MSF Process Guidance has been very useful, but one of the least talked about area in VSTS. Both out-of-the-box Process Templates:
- MSF for Agile Software Development
- MSF for CMMI Process Improvement
in VSTS provide very informative, user friendly and intuitive way of learning the artifacts defined in a software development lifecycle methodology. A lifecycle methodology may define different types of artifacts such as processes, work streams, activities, roles, metrics, enforcement policies etc. Generally, all these artifacts are documented in large static documents. Practitioners need to learn about these processes and artifacts by reading these long boring documents. However, the Process Guidance makes the learning process efficient and interesting by providing all the information about the methodology in an inter-connected set of HTML pages. You can browse through these pages according to the role you are performing or according to the activity you are pursuing. You can also see different work items and their fields involved in different steps of the activities.
Process Guidance is provided as a part of VSTS Process Templates and is processed by Windows SharePoint Services plug-in during project creation. Like most of the constituents of VSTS Process Templates, Process Guidance can also be customized according to the requirements of your methodologies. Many articles, blogs, documents have been written by a large number of authors on customizing Process Templates parts: Work Items, Classifications, Roles and Permissions, Source Control Policies etc. However, there was hardly any documentation available on how to customize the Process Guidance.
The final Process Guidance is available in the form of simple HTML pages, however customizing the Process Guidance is not as simple as editing the HTML pages. The Process Guidance is based on XML files and you need to use different tools including InfoPath, XML and XSL editors, and MSFWinBuild to get those inter-connected intuitive HTML pages from the source XML files. Finally, some attention has been given to Process Guidance and a set of 6 articles have been published on how to customize the Process Guidance. The articles are:
- Customizing the MSF Process Guidance
- Customizing Activities, Workstreams, and WorkItemTypes in the MSF Process Guidance
- Customizing Roles, RoleGroups, HowTos, HowToProcedures, and WorkProducts in the MSF Process Guidance
- Customizing Reports, Queries, Views, and Overview Pages in the MSF Process Guidance
- Adding Cross Referencing and CMMI Adherence to the MSF Process Guidance
- Building the MSF Process Guidance HTML Content Pages with MSFWinBuild