Working with your Team Project
TeamCompanion supports simultaneous work with multiple Team Foundation Servers, project collections and team projects. Switching between different connections is as easy as switching between different mail folders. Simply execute a work item query that belongs to a different team project and you will seamlessly switch context.
Both online and offline working modes are supported, where TeamCompanion automatically detects the status of all connections and adapts itself.
Connecting to Team Foundation Server
The TeamCompanion node in Navigation Pane contains a child node for each connection to a project collection hosted on a Team Foundation Server. The node name is displayed in format Team Foundation Server/Project Collection. Each connected team project is displayed as a child node under the corresponding project collection node.
In order to connect to a Team Foundation Server, on the TeamCompanion tab, in the General group, click on the Connect button. Alternatively, you can right-click on the TeamCompanion node in Navigation Pane and select the Connect action from the context menu.
Next, the Connect to Team Foundation Server dialog opens. Select the desired Team Foundation Server from the drop down list to populate the Team Project Collections list.
Click on the name of the project collection you want to access and select one or more team projects from the Team Projects list. Click Connect to finish.
Team projects with a check mark next to them will appear under the corresponding project collection node in Navigation Pane. TeamCompanion allows you to simultaneously work with multiple Team Foundation Servers, project collections and team projects.
If no Team Foundation Server is available in the drop down list in the Connect to Team Foundation Server dialog, click on the Servers… button to define your connections.
In the Add/Remove Team Foundation Server dialog box, click Add…. In the Add Team Foundation Server dialog box, type the name or URL for the server. The Preview field automatically displays the URL format, for example: http:// ServerName:Port/tfs where
- ServerName is the name of the server that hosts Team Foundation Server;
- Port is the port that Team Foundation Server uses (the default value is 8080, if your server uses a different port number, type it in the Port number box);
- tfs is the default path to the project collections that are stored on the server (if your team uses a different path, type it in the Path box).
Click OK to finish. Click Close to close the Add/Remove Team Foundation Server dialog box. The newly defined connection to a Team Foundation Server is now available for selection in the dropdown list.
To remove a Team Foundation Server connection, right-click on it in Navigation Pane and select Remove Server from the context menu.
You can manage in one place all your connections to Team Foundation Servers using TeamCompanion’s options.
Connecting to a Team Project
You can connect to a team project while adding a new connection to a Team Foundation Server.
If you are already connected to the project collection that hosts the team project you want to add, right-click on the project collection node in Navigation Pane and select the Add Team Project from the context menu.
Next, the Connect to Team Foundation Server dialog opens where you can only add or remove check marks next to team projects in the selected project collection. Team projects with a check mark next to them will appear under the selected project collection node in Navigation Pane.
To remove a team project connection, right-click on it in Navigation Pane and select Remove Team Project from the context menu. Alternatively, you can remove the check mark next to the team project in the Connect to Team Foundation Server dialog as described above.
The team project will be removed from Navigation Pane. Any shortcuts to that team project shown in the Outlook’s Favorites folder will be removed as well.
Tipp: If you remove check marks next to all team projects in a project collection, the connection to the project collection itself will not be removed from Navigation Pane.
You can additionally manage all your connections to team projects using TeamCompanion’s options.
Supported Team Project Nodes
For each connected team project, TeamCompanion displays the following child nodes in the team project subtree in Navigation Pane:
- Work Items: support for work item and work item query management,
- Documents: support for management of documents stored on the project portal,
- Reports: support for management of reports containing project metrics.
Using Outlook's Favorites Folder
TeamCompanion supports adding shortcuts to your frequently accessed team project items to the Outlook's Favorites folder, making them easily accessible.
You can add shortcuts to multiple work item queries, reports and document folders. You can quickly access TeamCompanion's Agile Project Management features by adding a shortcut to the Plan And Prioritize node as well.
To add a team project item to the Favorites folder, right-click on it in the team project subtree in Navigation Pane and select Show in Favorites from the context menu. You can also drag-n-drop it to the Favorites folder.
To remove a team project item from the Favorites folder, right-click on it either in the Favorites folder or in the team project subtree in Navigation Pane and select Remove from Favorites from the context menu.
To change the position of an item in Favorites, right click on it and from the context menu select Move Up or Move Down respectively, You can also click on the item you want to move and drag it to the desired position.
Setting the Default Team Project
Actions on the TeamCompanion ribbon tab are executed in the context of the default team project.
To set the default team project, on the TeamCompanion tab, in the Server/Project group, first click on the Server drop down to select the default server. Then select the default team project using the Project drop down.
When you execute an action, for example Areas and Iterations, it starts in the context of the default team project. You can always switch to another team project by changing the server and project values in the action's dialog itself.
Team Project Home Page
When you select a team project node in Navigation Pane, TeamCompanion shows the project's homepage embedded in the Outlook's Central Pane. By default this is the project portal homepage, but you can configure it in different ways.
To configure a team project's homepage, right-click on its node in Navigation Pane and select Project Home Page Configuration from the context menu.
To configure the default team project's homepage, on the TeamCompanion tab, in the General group, click on the Project Home Page Configuration button.
Next, the Project Home Page Configuration dialog opens where you can select between following options:
- use the Project Portal (this is the default option),
- use the Team Project Process Guidance,
- use a custom Share Point page,
- use a custom Web Site
- or None.
Project Portal and Process Guidance
You can easily access the Project Portal and Process Guidance web sites for each connected team project.
