Visual Studio Team System Review

Good code management and sharing capability, but needs better integration with the documentation

What is our primary use case?

We use Visual Studio Team System as part of our development environment. This is the core system to manage our code and our development life cycle.

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to implementing this solution, we had a lot of fear of losing our code due to some kind of situation that was outside of our control. At the same time, our team was distributed between different regional locations both inside and outside of Lebanon. When we started using this tool, it was a great way to have full access to all that was being developed between different areas.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the code management, where there is sharing of code for developers and it is distributed within the organization.

We have lately been trying to use the built-in functionality for task management and software lifecycle development. This is a new feature and it is pretty good. We are just in the evaluation phase, comparing it to other task management tools.

What needs improvement?

The user experience for the task assignment functionality, and more generally the software lifecycle development, needs to be improved. This includes assigning tasks, as well as reviewing those that are pending or ongoing. For example, Jira has an excellent user experience, and it should be more like that.

We would like to see better integration of documentation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with this solution for about seven years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have ten people who use this solution in our company.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not been in contact with technical support.

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

Prior to this solution, we used to use Visual SourceSafe.

How was the initial setup?

When we first implemented this solution, we had some hiccups because earlier versions needed SharePoint and a special Active Directory to be set up. It was not easy or straightforward. We had to separate our Active Directory and the company corporate directory into three directories. One for activities, one for the company, and one for the development team alone. In general, the older version was a little bit complicated. It took about one week to prepare and set it up.

The latest, cloud-based version is much better in terms of setup.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team handled the implementation. The first time we deployed it, three people were involved in the process. Maintenance is not required for this solution and we have one system administrator.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options when we switched from SourceSafe to TFS.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is to first decide what they need out of it. The benefit of each solution is becoming multidimensional. For example, TFS can be used for managing code, managing software, and lifecycle development. People have to decide which dimension they need to use and then focus on it. Later, they can go to explore and use other dimensions. Otherwise, they will lose a lot of time trying to learn and to adapt to the solution. This is the biggest lesson that we learned from our implementation. Once we mastered its use in one area, we moved on to the next.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Distributor
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1 Comment

author avatarEgidijus Leskovas

would say compared to some more modern tools which are made to work offline, with this solution you have to be connected all of the time and with a central server. In our case, it's not a big problem because we all work on-premises, but it can be an issue if you have teams in different locations. Then you don't have synchronization. I would say it's the main problem - I would love to see a better way to work offline.