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Team Foundation Server "Work Item Web Access" Is Getting a Work-Over

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Brian Harry’s blog - Upcoming VS Online Licensing Changes

...We’ve been working closely with customers to understand where the friction is and what we can do to make adopting VS Online as easy as possible.  This is a continuing process and includes discussions about product functionality, compliance and privacy, pricing and licensing, etc.  This is a journey and we’ll keep taking feedback and adjusting.

Today I want to talk about one set of adjustments that we want to make to licensing.

As we ended the early adopter period, we got a lot of questions from customers about how to apply the licensing to their situation.  We also watched as people assigned licenses to their users: What kind of licenses did they choose?  How many people did they choose to remove from their account?  Etc.

From all of this learning, we’ve decided to roll out 2 licensing changes in the next couple of months:

Stakeholders

A common question we saw was “What do I do with all of the stakeholders in my organization?”  While the early adopter program was in effect and all users were free, customers were liberal with adding people to their account.  People who just wanted to track progress or file a bug or a suggestion occasionally, were included.  As the early adopter period ended, customers had to decide – Is this really worth $20/user/month (minus appropriate Azure discounts)?  The result was that many of these “stakeholders” were removed from the VS Online accounts in the transition, just adding more friction for the development teams.

As a result of all this feedback we proposed a new “Stakeholder” license for VS Online.  Based on the scenarios we wanted to address, we designed a set of features that matched the needs most customers have.  These include:

  • Full read/write/create on all work items
  • Create, run and save (to “My Queries”) work item queries
  • View project and team home pages
  • Access to the backlog, including add and update (but no ability to reprioritize the work)
  • Ability to receive work item alerts

Some of the explicitly excluded items are:

...

As a result, any VSOnline  account will be able to have an unlimited number of “Stakeholder” users with access to the functionality listed above, at no charge.

Access to the Test Hub

Another point of friction that emerged in the transition was access to the Test hub.  ...

Because of this, we’ve decided to include access to all of the Test hub functionality in the Visual Studio Online Advanced plan.

...

What about Team Foundation Server?

In general, our goal is to keep the licensing for VS Online and Team Foundation Server as “parallel” as we can – to limit how confusing it could be. As a result, we will be evolving the current “Work Item Web Access” TFS CAL exemption (currently known as “Limited” users in TFS) to match the “Stakeholder” capabilities.  That will result in significantly more functionality available to TFS users without CALs.  My hope is to get that change made for Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 4.  It’s too early yet to be sure that’s going to be possible but I’m hopeful.  We do not, currently, plan to provide an alternate license for the Test Hub functionality in TFS, though it’s certainly something we’re looking at and may have a solution in a future TFS version.

..."

In short, Nice! This will greatly increase the value of on-prem TFS and the number of usage and scope of communication. Not bad for free... :)

Related Past Post XRef: 
TFS Work Item Web Access (WIWA) Released as part of VSTS Web Access 2008 SP1 
Work Item Web Access (WIWA) CTP (fka Codename TFS Bug Submission Portal) 
Coming soon to TFS Power Tool near you - Codename TFS Bug Submission Portal 
Team System Web Access 2008 Available for Download 
Team System Web Access Power Tool Now Available (Think TeamPlain v2.0 but with added Microsoft Sauce) 
Visual Studio Team System Web Access (formally known as TeamPlain Web Access) now Free

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