Migrate a TFS project to another process template.

Back in 2011, 4 years ago I wrote a blog post called “Manual upgrade a TFS project to a new Process template”. Since then I have got some questions and feedback and now it’s time for an updated version based on the latest process templates in TFS 2015, this time from Agile to Scrum.

  1. Start with downloading the process template you want to upgrade to, to disk with the process template manager, for example to D:\MyDownloadedTemplate

2. Backup your old work item types in the TFS project you want to upgrade in case you need to do a rollback. Use the process template editor in Team Foundation Power Tools or from a Visual Studio command prompt with Witadmin.exe.

MD “C:\Temp\MyWorkItemBackup”

CD C:\Temp\MyWorkItemBackup

witadmin.exe exportwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /n:Bug /f:”Bug.xml”

witadmin.exe exportwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /n:Task /f:”Task.xml”

witadmin.exe exportwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /n:”User Story” /f:”UserStory.xml”

witadmin.exe exportwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /n:Issue /f:”Issue.xml”

witadmin.exe exportwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /n:”Test Case” /f:”TestCase.xml”

3. If you have custom fields, add them to the downloaded process template with the process template editor.

4. Some work item types have different names in Scrum and Agile; because of this you first have change the name in the new template to the name of the work item type in the old template, Impediment to Issue and Product Backlog Item to User Story.

5. Upload the Work Item types from the new template to your project with Witadmin.exe from the Visual Studio command prompt.

CD C:\MyDownloadedTemplate\Scrum\WorkItem Tracking\TypeDefinitions

Witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”ProductBacklogItem.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”Task.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”Bug.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”TestCase.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”CodeReviewRequest.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”CodeReviewResponse.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”FeedbackRequest.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”FeedBackResponse.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”SharedStep.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”Feature.xml”

witadmin.exe importwitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”Impediment.xml”

6. Rename Issue and User Story to Impediment and Product Backlog Item

witadmin.exe renamewitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /n:”Issue” /new:”Impediment”

witadmin.exe renamewitd /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /n:”User Story” /new:”Product Backlog Item”

7. Upload the categories.xml

CD C:\MyDownloadedTemplate\Scrum\WorkItem Tracking

witadmin.exe importcategories /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”Categories.xml”

8. Upload the ProcessConfiguration.xm

CD C:\MyDownloadedTemplate\Scrum\WorkItem Tracking\Process

witadmin.exe importprocessconfig /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /p:”Demo-Agile” /f:”ProcessConfiguration.xml”

9. If you want the queries associated with a Scrum project copy them from an existing project.

10. Remove your old reports from your project from the project report page and use tfpt.exe from Team Foundation Power Tools to create new reports.

tfpt addprojectreports /collection:http://MyTFS:8080/tfs/MyCollection /teamproject:”Demo-Agile” /processtemplate:”Scrum” /force

What’s new in TFS 2015

TFS 2015 is now in Release Candidate (RC) and is probably Release to RTM soon. There is a lot of new stuff coming, here are some of my favorites.

The license model

There are a few rather god changes in the license model, the biggest one is that if you are an acceptance tester running test from TFS Web Access you don’t need Visual Studio Test Professional any more, you just need a TFS CAL (client access license).

Team Rooms and Chart Authoring are included in the TFS CAL.

Visual Studio Ultimate and Premium will be merged to Visual Studio Enterprise

Agile planning

There are lots of new things simplifies Agile planning, here are some of them:

Sprint backlog

It’s now possible reorder both PBIs/Stories and Tasks and the sprint backlog, you can also move a Task from one PBI/Story with drag and drop.

Unparented Tasks are shown both in the sprint backlog and in the sprint board.

Customize Cards

Cards can be customized, you can select:

  • To show Work Item id or not
  • To select avatar, avatar and name or just name of the person assigned to the work item
  • Remaining work on a task
  • Tags
  • Up to ten extra fields to be added to the card

Bugs in the backlog or not

You can select if you want bugs to appear on the backlog and boards with requirements (PBIs and Stories) or on the backlogs and boards with tasks or not to appear on backlogs or boards at all.

