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Want to know what’s coming in TFS and VS vNext? Microsoft released a CTP of the tools at //Build and we’ve got them! We’re playing with the new features and wanted to share some of the cool new items with you (if you are an MSDN Subscriber you can download the bits from MSDN). First up – the new Feedback tool.

Getting feedback from our customers, stakeholders, product owners and others can be a sometimes painful process – and if you aren’t co-located it’s even more difficult. Remembering what happened in a session is harder still – you forget to take a note on something and then you can’t remember what the customer said and you have to follow up with them. Into this, Microsoft is releasing a new Feedback Management tool.

To explain the process, it’s helpful to look at some of the new stuff related to work items and the process flow in Dev11 (I’ll cover details of new work items later so for now you can just ooohhhh and aaaahhhh the cool new Metro UI Smile).

User Story - Storyboard

This figure shows the new User Story work item (this is the web based view but you will be happy to note that the Team Web Access view and the Visual Studio view are identical). This tab shows the Storyboards tab. Storyboards a new feature implemented through Microsoft PowerPoint (I will cover this in a later post also). The Storyboard is where you first lay out what the user interface looks like and how the flow of the feature moves.

Another new tab is the Feedback tab.

User Story - Feedback

On this tab, team members can request folks to provide feedback on a feature. This is designed to be used once there is a user interface that the user can interact with so this could be used multiple times throughout the development of the story. Feedback is another type of work item in Dev11.

Feedback1

This is a completed feedback work item which contains feedback (how to do this is coming up next). The item can be requested by someone, feedback submitted by someone and then reviewed by someone. The user can provide ratings and comments which you can see on the right-hand side. Once feedback is requested of a user the user can spool up the Feedback Manager (this is a separately installed tool but we have no information on licensing at this point – we hope this will be available to all users). When the Feedback Tool is launched it looks like the following:

Annotated Feedback Manager

If you are familiar with Microsoft Test Manager (MTM) this is built on the same framework and provides a subset of the capabilities. The reviewer will see the stories that they need to provide feedback on listed up above and they can select the story (click on it) and it will show the description tab of the story (shown below):

FBM User Story Description

As the user goes through the application, they can enter text, perform screen captures (yes, you can use the screen capture tool of your choice – I prefer Snagit – clicking the Settings button will allow you to configure this) and annotate those screen captures. It records video, audio (even when using remote desktop – a nice feature that was well thought out) and saves all of that information to the feedback work item for review by the team.

Providing feedback on an application has never been so easy and should be welcomed by many teams as a way to integrate their users deeper into the development process and to get accurate and timely feedback that can quickly and easily be referred to.

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