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re-BUILD 2017 Comes to Chicago on June 1st

by Angela 26. May 2017 21:22

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It’s a new age, a new era, where Microsoft is leading the Open Source revolution.

//BUILD is the Microsoft Developer event of the year where we learn about the strategy and direction that the technology will take. Join us for the Best of Build, a half day developer focused event that will take you thru the latest features and share what's compelling and exciting. Explore the possible at Best of Build 2017.

The schedule will cover:

  • Build 2017 Keynote Highlights
  • Mobile Center
  • Going Serverless with Azure Functions
  • Hackfest/Pizza Party

 

REGISTER now to secure your seat!

Where and when

Thu, June 1, 2017
8:30 AM – 1:00 PM CDT

Microsoft Office - Chicago/Downers Grove
3025 Highland Pkwy
Suite 300
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Not in Chicago? No problem, this roadshow is traveling the country. More scheduled cities are listed below with more coming soon!

Tags:

Mobile | Mobile development | Azure | Cloud Computing | //BUILD

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Managing your Infrastructure as Code with Azure and VSTS–Chicago Agile and DevOps Meetup on May 23rd

by Angela 9. May 2017 19:24

In order to be successful in today's global marketplace, organizations are moving to a more agile approach to software development. In order to be competitive, organizations must look to reduce lead times from years to weeks. One of the barriers to this are the lead times of provisioning infrastructure. Enter DevOps. And what is one way DevOps can accomplish such a herculean feat…Infrastructure as Code!

Infrastructure as Code is all about automating the work of IT Operations and treating it like application code. This session will be jam-packed with Visual Studio, Git, VSTS, PowerShell, ARM, Azure, OMS, DSC and more as we show how we can automate the provisioning and management of our infrastructure…all as code.

How are your environments provisioned today? Are you still racking servers, managing environments on a spreadsheet or deploying infrastructure with "Next…Next…Finish"? If so, this session is for you!

Attendees will learn the following objectives:

  • What Infrastructure as Code is
  • How Azure can help automate the process of environment provisioning
  • Create a full end-to-end solution of automating infrastructure and operations

 

Dinner will be provided for all registered attendees!

 

Agenda

6:00PM: Dinner and networking

6:30PM: Presentation begins

8:00PM: Closing remarks

 

About the speaker: Christopher Mank is the Co-founder and Chief Technologist at White Ficus and a Cloud and Datacenter MVP with a focus in ALM/DevOps and automation. He engages with customers to understand how they plan, build, test, and release software today and help them do it better with automation across the entire lifecycle.
Christopher has technical expertise in Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), TFS, System Center, .Net, PowerShell, SQL Server, Azure, ARM, Azure Automation, DSC, OMS, and Application Insights.

 

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VS Live Chicago 2017

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Special Announcement and discount code for Polaris event attendees:

Visual Studio Live! is coming to Chicago this Fall!

Visual Studio Live! (VSLive!™) is thrilled to be returning to Chicago, September 18-21 at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile! Developers, software architects, engineers and designers will be on a mission to code during four days of unbiased and cutting-edge education on the Microsoft Platform. Cruise through the hottest topics, jam with industry and Microsoft insiders and let loose with your peers -- all designed to give you the best in independent training to help make you a coding rock star!

Exclusive savings: register with priority code CHUG04 to save $500 off the standard 4-day rate! More info: http://bit.ly/CHUG04home

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Tags:

Azure | DevOps | VSTS | Visual Studio Team Services | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2017 | Powershell | git

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Dinner with Aaron Bjork from Microsoft on June 8th in Chicago: Building an Agile Culture that Scales

by Angela 3. May 2017 16:42

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In June we have another great opportunity to talk to someone at Microsoft who has walked the path that many of us are looking to walk. Please join us in hearing from someone who knows how rocky an agile transformation can be, particularly in a MASSIVE company like Microsoft.More about Microsoft's agile and DevOps journey can be found on their website.

Dinner will be provided.

Description of the talk:

Everyone accepts that agile methods and practices work… but how do you apply them at scale without stifling the creativity, autonomy, and energy of your teams? Listen as Aaron Bjork describes how Microsoft has undergone radical changes in recent years to build a culture of “Aligned Autonomy”. Aaron will share stories from before and after, and talk about some of the key changes that have contributed to the new Microsoft

Agenda:

6:00pm: Grab dinner and a seat!

6:30pm: The DevOps show begins

PLEASE REGISTER HERE, Aon security regulations require it!