The Kanban board

In the Kanban board you can now

  • Reorder your PBIs/Stories
  • Add new and edit Work Items
  • Split your columns in Doing/Done
  • Add more swimlanes
  • Add definition of done (DOD)

Other things

  • There is a @CurrentIteration variable in queries so you don’t have to change your sprint queries and charts every new sprint


  • You can share your personal queries with other people for a period of 30 days
  • There are text filtering on backlogs and queries


A wiki is included as part of the Team Project, you use Markdown language to write your content and you can create and edit files directly from TFS Web access. It’s of course possible to edit any file the same way.


There are a lot of nice development features but there are two a really have been waiting for:

  1. You can select if you want “Resolve” or “Associate” as default when you check in code associated with a work item
  2. Intellitest. Intellitest is a way to automatically create unit tests from your code. You need Visual Studio Enterprise for this.

Build and Release Management

The build and release system in TFS 2015 is completely new and is accessible from TFS web access. Apart from being web based it’s also cross platform, you will be able to build Xcode, Android and Java and use things like Ant, CMake, Jake, Maven Puppet and Chef.

First you select what kind of build you want to create.

Then you select your different steps.

And add new ones if you need.


Changes in the builds will be versioned.

The new build system will be ready from TFS 2015 RTM but we will have to wait for the new release system until TFS 2015 Update 1.

Change project name

It’s finally possible to change a projects name.


There is support for REST APIs and Service hooks




Managing security in TFS the easy way

The old way

Before the introduction of Teams in TFS 2012, managing Security was fairly easy, my recommendations to my customers was always the same, use AD-groups and let the TFS Administrator do all the work. Create three AD groups for every TFS project and add them to the TFS project groups.

TFS Group AD-group
Project Administrators TFS-MyProject-Administrators
Project Contributors TFS-MyProject-Contributors
Project Readers TFS-MyProject-Readers


Use the same groups and add them to SharePoint and Reporting Services according to this matrix:

TFS SharePoint Reporting Services
Project Administrators Project site-level Administrator Project site-level Content Manager
Project Contributors Project site-level Contributors Project site-level Browser
Project Readers Project site-level Readers Project site-level Browser


A great tool to help you do this is the Team Foundation Administration Tool in Codeplex

The new way

When Teams were introduced in TFS 2012 things changed, a Team Administrator could add users to a Team and they were automatically added to the project contributors group overriding the project contributor AD groups. I thought a lot about this and spoke to my colleagues at Solidify and my customers and the got the idea to try to skip the project AD groups and let the TFS project completely handle themselves and this way lighten the work load of the TFS Administrator.

Use the build in Security this way:

TFS Comment
Project Administrators The project administrator creates Teams and assigns Team Administrators
Team Administrator The Team administrator assigns members to his/her Teams and they are automatically added to the project contributor groups.
Project Contributors You might consider giving everyone in the Project Contributor group some or all of the following rights to make things easier:

  • Add/Change Areas
  • Add/Change Iterations
  • Create Shared Queries
  • Create builds
  • Create branches
Project Readers


Let the project administrator handle SharePoint and Reporting services the same way if you use them. You might even consider to give everyone read access to all project reporting sites to make thins easier.

Managing Access levels in TFS Web Access

Regardless if you chose the old way or the new way you also have to use the Access Levels in TFS Web Access to Access your users to the right Access Levels.

Acces Level Comment
Stakeholder This level is free and the user can add and change Work Items and se but not change the Agile planning
Basic This is the level for product owners, scrum masters and other people that are not developers but want to do Agile planning. Create the following AD-groups: TFS_CAL_Users and TFS_MSDN_Professional_Users
Advanced This level has access to all parts of TFS web access. Create the following AD-groups: TFS_MSDN_Enterprise_Users (former Ultimate and Premium), and TFS_MSDN_Test_Professional_Users


My recommendations here are that you set the default level to Stakeholder and create AD-Groups for the different MSDN licenses and add them to the Access Level groups. The reason to use AD groups here is that in my opinion that the AD groups are better for audit purposes and if Microsoft decide to change the license levels they are easier to move from one level to another.