In part 1 of this series I have provided you with more details about Microsoft Fast Track program that helps onboard new Dynamics 365 for Operations (D365FO) customers.

In part 2 we’ve discussed the different environment types currently available for Dynamics 365 for Operations platform.

In part 3 I walked you through the Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) project set up for your Dynamics 365 for Operations deployment.

 

In this blog post I will show you how to configure the Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and how to link it to your LCS project. Those two steps are required for every Dynamics 365 for Operations implementation.

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Why should I use Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) in my Dynamics 365 for Operations project?

I won’t go through full details of VSTS tool (you can read more about it here), but I would like to remind you the main purposes of setting up VSTS for D365FO deployments:

- to deploy BUILD environment (performing a build is required as Hot fixes are released as X++)

- to track support incidents submitted to Microsoft through LCS Support as work items in VSTS

- to integrate Business Process Modeler (BPM) library hierarchy into your VSTS project as a hierarchy of work items

- to upgrade code

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In previous part of this blog series we saw that to link VSTS to your LCS project you will need to provide the following information:

- VSTS site URL (aka VSTS account)

- VSTS project name

- Personal access token

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Steps to configure Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS):

 

1. Create a VSTS account (site)

Creating VSTS account is free.

The recommendation is to create the VSTS account with the admin account that you’ve already created for D365FO & LCS administration (see part 3 of this blog series). It will be used as VSTS account owner.

If customer has already a VSTS account: account owner should sign in to it through https://<customer>.visualstudio.com and move to step 2 (creates new VSTS project), otherwise:

 

1.1 Go to https://visualstudio.com

1.2 Click on Free Visual Studio

 


 


1.3 Choose Visual Studio Team Services – Free Account

 


 

 

1.4 Connect with your LCS administration account

 


 

1.5 Name your VSTS site (use a customer name), choose Team Foundation Version Control option and click on Continue:

 


 

VSTS account (site) is created: https://<customer>.visualstudio.com

It contains one default project called: MyFirstproject

 

2. Create a VSTS project

2.1 On the main page of your VSTS account click on New project:

 


 

2.2 Fill in the required fields and click on Create:

 

 


 

- Project name: Use internal project name or the one that contains Dynamics 365 FO name.

- Version control: Choose Team Foundation Version Control (Git is not currently supported by D365FO). More information about both version controls can be found here.

- Work item process: Choose the process template you want to use. More information about process templates can be found here.

 

3. Create a personal access token

3.1 Click on the Security under VSTS admin account at the top right hand side:

 


 

3.2 Click on Add:

 


 

3.3 Fill the required fields and click on create token:

 


 

- Description: Use something relating to Dynamics 365 FO or your LCS project name

- Expires in: Use the recommended maximum duration of 1 year

- Accounts: choose VSTS account

- Authorized Scopes: Select All scopes

 

3.4 Copy the token in Notepad (or other document editor) to be stored for further LCS project linking:


 

4. Build VSTS project team

Who should be part of VSTS project?

First of all persons who will be developing the application, upgrading code and performing the builds:

- developers

- technical leads of the project

But also:

- people in charge of creating and tracking support tickets submitted to Microsoft through LCS Support

- Project Team Members accountable for work items

- Project Team Members accountable for Iteration Management

- Functional Project Team Members in charge of Business Process Modeling

Etc.

 

General information:

- As mentioned previously, creating VSTS account is free, but adding users to VSTS may require additional licenses as it depends on access level of users.

- VSTS project team members are automatically part of VSTS account

- Due to the connection between VSTS-D365FO-AAD, only users listed in at least Azure Active Directory can be added to the VSTS, therefore adding user to AAD is a prerequisite if users are from the outside of the organization, e.g. Partners. Procedure on how to add external users to AAD can be found here.

 

4.1 Add users to VSTS project

1. Connect to https://<customer>.visualstudio.com/projectname

2. Go to Security under Settings icon in the bottom of the page (inside your VSTS project)

 


 

3. Click on Add under Members

 


 

4. Select user from directory and click on Save changes

 

 


 

 

Added users will be notified by e-mail and will access the VSTS project through the link they received:

 


 

Important tip: Added external users (as partners for example), need to firstly accept the AAD invitation from customer (click on Get Started button) in the mail before connecting to VSTS:

 

 


 

Otherwise they will end up with 401 error when connecting to VSTS:

 


 

You can check the entire users list and its status under Settings icon > Users at the bottom of the page https://<customer>.visualstudio.com

 



 

 

2. Change VSTS user access level

There are 3 main user access levels in VSTS:

1. Basic

2. Stakeholder

3. Visual Studio/MSDN Subscriber

,which corresponds to Free Users (access level: Stakeholder) and Team Services users (access level: Basic). Each of them defines access to VSTS features, more information can be found here.