Speaker Bio:

Aaron Bjork is a Principal Group Program Manager working in Microsoft’s Developer Division where drives all investments in work management, agile project management, reporting, and collaboration for Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Services and Team Foundation Server products.

Aaron joined Microsoft in 2002 working as a software engineer and development lead on the Visual Studio product line. Prior to joining Microsoft, Aaron worked for various startups in the Seattle area. Aaron is passionate about Agile, DevOps, and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and has a strong desire to see teams improve their software engineering practices & culture.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Washington. When he’s not writing code or designing new features, you’ll find him doing projects with his family on their hobby farm or working to lower his handicap on the golf course.

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If you are driving to this event, don't forget that you can get great deals on parking using SpotHero!

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VS Live CHicago

Special Announcement and discount code for Polaris event attendees:

Visual Studio Live! is coming to Chicago this Fall!

Visual Studio Live! (VSLive!™) is thrilled to be returning to Chicago, September 18-21 at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile! Developers, software architects, engineers and designers will be on a mission to code during four days of unbiased and cutting-edge education on the Microsoft Platform. Cruise through the hottest topics, jam with industry and Microsoft insiders and let loose with your peers -- all designed to give you the best in independent training to help make you a coding rock star!

Exclusive savings: register with priority code CHUG04 to save $500 off the standard 4-day rate! More info: http://bit.ly/CHUG04home

Tags:

Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | VSTS | DevOps

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Polaris at the St. Louis Silver Linings 2017 - Where IT is Going

by Angela 25. April 2017 15:30

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Polaris is a proud sponsor of the St. Louis Silver Linings conference this year, and I wanted to pass on the news about this amazing event in case you haven’t had a chance to check it out.

 
St. Louis Silver Linings is the largest conference in the region covering three big trends in the IT industry: DevOps, Data Sciences, and Cloud Computing.

The event is on May 2nd and kicks off with a keynote from Veronica S. Smith, data scientist and founder of data2insight. Following the keynote, the conference will feature breakout sessions covering topics from data science, big data, machine learning, intelligent cloud, DevOps, tooling, and more! Visit the speakers page to see the list of distinguished speakers already confirmed.


Event Info
May 2, 2017
7:00 AM – 6:00 PM CDT
St. Charles Convention Center
1 Convention Center Plaza
St. Charles, MO 63303

Register Now to reserve your seat!

Tags:

DevOps | Data science | Big data | intelligent cloud

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Visual Studio 2017 - Best of Launch - Downers Grove on April 17th

by Angela 6. April 2017 03:13

In case you hadn’t seen the announcements, there is a great, free event coming to the Chicagoland area to celebrate the launch of Visual Studio 2017! Details and registration link below…

 

Since Visual Studio launched 20 years ago it has evolved to become a favorite IDE of the casual to professional developer. With the launch of Visual Studio 2017 Microsoft has stepped up their game with improvements to make it easier to work with Cloud, Mobile and Web, as well as a number of productivity improvements.

Join us for a morning of exploring the possible with Mike Benkovich (@mbenko) and Mitch Muenster (@mobileRez) as we take a look the latest tools and technologies with Visual Studio, Xamarin and the Mobile Center, and DevOps with Team Services. The day starts at 8:30 and ends with a hackfest/install pizza party.

 

Tentative agenda:

  • 8:30 – Hello Visual Studio
  • 9:45 – Exploring Mobile Stack
  • 11:00 – DevOps, .NET Core, Docker and more
  • 12:00 – Pizza & Hackfest
 

When: Mon, April 17, 2017

8:30 AM – 1:00 PM CDT

 

Where: Microsoft Office - Downers Grove

3025 Highland Pkwy

Suite 300

Downers Grove, IL 60515

View Map

 

Register today!

Tags:

Visual Studio 2017 | Visual Studio | Visual Studio Team Services | DevOps | Xamarin | VS2017 | xa

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Spring Into DevOps on April 12th in Chicago with Donovan Brown

by Angela 5. April 2017 18:59
 

DevOps is about people, process and products. Getting it all right requires effort but the benefits to your organization and customers can be huge. Microsoft has a fantastic set of products that can adapt to any language on any platform. In this demo-heavy session, Donovan Brown will show you how to go from "zero to DevOps" like a pro. Starting from just a blank desktop, he will create a new team project and a complete pipeline. He will also deploy an ASP.NET MVC application into Azure, all live and hands on. Why is DevOps one of the hottest topics? Because it hurts the most. Luckily, Donovan's unofficial tag line is #RubDevOpsOnIt and he's here to make it all better.

