How To: IT Service Management to TFS Work item Synchronisation
The Provance IT Service Management team has created an integration with Team Foundation Server (TFS) (now Azure DevOps). TFS is a collaboration platform for Microsoft’s application lifecycle management solution, which enables organizations to effectively track development work.
In this blog post I intend to outline how this integration was achieved technically and why this is important to be utilized in your own IT Service Management Implementations. Lastly I will provide a few screen shots of the work in action. If you would like further information or a live demo please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The WHY – Traceability
Lack of Traceability in projects is a common reason for project failures, clearly defined processes between your service management and development teams can prevent this.
At the core of TFS is the “work item”. A work item represents an item of work that needs to be complete this could be task, a bug or virtually anything else a user can imagine as TFS allows the creation of custom work item types.
At a very high level TFS is a tool that enables a solution architect to create work items such as tasks and bugs and developer to action those work items. Code can then be checked in against these work items. Traceability is achieved by the code changes being linked to work items that are fully audited.
Our solution was modelled on a new custom activity named “work item” in CRM. This is advantageous as activities can be created and related to any existing entity in the system giving complete flexibility to what a work item is related to.
Once the “submit for TFS” button is pressed the status changes to “pending”.
A component called the TFS sync service that can be deployed as either an azure worker role or an on premise windows service initiates synchronization process between TFS and CRM work item. It triggers when Work item (Entity Schema Name: ap_workitem) is created and submitted to TFS. It stores the details of Work item in TFS and reflects back TFS details in CRM Work item. Once the details are transferred to TFS, respective CRM work item status changes from “Pending” to “Register”. For triggering this Sync service, Work Item record should be processed by clicking on “Submit to TFS” under ribbon buttons. This service runs every 30 seconds. It supports multiple organizations with the exact replica of customizations and configuration.
The below diagram illustrates the dataflows for the TFS Sync Service.