Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to change iteration for Burn Down reports in project portal

Last week I needed to change the default iteration for the burn down chart in the (WSS) team project portal . My first thought was that this should be a simple task done in minutes, as the burn down chart is a SSRS report and I know I can change the default parameters for SSRS reports on the properties tab of the SSRS report.

How to change default parameters for SSRS reports
The simplest way to change the default parameter for a SSRS report is to right click on the Reports folder in team explorer and select Show Report Site. Once the report site opens up in your browser, click on the report you want to change, and then the report shows, click on the Properties tab. In the left border, click on the Parameters tab. Now you can see all parameters in the report and change their default values. Some of them are easy to change, others like the iteration parameter is not expressed in a intuitive or user friendly format.

Finding the right iteration expression
To find the value for an iteration, you need read access to the TFS Cube, and a tool such as SQL Server Management Studio. To get the desired iteration value you have to browse the TFS Cube, find and browse the Iteration hierarchy, find the desired iteration and drag it over to the query area. This procedure is described in detail in a post by John Socha-Leialoha (

In my case, and I suspect in many other cases, I didn't have read access to the customers tfs cube, forcing me to find another way to get the iteration value. In other cases, access and knowledge to tools could be a show stopper.

An easier way
As I was forced to find another solution, I came up with the idea to create a custom SSRS report showing the iterations and their corresponding iteration values/expression. Creating the report was easy, and all I had to do once created was to upload it to the server and set the data source. Once done, I simply run the report, find the iteration I need and I can copy the iteration value at the same row. Next time I need to change the iteration, I simply run the report again.
I think it is a really simple and good way to solve the problem, so if you running iterations and want to change the current iteration every 2-4 weeks, grab the report from my skydrive

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