This is going to be an action packed event, and a rare opportunity to speak to the Principal DevOps Program Manager at Microsoft himself. So come ready to drink from the DevOps firehose!

Agenda for Wed, April 12, 2017

6:00pm: Grab dinner and a seat!

6:30pm: The DevOps show begins

Register soon on our Events page as the event will likely sell out!

Location: Microsoft Midwest District

200 East Randolph Street

#200

Chicago, IL 60601

View Map

 

Speaker: Donovan Brown, Principal DevOps Program Manager, Microsoft

Meet the Man in the Black Shirt. Donovan Brown is a Principal DevOps Program Manager on Microsoft's US Developer Division team. Before joining Microsoft, Donovan spent seven years as a Process Consultant and a Certified Scrum Master. Developer Tools are his thing. Donovan has travelled the globe helping companies in the U.S., Canada, India, Germany, and the UK develop solutions using agile practices, Visual Studio, and Team Foundation Server in industries as broad as Communications, Health Care, Energy, and Financial Services. What else keeps the wheels spinning on The Man in The Black Shirt? Donovan's also an avid programmer, often finding ways to integrate software into his other hobbies and activities, one of which is Professional Air Hockey where he has ranked as high as 11 in the world.

Please note: Due to Aon Center security, you MUST be registered to attend.

Tags:

VSTS | DevOps | Visual Studio Team Services | Continuous Delivery | Continuous deployment | Continuous integration | Deployment Planning | Deployment

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FREE Lunch and Learn: Enterprise Adoption of Visual Studio Team Services on March 30th

by Angela 14. March 2017 23:59

If you are a Team Foundation Server customer, you may already understand how valuable it is to bring your teams together in one place to orchestrate your entire development lifecycle. Now that Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) has been launched, there are many compelling reasons to consider migrating your on-premises Team Foundation Server to the cloud.

Please join us as we share our key insights and action plans for migrating your enterprise to VSTS.

Our partners at OpsHub will share their story about integrating VSTS with other enterprise services in their organization, and how it has helped them create a more productive and customer focused ecosystem. They will take us through their journey from the pre-agile phase to the customer-obsessed phase and share their insights on leveraging the power of integration to deliver quality product and services in a shorter cycle time.

Complimentary lunch will be provided. Seating is limited. Please register to attend!

 

Key Takeaways:

Highlights of VSTS capabilities

Navigating the ALM and DevOps ecosystem

Migration Considerations

Integration with other enterprise services

Next Steps

 

Date and Time: Thu, March 30, 2017 from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM CDT

Location

Microsoft - Downer's Grove

3025 Highland Parkway

Suite #200

Downers Grove, IL 60515

Presenters:

Angela Dugan is a Principal Consultant for Polaris Solutions, a consulting firm based out of Chicago, Denver, and St. Louis. Angela has been in software since 1999, filling roles including business analyst, developer, tester, project manager, and agile coach. Prior to joining Polaris, Angela spent 5 years as a TFS specialist with Microsoft, where her passion for working with the local community was sparked. In 2011 she followed her passion for problem solving to Polaris, and now runs their ALM Practice. Angela runs the Chicago ALM user group, is an active organizer/speaker at local conferences including ThatConference, is a Microsoft ALM MVP, a Certified Scrum master, and a SAFe Program Consultant.

Sandeep Jain is the founder and CEO of OpsHub Inc. His vision for making software integration and migration a customer-friendly affair is the driving force behind OpsHub. Sandeep has 25 years of experience in the software industry. He has been at the forefront of driving agile transformation through his expertise in ALM and DevOps integration and has filed more than 20 patents in the domain.

 

Building security requires you to be pre-registered.  Please sign up on our events page.

Tags:

Visual Studio Team Services | VSTS | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management

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Chicago ALM and Agile Meetup Series: Introducing Visual Studio ALM 2017 on March 14th in Downers Grove

by Angela 6. March 2017 17:24

Have you seen Team Foundation Server (TFS) and its cloud based sibling Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) lately? TFS/VSTS has evolved significantly over the past 2 – 3 years. In this presentation and demo we will take a look at some of the newer features such as the Agile planning tool updates, Git integration enhancements, cross platform build and release tools, (You can now build Java, iOS and Android apps!) and the browser based manual testing tools.

Have you thought about migrating from TFS to VSTS? Microsoft now has migration tools to move to VSTS without losing anything that you currently have in TFS. Angela Dugan will be walking you through some options for migrating to VSTS, including the new high-fidelity migration tool.

