Stop! Don't Upgrade TFS!!!

TFS Upgrade Woes

Have you been putting off upgrading TFS and now you’re ready to upgrade?  Are you itching to take advantage of the great features in Team Foundation Server 2013 update 4?  Are you excited to take advantage of the query-based chart authoring in Team Web Access?  Do you want a better triage experience?  Are you hoping for an easier way to make bugs appear on the backlog and Kanban board?  Well, STOP!  Delete that download.  Don’t upgrade TFS.


Because the release of TFS 2015 is right around the corner!  In fact, on July 20th, Visual Studio 2015 will be released and soon after that, Team Foundation 2015 RTM is going to be available to download, and there are fantastic features in TFS 2015 which will make TFS 2013 update 4 pale in comparison.

Let’s do a quick rundown of what you’ll get if you wait until TFS 2015.

1. An Expanded Basic License

With the Basic license you will now get web-based test execution, Agile portfolio management, Work item chart authoring, and Team Rooms!

2. Bugs On The Taskboard

Not only can you choose to show bugs on your backlog, but you can now have them appear on the Taskboard!

3. A New @CurrentIteration Query Token

Now you can use a new query token, “@CurrentIteration”, which returns the current iteration based on today’s date.

4. Updated Process Template Names

The names of the process templates are no longer verbose, meaning they won’t include the version name.  Now they are simply “Scrum”, “Agile”, and “CMMI”.  These templates are locked and you will not be able to make changes to them.  To create a custom process template based on a shipped template you will need to export it, then rename it and reimport it.

5. Quick Code Editing

Now you can make a quick edit to a file using Team Web Access instead of having to pull up Visual Studio.  You also have the ability to add, delete, and rename files from TWA.

6. A New, Cross-Platform Build Automation System

There’s a preview of the new build automation system in Team Web Access. Moving forward, build automation created in TFS 2010, 2012, 2013, and VSO based on the Windows Workflow engine will be referred to as XAML Builds.  VSO and TFS 2015 will include the next generation of Team build as well, allowing the two build systems to run side-by-side.

7. Assign Multiple Testers To A Test Suite

You can now assign multiple testers to a suite of tests, supporting scenarios where you need multiple sign-off owners to run the same battery of tests.

8. Rename Team Projects

You couldn’t do it before, but now you can!  Rename your Team Projects!

9. Updated Kanban Board Features

There are lots of great features on the Kanban board.  Re-ordering on the board, split columns, and Definition of Done have been added, just to name a few new features.

10. Improved Identity Control And Avatars

A user’s avatar is now displayed in a lot more places where their name appears.  In addition, the identify control is more powerful and useful!

This is just a short list of the many improvements to TFS 2015.  As you can see, there are a lot of reasons you should consider waiting until Microsoft releases the next version of TFS later this month.  Until then visit Visual Studio Online to see some of these new features in action .  VSO is the online version of Team Foundation Server and it’s updated every 3 weeks with the latest features which will eventually show up in an on-premises update!  All you need to do is sign up for your free VSO account.  If you have an MSDN account, you already have access to one!  Just log onto MSDN, go to MSDN Subscriptions, and look for the Visual Studio Online section of My Account.  Getting familiar with the latest offerings which will be made available in TFS 2015 is good way to bide your time before the official release of TFS 2015!

Stay tuned because once TFS 2015 RTM is released we will have an offer that will make it really easy for you to upgrade!

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  1. ZephanS July 8, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Great post! Thanks for providing a great set of reasons to upgrade to TFS2015 rather than TFS2013 Update4. Are there any known scenarios where you or NW Cadence would recommend staying with TFS2013 or upgrading from TFS2010 to TFS2013 (latest update) instead?
    I am specifically looking at implementing a custom configured WIT to support some compliance requirements. I also have TFS2010 which we really need to upgrade very soon. I need to make sure our existing build process and WITs work with minimal risk of having to rework. Furthermore we have a known validated configuration of TFS2013 done by a separate team in the same company. If we host this configuration (WITs etc.) in TFS2015 we need to plan for testing to confirm configuration is still valid. Any changes needed to support TFS2015 (or to merge with the latest core WITs) may risk or break our hard project deadline.
    Thanks again for sharing your expertise and observations freely.
    Disclaimer: I have used NWCadence services in the past and have a good chance of needing help getting a compliance configuration implemented and ready for our validation process in the next few weeks.

  2. Rennie Araucto July 21, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for your reply and questions.

    Are there specific scenarios where I would recommend staying with TFS 2013 or upgrading from TFS 2010 to TFS 2013 instead? None come to mind. In fact, there are several reasons to consider upgrading from TFS 2010, improved build system (there are now 2 options, the original XAML build system and the new build system in TFS 2015), and a vastly improved team web access that includes Kanban functionality! There are other reasons to consider upgrading to 2015, but I can’t think of any deeply compelling reason not to, except if you have a incredibly large database (over 10TB), in which case you should make sure you run the pre-upgrade tool which will go through the database schema conversion process ahead of the upgrade, greatly reducing the potential downtime.

    Existing build processes will not be impacted, though you will likely need to compare your legacy WIT updates with the 2013/2015 WIT to make sure they do not conflict with the latest WIT. You should know that if you have a custom WIT, then an upgrade will not update your custom work items and you will not be able to use the latest features with the older WIT. You will then need to manually update the WIT to get the latest features. The old WIT will continue to work in most cases, but you will lose the new features.

    I would recommend, for time sake, that you consider using us to migrate your custom WIT’s into TFS 2015. We can probably do it faster than your team and make sure that everything is working correctly. In addition, when TFS 2015 is released in a few weeks (hopefully), we will have a TFS upgrade offer for customers that wish to have assistance with the TFS 2015 upgrade.

    As for getting a compliance configuration implemented, we have a lot of experience with that and would be happy to help!
    (Thanks for using us in the past!)

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