Team Foundation Server 2013 is production ready

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Did you know that Team Foundation Server 2013 is production ready?

I have already deployed it at two customers with a grand total of zero problems so far. The product team are so confident that they have upgraded their main DevDiv server to 2013.

Unfortunately because of the issues around Team Foundation Server 2012 updates #1 and 2 there has been…. resistance to upgrading. To understand why the problems of 2012.1 and 2012.2 are unlikely to affect 2013 you need to look at the history of the TFS team and their path to agility. The TFS  product team, as  part of the 2012 release cycle, moved to 3 week Sprints of working software. It took them less than two years to get there but the journey was really hard. The result has been as well as quarterly updates to TFS 2012.

The first two quarterly updates however suffered from what one might in the agile community affectionately refer to as undone work. This undone work is the result of a team that had not fully embraced agility and struggled to be transparent about the undone work that was the result. This is what happens when teams start down the path. Small teams building small products can usually get away with a little undone work, a few unhappy customers and a quick fix. But what about large teams with enormous code bases, well they kinda sucked at it for a while. This is about how hard it is to change and how bumpy that path to agility can be.

If you have been following Brian Harrys posts you will see that he has tried to be as transparent as possible about these problems and what they are doing to fix them. When you usually have a 2 year release cycle is is easy, if expensive, to test quality in. Now if you move to a 3 week release cycle you have to build quality in, not just test it in, and if you don’t, or have problems, it will be radically obvious to your customers in the bugs that slip past you…

The endgame is very hard to predict, No one knows how much of the iceberg still lies below the water, and therefore how much work remains in the release.Sam Guckenheimer on Technical Debt in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012: Adopting Agile Software Practices: From Backlog to Continuous Feedback

In addition they made some pretty major database changes in 2012.1. That and some automated testing holes that dated back to 2010 caused the team to struggle somewhat under the technical debt that had been built up.

And the net result? If you are currently running 2012.1 or 2012.2 then you should move immediately to 2012.3. With 2012.3 the TFS team have finally gotten on top of the undone work and have paid back most of the technical debt that had been run up. With the Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview they have gotten ahead of the curve and have perhaps some of the best integrated ALM features on the market today.

The latest fully supported version of Team Foundation Server is 2013… get it now!

Team Foundation Server 2013 is production ready was last modified: July 23rd, 2013 by Martin Hinshelwood

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  • Marc-Andre Poitras

    Can you reveal when TFS 2013 will be officially released. While I understand the preview is currently fully supported, I won’t be able to make a case to upgrade until the final release is done.

    • Martin Hinshelwood

      Unfortunately I have no information on that will be. It would however be reasonable to expect that it will mirror the 2012 release. Indeed I think they have already made announcements (might have been leeks) on when Windows 8.1 will RTM and you need Visual Studio 2013 to build Store apps for 8.1… so conclusions can be drawn..

  • Kevin Price

    Martin, do you have to be on TFS 2012.3 in order to go to the TFS 2013 Preview? The install of 2013 is it similar to basically doing the quarterly updates also? anything special to worry about?

  • Daniel Stefanescu

    Doesn’t seems to be unusual that the first version of the product having a production license?

    • Martin Hinshelwood

      I am not sure that I understand the question, but if you mean that you think it to be strange that the preview is supported then: The Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server teams have a long history of providing fully supported “Go-Live” pre-release versions of their software. If you don’t get production support and upgradability to future versions there is no way you would actually use the software in production. And if you don’t use it in production they don;t get any value… that value is the bugs and issues that us early adopters find that allows them to harden their already stable product. When you build something as complex as TFS you cant test for every network and AD configuration let alone all of the weird and wonderful code structure and frankin-templates that folks use. This is an awesome way to reward the early adopters…

      …If you are put of by the words “Preview” then all you have to do is wait. But what if your competitors are not and they already have their software all working and tested on Windows 8,1? How long after 8.1 RTM’s do you expect to have your software working? I know I tend to go with vendors that have their act together and also “support” my early adopter nature…

      • Daniel Stefanescu

        I have to do an upgrade of a TFS2010 in the next 1-2 months and my dilemma is: upgrade to 2012.3 (and in the next 1-2 months upgrade again to 2013) or upgrade directly to 2013 Preview (and I’m assuming the risks)

        • Martin Hinshelwood

          I am not sure what additional risks you are assuming? If the team that builds a product are willing to say that they will fully support it in production then that is good enough for me. There is risk is installing an unsupported product. There is risk in being first to a product even if it is “RTM”. I am just interested in the qualification of the additional risk as you see it…

          • Daniel Stefanescu

            Our projects are non .Net projects therefore we have “heavy” customizations for builds and check-in policies.
            The main risk is that the TFS2010 build machines will not “cooperate” with TFS2013 as in TFS2012.3.

          • Martin Hinshelwood

            TFS 2010 build machines cooperate just fine with 2013. The TFS team is committed to keeping that working. They will support vLast.Build and 2010.Build going forward. 2010 support will be maintained as long as XP and Server 2003 are still relevant.

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