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Extending Team Concert collaboration to include SharePoint documents

This post was contributed by Philippe Cohen, Vice President of Products at Mainsoft, and edited by Adrian Cho, Development Manager for Rational Team Concert.

Is your team using Microsoft SharePoint to collaborate on project documents, such as design, architecture diagrams, process, and methodology?

The Document artifact

If you answered “yes,” then try out the Team Concert Document Collaboration features developed by the Mainsoft product team.  Now available, the Beta release of Mainsoft Document Collaboration for Rational Jazz: Microsoft SharePoint Integration enables you to associate a document site to each of your Jazz teams, so developers will immediately see document libraries related to their projects and teams from the team artifact navigator. If you prefer to focus on a single site, you can use the team navigator filter to filter out the libraries you don’t need right now. Double-click on one of the document libraries to open a new SharePoint Documents view, where you can navigate and search the libraries as well as open, create, upload, and modify documents. Subscribe to the library feed to stay up-to-date on the document status, or view the library settings. You can also link SharePoint documents to work items so that your design document in SharePoint is associated to the task work item that triggered that design effort.

Here is the new Documents node in the Team Artifact navigator: 
Documents artifact
…and the new SharePoint Documents view:               

SharePoint Documents view

Integrating enterprise document workflows into the Jazz development process

This new Document Collaboration feature is not just about exposing team documents to the developers.  A project often includes contributors and stakeholders who may not use Jazz-based development tools but instead author and review important documents created with Microsoft Office. How often have you needed to get product marketing approval on a new customer facing user interface?  What about getting input from the legal team on the copyrights, trademarks, and other related issues? And did you ever have to get design input from the information security team, or just need product documentation contribution on your dynamic help screens?  You can now work more closely and productively with these and other teams without requiring them to install Team Concert or learn Eclipse-based development.  They can continue working in a familiar environment using Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel and Visio with SharePoint as the back-end.

How does this work? The new Document Collaboration feature delivers a new Jazz process contribution that you can easily integrate into your existing process. A Jazz process precondition called Related Document Workflow lets you ensure that work items with one or more related documents can only be marked as resolved once the documents have their SharePoint business workflow completed or are marked in SharePoint as approved.  Here are a few screen snapshots:

The project or team lead adds a Related Document Workflow precondition.  As a result, every time a work item of a specified type is linked to a related document from the configured libraries, the workflow on this document will be part of the work item resolution.

The Related Document Workflow precondition configuration screen:

Related Document workflow

Let’s say you have to design a new customer reports generator and need contribution from the Information Security team. There may be a well-defined process to get that team’s input in design documents, implemented as a SharePoint workflow called ‘Information Security workflow’. Now you create your design document from the Eclipse SharePoint document views and link it to your work item. Related documents in work items will impact the resolution process.

Related documents in work items

If the document workflow is not yet complete, an attempt to resolve the work item will trigger a team advisor error requiring the developer to get the related document workflow completed.  Notice that the error contains enough information to help resolve the problem:

Document workflow in Team Advisor view

The developer can then ensure that the design document is marked as ready for information security contribution in SharePoint. The information security expert enabled in the SharePoint workflow will receive a SharePoint task that will pop up in the Outlook task window:

SharePoint workflow triggers a task popping up in Outlook

Once the contribution is made the document will be marked as completed and the work item will be ready for resolution.

In summary, the Document Collaboration for Rational Jazz can improve significantly the project governance capacity by extending the scope of Jazz-enabled collaboration to include teams from other disciplines that are already collaborating with Microsoft SharePoint.  A future edition of Document Collaboration for Rational Jazz will include support for IBM Lotus Quickr.

Download information

To run the Document Collaboration for Rational Jazz: Microsoft SharePoint Integration you need to download the Jazz server plug-in and the Eclipse RTC client plug-in. Make sure you read the installation instructions and the short tutorial. For this beta, provide feedback through and participate in the Mainsoft forum on to collaborate with the development team.

The final release will be available in early Q1 2009 and will support both IBM Lotus Quickr and Microsoft SharePoint. It will also provide additional functionalities such as integration with Team Central and presence awareness. Stay tuned for further updates on