Visualizing work item graphs in VS2010

In Visual Studio 2010, released today, there is a new visualization tool which, in-the-box allows you to generate a quick graphical view of your code, amongst other things. Chris Lovett was a key architect of this tool, and has some great blogs about it’s features and how to get the most out of it. See

The tool visualizes data expressed in a markup language called DGML, which means you can visualize any data which can be rendered in this form. I’ve been using it internally to help understand the wealth of project management data we have stored as work items in TFS. In particular VS2010 supports typed relationships, which means you can express much richer information about the relationships between work items, which is great, except that it can be difficult to track what’s going on even by using tree-based queries. So being able to visualize the work item graphs as graphs is a real boost. It’s great, then, to find a project on codeplex which shows you how to visualize your TFS work item data using DGML: A screenshot is given below.

If you think this would be useful to you, you may like to think about other ways of visualizing the data. One thing we’ve managed to do is group stories by area rather than iteration, and then create a graph per iteration which is filtered only to show the stuff for that iteration, as well as a graph that spans all iterations, or some appropriate subset. Then you can nest tasks under stories, and use colouring to indicate % completion of tasks, which can also be aggregated up to stories, and then up to feature areas containing the stories. If there are no tasks, then the estimates against the stories are used to calculate completion and amount of work remaining. This allows us to see, at a glance, how much we’ve completed per sprint and at any time in the sprint, as well as for the whole project.

By Iteration.png

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