If I want to use Agile, and use a Scrum implementation, will TFS do all I need? Or do I need something else? I have MS Project 2016 (not using Project Server), and it has an Agile template, but most people frown on MS Project for anything Agile or Scrum. On the other hand, most of the answers I saw concerning Project and Scrum were years old. I don't know if any of that changed in 2016-2018.

I have read these (and others),

How to use Scrum with TFS and also MIcrosoft Project

What tools do I need to manage an agile project?

Using Microsoft Project for managing a Scrum project

Are Gantt diagrams compatible with Agile methods?

I am not sure these answer my question. Can I use both? No need? TFS only?


3 Answers 3


We used TFS with the Agile template at one of my previous employers

No, you don't need MS Project. In fact, using it may be counter-productive.

Scrum doesn't require much by way of tool features. In fact, if the entire team is colocated, some people have practiced scrum by using sticky notes on a board. The use of a tool helps speed up things like the burndown chart and show the historic velocity of the team. Of course, if the team is not colocated, you do need a tool.

I am listing below a quick checklist of features that may help you to decide whether a given tool will help you run scrum.

Must haves

  1. Be able to maintain an ordered Product Backlog (of epics and stories).
  2. Be able to add acceptance criteria, estimated size and also attach diagrams and files to a story.
  3. Create a sprint (with a start date and an end date) to maintain a Sprint Backlog (by assigning stories to it).
  4. Mark a story in the Sprint Backlog as 'Done'.

Nice to haves

  1. Mark which epic a story belongs to (so that you can see all the stories from one epic at a glance).
  2. Add threaded 'Comments' to a story.
  3. View the status of stories in the current Sprint in a Kanban style board.
  4. Break up a story into a set of tasks.
  5. Mark (or link) related stories.
  6. Be able to see the velocity of previous sprints.
  7. Be able to see the burndown chart of current and previous sprints.

Looking at your questions, it appears to me that you will be well advised to take some time to understand the essentials of scrum before jumping into it.


TL;DR; TFS moves virtual index cards across a virtual taskboard as well as any other app.

Longer Answer:

TFS Has Everything You Need to Start and Then Some

The truth is, you don't need any tools at all to start with Scrum, but at a minimum, some sticky notes, a few markers, and some masking tape definitely help. This isn't meant in a snarky way either - I've seen really advanced teams that never needed more than this. TFS supplies a way to build a task board and track work on it (replacing the need for sticky notes and tape), so there is no reason you can't get started with TFS and you might never need more than that.

But You Might

Agile is not a methodology. In the strict sense, Scrum isn't one either (it's a framework). This is important to understand because there is an assumption that each team will find their own precise methodology within the framework. Through this, you may find that other tools benefit you and there is no good way to be sure which ones your team will need before-hand.

But I Know a Guy Who Always Uses....

Yes, that happens. We're creatures of habit and, all other things being equal, we're rather use the tools we always used before. And to a degree, this is harmless. Just be careful - are you using a tool because it is a close enough fit that you get more benefit from your experience as you would from other tool that is a slightly better fit? Or are you trying to will your current circumstances into aligning with your comfort zone, even if they clearly don't.

All The Other Stuff TFS Does

TFS has a lot of other features. Burn-up and burn-down charts are tools that teams often find useful. Many teams package work into releases. Tying work to your version control, code reviews, and even your CI/CD process can be really helpful, and TFS can make all of these easier if you need it to.


I recommend evaluating all of the most popular tools for tracking agile and scrum projects and pick one that meets your needs the most.

Look at:

  • Jira
  • (CA Agile) Rally
  • Version One

More info can be found here: http://stateofagile.versionone.com/


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