This session will be on the heels of Microsoft’s virtual launch event for Visual Studio 2017 and before The 360 on Innovative Application event on March 16th so, it will be packed with tons of information about the changes that Microsoft has made in Visual Studio 2017, TFS 2017 and VSTS.

Make sure to REGISTER for the event by March 13th, 2017!

 

Agenda

6:00PM: Dinner and networking

6:30PM: Presentation begins

8:00PM: Closing remarks

Speaker Bios

Dave Burnison works as a technology specialist for Microsoft's application lifecycle management product line and Azure development workloads. Dave is super-passionate about ALM and the software development life cycle, and has worked in the software development industry his entire career. Having worked for both startups and large companies, his strength is his knowledge of the overall software development lifecycle paired with technical skills which allow him to create and manage ALM systems, processes and procedures that enable software development teams to become as efficient and productive as possible. On the personal front, when he’s not at work Dave enjoys spending time with his family and friends, being involved in his church, and following the NFL and NASCAR.

Angela Dugan is a Principal Consultant and Practice Manager for Polaris Solutions, a software technology and process consulting firm based in Chicago. Her focus as Practice Manager is supporting clients through training and coaching as they work together to increase their agility and improve their DevOps practices. Angela has been in the industry since 1999, and spent over 5 years as a technology evangelist with Microsoft. Angela is an active technology community member in Chicago and organizes several local conferences including Chicago Code Camp, ThatConference, and St. Louis DevUp. She is a Microsoft ALM MVP, a Certified Scrum master, and a SAFe Program Consultant. Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, an aspiring runner, and a Twitter addict. She is constantly working on her 1910 house in Oak Park with her husband David, where they raise two ornery chickens named Betsy and Gertrude, and a rambunctious puppy named Sadie.  And yes, that goes about as well as you’d imagine Smile

 

Make sure to REGISTER for the event by March 13th, 2017!

Tags:

Visual Studio | Visual Studio Team Services | Team Foundation Server | Visual Studio 2017 | TFS 2017

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Nervous about Submitting Talks to Conferences? I Was Too

by Angela 28. February 2017 20:09

Note: If you’re itching to get right to the part where I offer ideas for improving your chances of being selected for conferences, skip past this right to the bottom. I promise I won’t be offended, mostly because I won’t know you did it Smile with tongue out

I say “was” like I got over it, but I really didn’t. I just found a great support system to help me muster the courage and confidence to get my thoughts together, pitch an idea, and do my best to deliver on it.  Not every talk I give is a home run, but I’m not a paid, professional speaker either. A lot of people have told me I make it look so easy, it’s not. I still get stomach flutters hitting submit on almost any talk I propose for a conference. I get excited and even MORE nervous the times I am selected. But I am also someone who is really passionate about what I do, who has had a lot of experiences both good and bad, and who truly believes that we can learn a TON from each other if only we’d all have the courage to show up and give it a go. And I rarely do it alone.

For me it is two-fold. I grew up with this core belief that to be enough, to be valued that I have to be perfect. That I have to know something expertly before having the “audacity” to speak on it at a conference. I think that is why I have gotten really comfortable speaking on Imposter Syndrome, because OH BOY do I do that well Smile

It’s a fairly common feeling, and one that seems even more pervasive among minorities in a given field. SO sure, this is not JUST about being a woman in a STEM field, but I am a woman in a STEM field and I can’t really speak with authority on what it’s like to be anything else. I also know there are never lines in my bathroom at conferences, because not many of us are attending, and even fewer of us are speaking. As a conference organizer, I can also state from experience that it’s not an issue of women not being selected to speak, women often are not submitting to begin with! Why? I don’t know for sure, I imagine it’s not only more complicated than any of us can posit from the safety of our office chairs, but it’s different for everyone. This post isn’t about deconstructing all that and solving the world, but it’s about things we CAN do to mitigate one of the factors contributing to this.

For me, personally, it’s partly a confidence problem. I’d see a call for speakers and get excited about the idea of sharing my experiences, I’d even brainstorm a few ideas, then immediately think a) “Who am *I* to tell anyone anything? I don’t know anything that anyone else doesn’t already know” and b) my abstract sucks and probably won’t get picked so why should I even bother submitting. Getting rejected is humiliating and I’d rather not submit at all.  That first thought, that’s a big one that I am not tackling in this post. so let’s focus on abstract quality and presentation experience.

