guano should shoot open a Coke machine, providing Mandrake with change so that he can call the president and avert a nuclear war (1964).


Best regards,