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Over the last few months my project team as been piloting TFS. Our inital reaction to TFS was wow, this stuff is great. Look at all this integration and niffy capabilities!

Well, the POC is now wrapping up and the end result is not in favor of continuing with TFS, so I thought I'd do a little public post-mortum....

After discussing the POC, expressing concerns/risks/likes/dislikes we went around the room and each stakeholder put in his/her final thoughts. Overwhelmingly the reponse was the same: While TFS has great promise, ultimately it's too inmature for large-scale, critical development.

While we're a group of smart techie guys who love the cutting edge, in our project full of risks the one risk we can't afford to have is a immature SCM package that wasn't really compelling for the users. We kept saying, can we use TFS, sure; but are we excited by it, are we aching for it, MUST we have it? No.

The cool TFS bells and whistles? Some of them are real, some are not so. (For example, why isn't TFS fully integrated with MS Project/Project server?) TFS has lots of eye-candy, but substance is lacking.

The development team was most concerned about source code control and build management:

  • The IDE is CLUNKY, various features spread out, hidden in odd places, some functionality here, some there.
  • We had some issues around continuous integration that forced us to rely on CruiseControl for part of our build process
  • Tools and utilities are lacking. The TFS Powertoys are a start but most of those features should be in the base product....

Cost, of course should be mentioned, although in our case it was not a deciding factor, it certainly was an influcing one. It's not cheap, and it's major compitition for us is open source.... 

So what will we be using? Well, a combo of my old favorites, SVN, Tortoise-SVNCruiseControl.NET, and possiblity Bugzilla or Trac for issue management. It's simple, solid, proven, mature technology with a large user community and rich tools.

We'll still use MSBuild for our build scripting, while it's got some rough edges and lacks some features NAnt had, it's a no-brainer being THE build system of VS2005. Testing? I don't know, we had already started down the MS-Test path, but now with TFS out of the picture, I suppose we'll we go back to NUnit? The two are so similar it doesn't really matter, but I'm sure that will be hashed out soon.

So how to I feel about the decision? I'm sad really. I really wanted TFS, I wanted it to work. I drank the cool-aid and was ready for the big TFS world. A couple of releases, a couple of years, maybe then...

You know what they say, Microsoft never gets it right until version 3....


Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 1:51 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Bye Bye TFS

# re: Bye Bye TFS
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Good post. We are looking to migrate to TFS, and it's good to get different opinions about it.
Left by Tim Hibbard on Sep 12, 2006 2:29 PM

# VSTS Links - 09/13/2006
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Andy Johns on Bye Bye TFS.

Rob Caron on Team Foundation Server Language Change Package.

Aaron Hallberg...
Left by Team System News on Sep 13, 2006 5:50 AM

# re: Bye Bye TFS
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Thanks for your candid feedback Andy. Clearly I'm sad (I'm the Product Unit Manager for TFS) that this is your decision. I hear your points and I'd love if you'd share any more detail with me that you can (at We are working very hard to make TFS a great product and there is plenty of work left to do. I definitely encourage you to take a fresh look at future releases - we've got a lot more great stuff coming.

Left by Brian Harry on Sep 13, 2006 3:53 AM

# re: Bye Bye TFS
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We've been using TFS pretty much since it was released and I have to agree with you. It's 10 miles of bad road. I wanted it to work but it's clearly not ready for prime-time. Now that the Kool-aid has worn off it really boggles my mind as to how this thing got released.
We've had nothing but trouble with it and are now pretty much at the end of our rope with it. The only thing it seems to do well is aggravate the team and waste our time. We're going to dump it in favor of SVN when our schedule permits.
Do you have any recommendations for moving from TFS to Subversion?
Left by TheGeoff on Nov 21, 2006 11:45 AM

# re: Bye Bye TFS
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Interesting to hear, our team has also decided not to continue with TFS and move on to subversion in combination with trac.
Left by The boy on Apr 05, 2007 1:10 AM

# re: Bye Bye TFS
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Have you revisited TFS at all since the 2008 release? I'm just curious to know if any of the new features address your concerns.
Left by John Burns on May 15, 2008 11:39 AM

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