A recent e-mail touched on a FAQ we usually get about integration between Project Server and Team Foundation Server. I hope the answer that follows answers this question. Here’s an excerpt from the e-mail:
Can you tell me when Microsoft plans to integrate TFS with Project Server? I understand there is a connector tool on GotDotNet, but that is for Beta 2, and appears to not have had any attention since late October 2005. It also is “unsuported” by Microsoft, so we are hesitent to try to update that code for the current release of VSTS/TFS.
First, some background…
Microsoft Office 2003 Project Professional has had a long history of bringing order to projects and aligning organizations with their objectives, across a wide range of industries.
Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 is an Enterprise Project Management (EPM) platform that provides centralization and standardization of project and resource information.
Microsoft Visual Studio has also had a long history of helping developers expand the frontiers of the Windows platform and tackle the most challenging programming tasks.
The integration between Microsoft Office 2003 Project Professional and Visual Studio 2005 Team System means customers gain even more productivity from these familiar tools. Customers who are comfortable with tracking all of their project data in Microsoft Project can still do so.
Team System (specifically, Team Foundation Server) gives customers the additional choice to synchronize the following with a Microsoft Project plan:
- Work item fields (e.g., title, description, attachments, etc.)
- Areas and milestones
- Users and groups
A typical scenario would start with project managers using Microsoft Project to create their project plans. The project manager then publishes their entire project plan, or just aspects of it, into Team Foundation Server. Development team members see this data as work items, which they can view and edit inside of Visual Studio.
During the course of a project, team members resolve, postpone and possibly reassign these work items. In parallel, project managers can synchronize this activity with their original product plans, which brings the project plan up to date by retrieving the latest state of work from Team Foundation Server. For example, Microsoft Project can use the time remaining in a work items to calculate project schedules and completion dates, just as if team members entered data directly into Microsoft Project itself.
Currently, Team Foundation Server supports loose integration with Project Server by using Microsoft Project plans as a means to synchronize data between the two servers. The Project Server–Visual Studio Team System Connector (available on GotDotNet.com) is an illustrative sample solution that explains the process for more tightly integrating Project Server and Team System to deliver even greater benefits of central planning.
This integration leverages two key areas of strength for Microsoft to deliver a better solution for customers in software development. Later this year, we’ll update the Connector to work with the RTM release of Team Foundation Server. Looking further into the future, we plan to formalize and increase the level of integration between Project Server and Team Foundation Server to maximize their potential.