First off, not being selected for a conference is not the same thing as being “rejected” (thanks to my friend Sharon, @scichelli on Twitter, for that reminder today!) For instance, I know for a fact that some conferences get as many as 10 submissions for every speaker slot. That means that even if selection was totally random, you could have as little as a 10% chance of being selected. Most conferences I have been involved in rely on “blind voting” for final topic selection, meaning personal information is stripped so that selection comes down to writing style, quality of your description, and honestly how “hot” your topic is given where the industry is at the time. I know, that’s a lot of pressure, because now not only do you need be passionate and know your stuff, you also have to make sure your topic is interesting and current, but that your abstract catches the eye of whomever is judging them over and above other abstracts on the same material! This is where you CAN get help though, you don’t have to write your abstracts in a vacuum.

You may not know this, but there are a lot of things you can do to make sure your speaker bios and abstracts are “up to snuff” as it were:

Send them to a friend that you trust, maybe even someone not in the same field as you.  They can often sanity check things for grammar, spelling, and general style since they are not caught up on technical jargon. Seriously, bad grammar and spelling can mean the different between being selected or not when looking at 2 similar talks…

  1. Send them to a coworker, so someone who can make a pass on non-technical aspects but can also make sure the technical content is something interesting and valuable
  2. Pitch them to a smaller venue first, like an internal lunch and learn, or a local user group. This adds a bonus opportunity to practice your content and pacing, and tweak your presentation based on initial audience feedback. Meetup.com is an awesome place to start if you don’t already know what groups meet in your area.
  3. Check out the conference site and see if they offer any guidance or personal assistance. For instance, I am an organizer of ThatConference and we have really detailed guidance on how abstracts are voted on as well as some tips on creating really compelling submissions. The guidance is applicable for ANY conference talk, so I highly recommend checking it out. ThatConference also setup a dedicated slack community channel for attendees and potential speakers to ask questions and collaborate, which could include asking for help/support with your abstracts. This is becoming pretty common at other conferences too. Take advantage if the conference you are submitting to offers these resources!
  4. Last but not least, reach out via social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Facebook. Many of us are willing tor review a bio and abstract, offer advice or tips on public speaking, or connect you with any support that you need if we cannot provide it. I made an offer on Twitter just the other day and a bunch of my Twitter comrades offered up their assistance too! Check it out:

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So next time you see a call for speakers, and you’re hesitating because you’re afraid your abstract isn’t good enough or that you don’t have anything to add to the collective pool of tech knowledge, hit up one of the resources above, including me! You have more to offer than you know, I promise!

 

And one quick reminder of a few call for papers that is open right now:

ThatConference

CFP Opened TODAY and closes on March 15th

https://www.thatconference.com/

Chicago Code Camp

CFP Opened TODAY and closes on February 28th

https://www.chicagocodecamp.com/

Chicago Coder’s Conference

CFP is open and closes on March 3rd

chicagocoderconference.com

Tags:

public speaking

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Free Microsoft DevOps Strategy Event Coming to Cities Across the US

by Angela 27. February 2017 16:49

This looks like a really great event if your organization is still trying to wrap its head around what DevOps really means and how to get started, particularly if you’re already investing heavily in Microsoft technologies. Please note, this is going to focus on high level strategy and business focused DevOps discussions, if you’re looking for something more hands-on, stay tuned. I’ll be sharing more events soon.

If events like these get you excited about moving forward but you’re still not confident to go it alone, reach out to us! Polaris has helped a number of their clients to quickly jumpstart their DevOps initiatives through a combination of agile coaching and immersive adoption of modern tools and proven, leading practices!

Hope to see you there,

~Angela

 

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In support of your pursuit towards Digital Transformation and harnessing digital technology for organizational success, we invite you to learn how Microsoft’s platforms and tools can provide you efficiencies at scale while delivering application experiences that will truly delight your employees and customers.

Microsoft’s Cloud Application Development team is hosting a new event “The 360 on Innovative Applications” in 12 cities across the USA. We want you to be able to walk away with a 360 degree view of how you can architect and maintain applications with DevOps processes so that you can delight your customers and employees, provide an entirely new level of insights, and create a development environment that supports your LOB stakeholders in driving business agility.

 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

Sr. Development, IT and Data Professionals who are interested in identifying how they can move their organization forward by implementing DevOps practices, tools and adoption of the newest application architecture and functionality that can differentiate their organization from their competitors.  We suggest that you forward this to your colleagues who would be working with you on implementing this transformation. Please note: This is ‘NOT’ a hands on lab boot camp!

We hope that you will take the time to register today, and ask that you please extend this invite to your peers!

 

Agenda:

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Locations:

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Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | DevOps | Visual Studio Team Services | Visual Studio | TFS | Team Foundation Server | Application Insights

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