TFS Review

Good reporting, stable, and priced competitively


What is our primary use case?

At my previous company, I was using TFS for managing projects and code.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the backlog.

The reporting has improved over time, with the addition of Power BI reports.

What needs improvement?

There are a lot of places that Microsoft can improve this product, as well as their support.

The program and portfolio planning facility can be improved. As it is now, you can't do portfolio program planning functionality across multiple project Areas (vs. Team areas within a project area) because you cannot link items across projects. Reporting can be done using Power BI, but real time connections are difficult.  You can use connectors and external integrations but you cannot do it with the tool. It needs to be better. 

It is difficult to customize.

For how long have I used the solution?

I had been using Team Foundation Server for between four and five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is absolutely a stable platform. It is highly available and follows on the environment.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is possible to scale, albeit tricky. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is a challenge. It is a pain to get anything from Microsoft done. For example, working on patches and queries is slow. There was a lot of functionality that we wanted to embed that we had trouble with.

They changed the entire application lifecycle management suite, so it was a challenge to understand and navigate through how things would be done.

It is not a buggy product, but for new functionality, it is really a challenge. Especially in cloud-based deployments, it is even more challenging.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I was using TFS at my previous company and my current organization uses JIRA. I would say that TFS is the more scalable of the two. With JIRA, you really need connectors and things like that. You have to have external addons to make it more scalable.

In terms of usability, JIRA might provide a better user experience but from an organizational and stability point of view, TFS wins hands-down.

Price-wise, TFS is better than JIRA.

How was the initial setup?

Out of the box, the initial setup is easy. However, it is difficult to customize, especially if it is on a cloud. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

TFS is more competitively priced than some other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is implementing this solution is to use as much as possible, out of the box. Customizing it is difficult. It may not necessarily fit everything perfectly and it can be tricky to scale, but not impossible. There are definitely challenges scaling it. That said, the tool from Microsoft does allow you to do things very differently but try to do it in a standard way first.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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