Right-click on a team project node in Navigation Pane and select Project Portal or Process Guidance from the context menu. The corresponding web site opens in a separate web browser window.
To access the default team project's Project Portal and Process Guidance web sites, on the TeamCompanion tab, in the General group, click on the Project Portal or Process Guidance button respectively.
Tipp: You can set each of these web sites as the team project home page in TeamCompanion.
Editing Areas and Iterations
TeamCompanion lets you manage areas and iterations for each connected team project.
Right-click on a team project node in Navigation Pane and select Areas and Iterations from the context menu.
To access the default team project's areas and iterations settings, on the TeamCompanion tab, in the General group, click on the Areas and Iterations button.
Next, the Areas and Iterations dialog opens, where you can edit your areas and iterations as desired. When finished, click Close.
Tipp: You can switch between different team projects using the Server and Project drop down lists. In this way you can manage areas and iterations for more projects at once, without closing and reopening the dialog.
Refreshing the Team Project Cache
Team projects do not update automatically when changes occur on the Team Foundation Server. You should periodically refresh the team project data cache to guarantee that you are working with current data. For example, you should refresh your team project client application under the following circumstances:
- area or iteration path nodes change,
- a team query, document or report is added or deleted,
- work item type definitions change,
- team queries change,
- the structure or work item query folders changes or
- security groups or permissions change.
Tipp: Refreshing is especially important when you plan to move or delete shared items, such as team queries, documents, or reports. To avoid potential errors, you should refresh the team project to ensure that it is up to date.
To refresh a team project, select its node in Navigation Pane, and on the TeamCompanion tab, in the General group, click on the Refresh Project button. Alternatively, you can right-click on the team project node in Navigation Pane and select Refresh Project from the context menu.
TeamCompanion will display a message to inform you about the success of this action.
Your team project is online when your connection to the corresponding Team Foundation Server is active. In this case, TeamCompanion allows you to use its full feature set, like refreshing work item queries or editing work items.
You need an active connection to your team project when connecting to it for the first time. TeamCompanion then creates the local cache for that team project and populates it for the first time. This cache contains team project metadata, work item query results and work item data and TeamCompanion automatically maintains it and keeps it up to date depending on the actions you perform. Team project metadata is updated when you refresh the team project, work item query results are refreshed each time a work item query is executed or refreshed. Information about a particular work item is refreshed either when you refresh a query that contains this work item in its result set or when you explicitly refresh this work item.
This local cache is the prerequisite for many powerful TeamCompanion features, like working in offline mode, fast searching, data filtering and grouping, undoing local changes and agile planning with what-if analysis.
Your team project is offline when your connection to the corresponding Team Foundation Server is not present.
You can start Outlook when online and then go offline in the meantime while working. You can start Outlook already without an active connection to your Team Foundation Server. Or you can work by being occasionally connected, while travelling for example, meaning that you will constantly switch between online and offline mode. TeamCompanion supports all these scenarios in a discreet way, making sure that you can continuously work and that you do not lose your data. It automatically detects the status of your connections and continuously adapts itself.
Following features are not available when working in offline mode:
- executing or refreshing work item queries: cached query results are shown and the last successful refresh date and time is displayed in red in the header above the query result list;
- scheduled execution of work item queries;
- work item preview in the embedded Work Item Form: work items are shown in the HTML read-only preview;
- adding new work items;
- editing work items;
- saving existing local changes to one or all all work items that were done while you were online and that were not saved to TFS;
- editing work item query definitions.
Tipp: When TeamCompanion detects that a team project is offline, it adds the (offline) mark next to its node in Navigation Pane.
Subscribing to TFS Alert Notifications
The main goal of Team Foundation Server alert notifications is to keep project stakeholders informed about various types of changes to different team projects, work items, build events, etc. Team members can subscribe to alerts that they want to receive in form of email notifications.
To manage your alert subscriptions for a particular project collection, select its node in Navigation Pane, and on the TeamCompanion tab, in the General group, click on the Alert Subscriptions button. Alternatively, you can right-click on its node in Navigation Pane and select Alert Subscriptions from the context menu.
Next, the Alert Subscriptions dialog appears, where you can manage multiple subscriptions to different alerts in all team projects hosted by the referenced project collection. You can define new subscriptions and change or delete existing subscriptions.
Use the drop down lists in columns Alert, Project(s) and Format to manage the alert type, team project and email format respectively. After you enter your email address in the Sent to field, the subscription is complete. Repeat this process for all subscriptions you want to define.
Click on Apply to save your changes while this dialog is still open. Click on OK or Cancel to close the dialog and save or discard your changes respe
Alert subscriptions are very useful in a number of scenarios. Here are some of them:
- The project manager can setup alert subscriptions for all team members at once.
- Subscriptions to multiple team projects can be managed within the same dialog, what is a unique TeamCompanion feature.
- Alert subscriptions support all default TFS events plus additional custom TeamCompanion events.
When you receive a TFS email notification, TeamCompanion offers you the possibility to open the referenced TFS object (work item, changeset or build) in place. For more information see under Open Related Object from Mail.
- Getting Started
- Working with Your Team Project
- Working with Mails
- Working with Work Items
- Embedded Work Item Form
- Working With Work Item Queries
- Search Work Items
- Work Item Query Editor
- Working with Outlook Tasks and Flags/Reminders
- Working with Meeting Requests
- Working With Reports
- Working With Documents
- Agile Project Management
- Configuring TeamCompanion Options
- Help and Support