- Each VSTS provides up to 5 Free Basic licenses. Access above 5 licenses is paid, see info on pricing here.

- Stakeholders and MSDN subscribers are free and unlimited.

- MSDN subscribers (mainly Partners) need to link their MSDN accounts to their organizational accounts first, otherwise they will remain as Basic in VSTS. See the procedure of linking those accounts here.

 

To change user Access Level

1. Go to https://<customer>.visualstudio.com

2. Go to Users under Settings icon at the bottom of the page:

 


 

3. Select user and right click on it, then click on Choose Access Level:

 


 

 

4. Choose access level from the list and click on Save changes

 

 


 

You can also add users directly to VSTS account (site) through: https://<customer>.visualstudio.com Settings icon > Security:

1. Click on Add

 


 

2. Select user from the directory, choose the user access level and click on Send invitation

 


 

3. Go to the project https://<customer>.visualstudio.com/projectname Settings icon > Users and add them there.

 

4.2 Security: Creating VSTS teams and groups

Other than user AAD membership or VSTS Access Level, Teams and Groups are also the way of managing the security in VSTS. Teams will define who has the access in VSTS and Groups will define which level of access these Teams have.

You can access them from:

1. https://<customer>.visualstudio.com Settings icon > Security

2. You will find Teams and Groups on the left hand side:

 


 

- there is one default team created when creating VSTS project: VSTSprojectname Team. All added users are by default part of this team

- you can create new teams and assign users to them

- you can create new groups and assign teams to them

For example, Build Administration Group has the following permissions:

 


 

And the following Teams are part of this group:

 


 

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Steps to link your VSTS to LCS project

1. In LCS project, go to Project Settings > Visual Studio Team Services and click on Set up Visual Studio Team Services:

 

 

2. Provide requested information in each part and click on Continue:

 Visual Studio Team Services URL and Personal access token from VSTS Account Setup part:


 

 

VSTS Account will be inserted automatically. Choose VSTS Project from the list:

 


 

Once VSTS project is chosen, it will automatically import process template (work item process) you choose for your VSTS project in step 2.2 of your Create a VSTS project part:

 

 


 

You can accept these settings for the moment, click on Continue and move to the Summary part, and then Save if all correct:

 


 

 

3. Authorize LCS to access VSTS site on your behalf

From LCS site: In order to create or update Visual Studio Team Services resources, project users should be members of the Visual Studio Team Services project and authorize Lifecycle Services to act on their behalf

 

3.1 In the Action Center on the left side of your LCS project, under the below message click on Authorize

 


 

3.2 Click on Yes:

 

 


 

 

3.3 Click on Accept:

 

 


 

VSTS set up is complete.

 

You can see the BUILD environment is now ready to configure:

 


 

You will still need to add the VSTS Build Agent in one of the configuration part of BUILD machine, but it will be discussed in the next part of this blog series about Setting up your environments so stay tuned!

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I hope this article provided you enough guidance for configuring your Visual Studio Team Services.

To resume: configuring your LCS project with Visual Studio Team Services will allow you to get the best out of Lifecycle Services portal as it will use it for Iteration management, Work Items tracking, Upgrade, Developer experience and other features.

 

Regards,

Anna Mohib-Januszewska

Senior Consultant Dynamics AX Infrastructure, Avanade France

 

 

Additional references:

 

 https://www.visualstudio.com/team-services/

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/visual-studio-team-services/

https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/docs/tfvc/comparison-git-tfvc

https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/docs/work/guidance/choose-process

https://www.visualstudio.com/team-services/compare-features/

https://www.visualstudio.com/team-services/pricing/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/active-directory-create-users

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/active-directory-create-users-external

https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/docs/setup-admin/team-services/link-msdn-subscription-to-organizational-account-vs

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/winsdk/2016/09/29/visual-studio-team-services-and-microsoft-accounts-vsts-and-msas/

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/axdevalm/2016/07/08/vsts-integration-errors-and-resolutions/