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Chicago ALM Meetup - Stopping a Slow Motion Trainwreck: A guide to project recovery with JC Grubbs

by Angela 24. September 2015 09:59

Fall is here already, if you can believe that! Leaves are turning, pumpkin spice is flowing, and soon Christmas decorations will be singing to us mercilessly from the aisles of every store.  Wait, that started happening weeks ago Smile with tongue out  I already have a long list of great speakers slated for the Chicago ALM meetup to finish up the year, and I’m really excited about out September speaker and his topic.

Next week we get to hear from someone I have known and admired for many years, JC Grubbs of DevMynd (and now DevWrx!) software. His blog posts are always timely, honest, and full of awesome little nuggets of business wisdom. I was lucky enough to be able to get into his session at ThatConference, and was taking notes like my hands were on fire. He covered a lot of situations that I had found myself in, and had some great advice that I have already been following with success. I immediately invited him to give the talk at the ALM meetup, so I hope you can join us! JC is going to be talking about the dreaded train wreck projects that we all find ourselves living through, and some things we can do to prevent them in the future.

Below are some additional details about the event:

Description: Even in healthy organizations and on functional teams, projects can fail. It could be a lack of visibility, poorly-managed process, integration missteps, or any of a hundred other things. We’re all familiar with the immediate repercussions of failing software projects: lost revenue, delayed schedules, technical debt, etc. But, there are also less understood downstream issues which hamper or prevent full organizational and cultural recovery, even after individual project issues are addressed.

However, with some careful study, it’s possible to identify and prevent many of these cascading failures. We'll examine the entire lifetime of a failing project: we’ll look at the leading indicators of danger so we can identify them sooner, we’ll discuss common root causes and mitigation strategies so we can deal with them more effectively, and we’ll propose some follow up strategies, so we can recover from organizational, technical, and cultural damage as soon as possible.

What will people learn from this presentation?

  • - Ways to detect when software projects are heading towards danger.
  • - Mitigation strategies to prevent and minimize tough situations.
  • - What to do when a project is already in disarray.
  • - What are some of the lingering organizational, technical, and cultural issues that may accompany a failure.

Speaker Bio: JC Grubbs has been designing and writing software for over 15 years. He's worked in tiny consulting shops up to large multi-national conglomerates. Today he leads the team at DevMynd, an agile software studio in Chicago working with JavaScript, Ruby, Clojure, and Node. He is passionate about delivering high quality solutions to customers and doing it with a team that loves what they do and the people they work with.

You can find him on twitter, LinkedIn, GitHub, and at the DevMynd blog. (seriously, subscribe to his blog!)

When: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where:Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

Agenda:6:30 Dinner and networking, 7:00pm Presentation

Be sure to register as this event has limited seating!

 

 

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Special thanks goes out to our October sponsor TaskTop for keeping the ALM meetup going! They have some really great tools for integrating your ALM solutions, including tools like Team Foundation Server, HP ALM, and the IBM Rational suite - so check them out.

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | soft skills | personal growth

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SOLVED (Mostly): MTM Hangs When Opening a Shared Step in the Desktop Client

by Angela 1. September 2015 09:57

This was a real head scratcher, and like many others who have run into this, I spent MANY hours digging through trace logs, event logs, dump files trying to figure out what the heck was going on. It ended up being a really obscure issue with Text Display size.

Anyway, let’s back up. The issue I am describing is one where from within the Microsoft Test Manager client you attempt to open a Shared Step – either from a test case or from the Shared Steps Manger. In either scenario, the shared step opens and before the actual steps load MTM greys out, you see the spinning blue circle of doom, and see the dreaded (Not Responding) message in the title bar:

image

Somewhere in the distance, a sad trombone plays softly…   I was seeing this issue across multiple versions of MTM, multiple operating systems, and against multiple TFS instances. But not everyone was seeing it. Only certain people with a wide variety of versions, update levels, and OSs. So I dig through the event log, looked at MTM trace logs, dump files from the Task Manager, repair MTM, clear cache files, etc. No change.

Then I turned to the MSDN forums.  After about 45 minutes of reading unrelated posts about various ways to hang up MTM, I finally ran across this. I though “No way! It couldn’t be something that obscure”. But I tried it, and lo and behold MTM stopped hanging. Truth be told I don’t even remember changing the text size, but I must have.  It’s so weird that this is the only thing it seemed to have hosed for me.

In case you’re seeing something similar and like me could not remember where the heck to make that change, right click the desktop and choose Screen Resolution then go to Make Text and Other items Larger or Smaller:
clip_image001


Make sure you choose smaller - 100%, and perhaps buy some bifocals because now we are going to go blind trying to read tiny, tiny font. Be sure to log off and then log back in like the operating system tells you to.
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Now everything works as expected. I worked from home the next day, and CANNOT reproduce the issue. Making me wonder if it is because at home I do not have a second monitor. But other people running in second monitors cannot repro. Oy.

I have been working with the MTM product team to try to figure out the root cause, as this has been hard to pin down. I have a number of people who have different OS, MTM, and TFS versions, some of whom also run MTM in a second monitor – and ability to repro is inconsistent ::HEAD DESK::  If you feel like trying to reproduce this issue, leave me a comment and let me know what happened for you, and your OS/MTM/TFS version, if your text size is 100% or not, and if you are using a second monitor. Would love some more data points to throw at the debugging efforts.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Microsoft Test Manager | MTM | TFS | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013 | TFS 2012 | TFS 2010 | Test Case Management

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