So, what does Microsoft use for software development?

Recently, I had a chance to visit with some customers and partners in Europe.  While talking about Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) and Team Foundation Server (TFS), I was asked by numerous people if Microsoft is using TFS to manage our own application lifecycle activities. 


Historically we have used internally developed, proprietary tools for both source code control and bug tracking, but today we run TFS in Developer Division.  Essentially, we’re running our business on the same tools we sell to our customers.  In fact, we are using the VS 2008 version of TFS for building VS 2008.


Since releasing TFS in the spring of ’06 we’ve deployed 21 instances of the server to support 600 projects across Microsoft.  Today there are over 5,000 Microsoft employees using TFS to manage product development and internal IT projects.   


The largest deployment is our own Developer Division server supporting 2,500 users.  This is our “dogfood” server, meaning it’s the first deployment for TFS that is a part of VS 2008.   The server is located in Redmond and supports US based teams in North Carolina and Redmond; and international teams in Hyderabad, India and Shanghai, China.  We’ve been using this server for two years and it has amassed an impressive amount of data to track the history of the project.  We have nearly one hundred million files under version control!  And the team has tracked 250,000 work items through the system.  For many more statistics on our dogfood server, take a look at Brian Harry’s blog.


The history for all this work is captured in an integrated data warehouse, essentially a big SQL server cube.  The reports from this cube are giving our engineering managers, for the first time, “apples to apples” comparisons of project management metrics across the portfolio of features being delivered into the next release of Visual Studio.  This is where TFS really begins to add value for us.  


SQL Server and Office are two other major product teams that are using TFS today.  We are making good progress on ensuring that we are betting the farm on the tools that we are asking our customers to use.  



Comments (11)

  1. OPC Diary says:

    Somasegar’s WebLog : So, what does Micro…

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  4. You are at dogfood and I am still using VSS 6.0


  5. Lawrence Parker says:

    Impressive usage, and glad to see the dogfooding.  How much did the various groups using the Work Items module customize the out-of-box offering, and are these templates available for download?


  6. jeffbe says:

    Larry –

    With so many different teams dogfooding Team Foundation Server within Microsoft, the answer to your question varies from team to team.  Many of the smaller teams utilizing TFS are quite content with the work item types, reports and process guidance from MSF Agile while others, such as our team in Developer Division, have extensively customized our work item types to meet our specific and somewhat esoteric needs.  I recently did a survey to understand the types of customization that customers have implemented and you can read the results of that research here:  



  7. Keith Patrick says:

    I’ve been at 3 separate places in the last year that wanted to use TFS, but each time, the prohibitive factor has been cost. I’m not sure of the licensing details, but apparently sticking with VSS was the more cost-effective move every time (even though VSS can be a nightmare to work with across a large network). Don’t get me wrong…everyone from developers to managers wanted to move to TFS, but it’s been just too expensive for the moderate-sized places I’ve been at.

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