All you really need to know is the following
  • . This is one of the best written technical books I have ever read, and is an excellent introduction to Team System
  • . If you have been working with Team System for some time this book is unlikely to teach you much, it is purely an introduction
The approximately 300 pages are filled with riveting content (disclaimer: I am a big fan of formal processes), and only uses screenshots where necessary. The book is far from another big font/ screenshots-on-every-page Barnes and Nobel shelf filler.

As you may expect the book begins with an introduction to Team System, Test Server and its related Client Applications. Beyond these chapters, things get really interesting as Richard explains the different major roles in team system, which as we know related to different skus of Visual Studio. For each major role Richard covers the tools provided in that area, and major features. It was interesting to see that Testers do not get much in this release of Team System - this did not surprise me given Mercury's dominance in this area. It was interesting to read in the latter parts of this book that Mercury are planning add-ins for VS2K5. Note: Developers are looked after in the testing department, but your SQA team does not get much.

Part three of the book covers MSF 4.0, MSF-Agile and MSF-CMII. Personally I think this material is better suited to a classroom, as I found it difficult to keep up with all precise terminology used by each approach. After re-reading the first pages again and again I ended up skim reading most of part three.

Interestingly the best part of the book is the only part I can criticize. Appendix A is 'A Day in the Life of Team System'; it presents a summary of using Team System on a three month long project. This section was very helpful to me in tying the whole process together, but I just feel it was not presented in the best manner. With a pen I highlighted the key terms in the storyboard to show what part of  team system was used when, but I feel the waffle outweighed talk about team system. Most people reading this book with have experience with many projects already and we just want a rapid summary.

All-in-all this is possibly the best technology book I have read since Code Complete and Writing Secure Code. Much of the material in this book will be out of date sometime next year when I expect we'll see the second version of Team System, but I believe Richard is capable of writing a classic book that will stay on our bookshelves alongside Steve McConnell's work.