imageLast night during a company meeting it was announced that TFS had been chosen as the recommended issue tracking tool. I asked what other tools where  looked at and reviewed and for what particular reasons TFS was chosen over others. Apparently no other issue tracking system was every looked at, TFS fulfilled the requirements and was therefore "good enough".

This is not about Microsoft vs open source, or TFS vs Jira for that matter. TFS is a flexible and competent issue tracking tool, sure I think it has issues compared to other cheaper alternatives but that is beside the point :) I was just saddened by the fact that no alternatives was ever reviewed. When I questioned this fact, I got two comments.

well it is from Microsoft and integrates with visual studio


well you can always find something better, this met our needs so why look for something else?

The second comment is one of the worst I have ever heard, of course you cannot look at EVERY other tool. What you can do is a quick Google search to find which are the most popular and have a look at 2-3 of those, or just send out an email to everyone in the company and ask what issue tracking tool they have used and what they think is best and why.

Why be satisfied with "good enough"? How are you going to be constantly improving with that motto?

I know I am overreacting, this was just a recommendation of an issue tracking tool, but it enforces my distrust that some Microsoft development departments choose Microsoft solutions without ever looking at alternatives. Like any company Microsoft do some really great and amazing stuff and some that are not so good.

This reminds me of an interesting discussion on the ALT.NET mailing list: Where did the non alt .net come from anyway? 

Microsoft is trying to be the sole supplier for every possible framework and development tool for the .NET platform. I can understand why they are doing this, but I think there is a negative side to it, I think it limits diversity and innovation. One of the great things about ALT.NET is the embrace of diversity and trying to get rid of the single mindedness that can sometimes characterize .NET development, this is good for everyone as it pushes Microsoft to be better.


Derk said...

Amen, I sympathize with your frustration :)

echostorm said...

I've run into this where I work too and while I, of course, wouldn't want MS to be the sole vendor for everything, I do lean their way on something as big and lasting as TFS. It might not be the best product out there (though I don't think anything actually does beat TFS today) I know it will still exist and be both supported and actively developed tomorrow, next month and next year.

On the whole the MS guys are really responsive these days and will work with you to fix issues and add useful features in my experience.

Torkel Ödegaard said...

TFS is not a bad product, it is definitely a big improvement over source safe.

But both its source code component and its issue tracking features lack good and easy user interface. I mean the web interface for the issue tracking system in TFS is a joke compared to Gemini or JIRA.

But as I said, my main objection was not that they chose TFS but mearly that no other alternative was ever even considered.

Jan-Erik Öhman said...

I agree that it's disturbing to have a product picked and not having compared it to other products before.

But on the other hand, sometimes it good to just pick something from a batch of good things and try it out. It's always possible to make new choices later on.

typhoonandrew said...

Hi there,

Has your impression of TFS vs Gemini vs Jira changed? I'm doing a selection of support and CR roduct at the moment and considering Gemini as the main contender. Recently though a Dev has asked about using TFS and a tester has asked about using Jira.

What would be your impression?