VSTS will save you time/money
June 05, 2018
VSTS will save you time/money
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Visual Studio Team System
Microsoft Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) is being used currently only by IT and a few select people in the business unit. The main goal of using VSTS from the business perspective was to improve communication, work item management, improve planning and increase visibility into product management. For the developers in IT, it was imperative to have more integration between business requirement and code, moreover, it also expedited development workflow (code reviews, etc).
- Work item management is fantastic and easy to use. It can be used as simply just tracking tasks, or as complex as tracing work items from multiple projects being assigned to a single developer. Work items can be customized easily to meet the needs of your organization as well, and it isn't difficult to manage the customization.
- Source code management is excellent and tied directly into VSTS. You have a choice of TFVC or GIT management options - we've switched to git and have not looked back. It is fully featured and commits can be tied directly to a work item using # tags.
- Metrics/dashboard - being able to write simple queries and move them to a dashboard in a few minutes is great. It enables team managers a quick board to review the status of a project and quickly act on any issues cropping up.
- Build and release management - if you don't have this... you'll want it. The integration is magic, the interface is easy, and to setup an automated build using the hosted agent was a breeze. We did have to purchase an additional license because of the number of builds we had, but it was worth it.
- VSTS has a log of flexibility... almost too much. It's hard to actually decide how best to use it until you just set it up and try it out.
- Currently getting a list of work items on the main home page is messy. There's no hierarchy so it can sometimes be just a blast of work without any sorting or prioritization settings. There's a simple work-around to simply create a query for yourself and enable "search across multiple projects". That works alright, but it would be a better experience if the home page had this already covered.
- Teams management could be better. It's a little confusing, and not easy to setup. Our specific use case of having some teams able to only see their backlog and nothing else was not achievable in the current implementation of VSTS. As a result, whenever we have to contract out work, we end up creating a new Team Project. It's not all bad, because team project contents can be easily migrated to another project, but it's still a bit annoying.
- If you're running TFS, you can save costs on: server licenses (you'll have at least 2 - one TFS, one build server). Save time on maintenance and upgrades of TFS.
The VSTS toolset can be cheaper - but it depends on the toolset that you use.
A typical developer will require a license for JIRA, Confluence, and Bitbucket. The total cost of this is around $150 per year. A VSTS license which covers 90% of the features set will be around $40 per year. That being said, Cconfluence has a better wiki than what VSTS offers, but it doesn't balance out the remaining $110 difference per year.
Anyone who is currently using TFS should migrate to VSTS immediately. Having maintained TFS servers in the past, this is substantially easier. Additionally, the web interface has gotten easier to use and features to move work items between projects has improved greatly. We're also in the process of migrating away from our Atlassian toolset - so it gives you an idea of how versatile the product really is.