Creating a new TFS Report–Work In Progress

Continuing our series on enhancing reports in TFS, I wanted something that focused on Work In Progress or WIP.  Limiting WIP is one of the principles of lean thinking (and a guiding rule of Kanban systems.)  Limiting WIP in Scrum teams can be an effective practice also.

One thing that I often notice when coaching Scrum teams is that the number of active or in progress user stories often matches the number of developers in the team.  So rather than one team of 9 people, I often see 9 teams of one.

Trying to explain why this is not necessarily the only way to work leads to conversations about technical practices, swarming and encouraging team behaviours (but that’s another post entirely.
Monitoring the number of active user stories is good way to keep an eye on this.  If the team is working together to take features to done then the number of user stories will be small.  Some teams even try and only work on one story at a time (single piece flow)  Depending on the complexity of these features that may or may not be appropriate.  But certainly monitoring WIP is a good idea, as it can be a diagnostic indicator that the team could possibly improve its practices.

The MSF template (or the Scrum Template) do not ship with this type of report, so I have written one. 

This report looks across the last month and charts the number of user stories that have active tasks as children, with a non-zero work remaining value.

This shows a trend of team behaviour.  The report does not currently include bugs as WIP, but this is a trivial change to make.  If desired the date ranges could also be made into parameters.
Here is a screenshot.

You can find the report here.

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