Visual WIP Beta 2 is now out!

New and improved UI and better custom visualization support

Visual WIP the Kanban visualization tool for Team Foundation Server that makes your Work In Progress (WIP) visible!



This is the second Beta release of Visual WIP as the API is stabilizing. Changes may be made to what framework Visual WIP will be built on and further UI changes will probably be made as well.

What’s new

  • Pan and zoom is reset when loading settings
  • Added support for work item type and size specific design
  • The TfsWorkItemWorkProvider now adds support to open and edit work items.
  • Work items looks more like sticky notes
  • Auto loading of settings on the command line
  • Auto refresh interval is moved to settings file

Implementation details

  • WorkItemViewModel now inherits from DynamicObject to simplify work item field binding and error handling.
  • Simplified event bubbling implemented
  • Some out of memory problems has been addressed

Find out more and download at

Some screen shots

A basic ToDo – Doing – Done board with no WIP limits.


A simple process with WIP limits. The Analysis and Development columns has to sub columns, Doing and Done, that share the WIP limit.


A three swim lane process with WIP limits


The settings window for a Team Foundation Server single query column. Team Foundation Server columns are populated based on Team Queries. Define your own or use existing ones.


Team Foundation Server work item editor. Double clicking on a sticky note on the board will bring up the work item editor for making changes and see more details.


How to create a Cumulative Flow Diagram in Excel and TFS 2010

Cumulative Flow Diagrams (CFDs) are valuable tools for tracking and forecasting the performance of your processes. In this post I will show you how you can create a Cumulative Flow Diagram in Excel that fetches the data from Team Foundation Server 2010 (TFS 2010).

As been pointed out on the KanbanDev mailing list by Daniel Vacanti the approach of counting items per process stage is a simplified way to construct CFDs. Daniel points in his book Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability out that this approach only works when the following two conditions are satisfied:

  1. Work items are not moved backward in your workflow.
  2. Work items are never completely removed before they are completed.

Keep this in mind if you use this approach.


In this example I ‘m using a modified MSF for Agile Software Development v5.0 template. I have added the following states to the User Story work item workflow:

  • Analysis
  • Analysis Done
  • Development
  • Development Done
  • Test
  • Deployed

Let’s get started.

Continue reading

Tutorial day at LSSC11–Implementing Continuous Flow

Today, Tuesday the 3rd of May 2011, was tutorial day at Lean Software and Systems Conference 2011. I had decided to attend the tutorial Implement Continuous Flow by Joshua Kerievsky and John Goodsen.

I was really looking forward to this tutorial and had high hopes for it. But I’m sorry to say that it did not live up to my expectations. It was way to focused on software practices for me. I was expecting much more on how to make an organization transition to a continuous flow approach. In hind sight this was my mistake as I didn’t look at the speakers backgrounds.

I actually left the tutorial right after lunch as I found out that the tools show case track had been moved to Wednesday and I needed some more preparations. I’m could have missed all the interesting stuff in the afternoon but it sounded like there was more software practices on the agenda.

But all was not lost. I had a great time at the welcome reception meeting lots of people I have followed on Twitter for a long time and others that I just met. Great conversations with lots of interesting people.

Yesterday, on the Monday afternoon, just after I arrived to Long Beach I meet up with a big crowed of speakers and other attendees for some beer and some great and relaxed conversations.

Here is a sneak peek at a screenshot from my presentation tomorrow on Visual WIP.

Swim lanes

Visual WIP a work flow visualizer – demo 1

Visual WIP or Visual Work In Progress is a workflow visualizer. Visual WIP visualizes work items from Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 based on Work Item Queries. This post describes Visual WIP early in the development and as it will be show at a demo.

Below are some screen shots that shows the basic functionality for Visual WIP 


Picture 1.

Picture 1 shows the main screen with the ribbon shown. This version support adding single columns to the board in the main window.


Picture 2.

Picture 2 shows the column settings window for a single column. You can set Column name, Work in progress limit and the Work Item Query in TFS that should be used to populate the column.


Picture 3.

Picture 3 shows the main screen again with four single columns added.

The column User Stories Development has it’s positioning tool shown. Use this tool to move: Up, Down, Left and Right. Use the sliders to adjust the Width and Height. The column User Stories Development has a WIP limit of 2 and both slots are taken.

The column User Stories Ready for test has a WIP limit of 2 but only 1 slot is taken.

The column User Stories Testing has a WIP limit of 1 and is taken.

The column User Stories Delivered has no WIP limit.

I will keep posting updates regularly showing the progress of Visual WIP.

Update: See progress by following the Visual WIP tag or go to the project at

Updated prototype of Team Foundation Server 2010 Kanban board

Today at Sumpan Lean Coffee I showed a slightly updated prototype of my Team Foundation Server 2010 Kanban board. I got some good feedback that I will try to incorporate as I progress. Below is a new screenshot.


I have added support for a shared work in progress limit over two columns as shown in the Development column.

Update: See progress by following the Visual WIP tag or go to the project at

First prototype of Team Foundation Server 2010 Kanban board

Update: See progress by following the Visual WIP tag or go to the project at

I have been looking for a Team Foundation Server Kanban board for some time and have not found what I was looking for. Some of my criteria’s have been:

  • Should be easy to setup and customize
  • Don’t force me to use a specific TFS Project template
  • It should be as easy to read the work items as when using post-it’s on a whiteboard

My thinking has been that the Kanban board had to support multiple monitors. The reason for this is the readability problem. With only one monitor you will either not see the whole board on you can’t read the text on the work items.

So after reading David J Anderson’s Kanban book I decided to build my own TFS Kanban board.

Below you see my first prototype.TFS2010KanbanColumns

Every window represent a separate step/state in the Kanban workflow. For every window you set:

  • Step/state name – Development, Ready for test, Testing
  • Work in progress limit – 2,2,3
  • A TFS Query that should populate the state

This design makes the board very flexible both how you populate the step/state with work items and how you want to position the different steps/states on a multi monitor setup.

I try to use visual signals for the work in progress limits by drawing a white box for every available work in progress slot. If you exceed the limit no white box is drawn around the work item.

There are some more work to be done to get this prototype fully working and I need some help with the visual design to make it more appealing before I do some field trials before a first public release.

Continuous deployment with TFS 2010 Build Agent

When looking at Visual Studio Lab Management and how deployment are done I found this diagram.


If you look at the Virtual Machine 1 box inside the Hype-V Host box you find Build Agent. This is the same as Build Agent A.1 used on the Build Machine for doing “normal” builds as shown in this diagram.


This means that you can use the the TFS Build Agent to do continuous/automated deployment even if you don’t have the Lab Management parts.

How to set it up

To make it work you could set it up something like in the diagram below.


On the Team Foundation Application-Tier the build controller will delegate the different parts of the build and deployment to the different build agents based on the assigned tags passed to build for the different parts. This can be done by adding process parameters as described at the end of Jim Lambs post on How to Create a Custom Workflow Activity for TFS Build 2010 RTM

You have to modify your build workflow to do the deployment. To do this you add a AgentScope activity for every server you want to deploy to. In the AgentScope you add what ever workflow activity you need to perform the deployment. Below is a very simple example.