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Preliminary Chicago Code Camp Schedule is Up!

by Angela 14. April 2016 08:01

Hey campers, I hope you’re registered for Chicago Code Camp on April 30th. If not, get on over there and sign up for a great day of tech! It’s free, it’s fun, and we’d love to see you there.

Remember last year when you tried to get into that one SUPER popular session and there were people out the door? And then you went to that other session (like one of mine) and it was in an enormous room but only 20 or so people were there? Yeah, it happens because we were trying to guess how many people would show up for certain sessions, and we were close but didn’t get them all right.  We want to do better this year!

Once you get registered, be sure to review all of the great speakers and sessions and start thinking about what you might want to go see that day, then click the star next to your favorites  In case you missed my blog post about marking your favorite sessions, we still need your help planning out the day. We’ve started playing calendar Tetris to find the best possible time slots for each session, and we’re basing what times and which rooms each session will land in based on how many people hope to attend it. So while we have posted a preliminary schedule, we will keep using your votes to make changes to make sure that you can attend as many of your favorite sessions as possible. . Of course, we can’t help it if you want to attend multiple sessions in the same slot, we don’t have THAT kind of technology yet, but Min and Lwin are probably working on it Smile

OK, now stop reading and go register for CCC 2016 and favorite some sessions!

Tags:

Chicago Code Camp | community

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What Conference? ThatConference! That Joke is Getting Old But I Love It

by Angela 11. April 2016 13:02

Feels like just yesterday I was packing up and moving down another career path, and talking about this awesome conference with a funny name that was having it’s very first year. Can you believe it’s been almost 5 years?!  Well, here we are about to have our 5th ThatConference, and the call for speakers was a whirlwind, and we were blown away with the wide range of topics and subjects that people submit and voted on. This year is going to be so AWESOME! I know, I say that every year, but every year it’s true.

The speaker and session list includes an incredibly diverse range of topics. There are over 40 female speakers, and at least a dozen kid speakers so far - and the list of young campers speaking at the conference is still growing! You know, it’s one thing to be part of a successful conference, that feels really good. But it’s another to have a conference that incites such excitement that you have dozens of kids willing to roll up their sleeves and teach us all some great new skills. I just cannot get over that. I had neither the chutzpah nor the opportunity for something like that growing up, so I love that we can do that at ThatConference. If you missed the call for speakers, and you or your little ones are interested in speaking, keep in mind that we will have Open Spaces sessions to allow for spur of the moment talks.

Needless to say I am so proud to be a part of something like this, and am so grateful to be part of such a passionate and dedicated conference team – especially Clark and Carrie Sell. None of us knew what we were signing on to back in 2010 when the idea was born, including them I imagine Smile

Haven’t heard of ThatConference? Well, get on over to the conference website because I probably can’t do it justice. I hope you, and your family can make it this year! Early bird pricing is in effect, so be sure to grab your tickets and your rooms soon.  They won’t last – trust me on this!

Below are some fun pics from last year that I wanted to share as well, maybe you’ll see yourself in here Smile

Some fun times decorating badges:

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The amazing conference crew:

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Board game night!

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Our glorious stage (and leader!)

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Tags:

ThatConference | community | Cloud Computing | Azure | Mobile | Mobile development | Agile | Scrum | SDLC | web development

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Help us Make Chicago Code Camp 2016 Awesome by Marking Sessions You Plan to Attend

by Angela 4. April 2016 16:41

Hopefully you’ve already signed up for Chicago Code Camp 2016!  If not, get on over to the site, check it out, and get signed up! Sure, you can register the day of, but we get a LOT of people first thing in the morning and there could be lines. So trust me and don’t wait if you know you are coming anyway. Registering ahead of time also helps us to plan better! CCC 2016 requires a lot of planning for food, logistics, seating, T-shirt orders, and if we know ahead of time how many people are coming, what you are eating, and what sessions you want to go to, well we are far more able to be ready for you!

Once you are registered, head on over to the Session page and start favoriting the things you think you might attend. And we know, it’s hard to pick sometimes, and maybe you want to go to all of them, because we do have some amazing sessions this year!  That’s ok, pick everything that you like and we’ll sort out the rest. You can unmark the items later if you change your mind, or when inevitably two really good talks are happening at the same time and you can’t be at both. We just want to avoid sessions with larger audiences from being in tiny rooms, and more niche topics with a more focused audience getting the auditorium.

And marking an item as a favorite it easy! Look for the star to the left of the title on the General Sessions page, and click the star to highlight (if the star is yellow it’s a favorite!). Click again to unmark.

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Same process from the session detail page, but now the star is in the lower right:

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All of us volunteers who work hard to make Chicago Code Camp a success appreciate your help with this!  See you on April 30th!!

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FREE CQAA Webinar April 6th: Improve your Retrospectives with Agile Kaizen

by Angela 4. April 2016 07:56

I am doing a quick lunch-time webinar for CQAA this week Wednesday on how to improve your software team’s retrospectives with the Kaizen process. Check it out if you’re free!  And check out CQAA (Chicago Quality Assurance Association) as well, it is a great local organization focused on software quality and testing.

Description:

Continuous self-improvement of software teams is traditionally accomplished through retrospectives, a form of post-mortem held at the completion of an iteration. More often than not, retrospectives begin to fade and the list of action items keeps growing until teams simply succumb to business-as-usual practices. In some cases, teams eventually abandon retrospectives altogether because they feel like a waste of time!

  • Do you feel like your retrospectives are a death march where no one is actively participating?
  • Do the same problems seem to resurface repeatedly in the team's retrospectives?
  • Are your retrospectives ending prematurely or being cancelled in favor of "getting more real work done"?
  • Or maybe you feel great about your agile retrospectives, but just want to learn more about Kaizen...

Join Angela as she explains how you can use Kaizen to analyze and improve your retrospectives, regardless of your team’s process. She will begin with a brief review of what a retrospective is and walk through some examples of both healthy and unhealthy retrospective scenarios she has experienced herself. Angela will then explain the concept of Kaizen, the Kaizen process, and how you can leverage a Kaizen process to turn your retrospectives back into the effective continuous improvement tools they are meant to be!

Key Learning Objectives

Determining if your current agile retrospectives are effective

Learn Kaizen Burst techniques

Using Kaizen in agile retrospectives

About the Speaker (Hint: it’s ME! Smile)

Angela Dugan is the ALM Practice Manager for Polaris Solutions, a small technology consulting firm based out of Chicago and St. Louis. She has been in software development since 1999, including 5 years as an ALM Tools evangelist with Microsoft. Angela also runs the Chicago Visual Studio ALM user group, is an active organizer and speaker at several local conferences, is a Microsoft ALM MVP, and is both a Certified Scrum master and SAFe Program Consultant. Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, an aspiring runner, and a Twitter addict. She lives in a 1910 house in Oak Park, Illinois that she is constantly working on/cursing at with her husband David.

Register now for this webinar!

 

The Chicago Quality Assurance Association, the Chicago Chapter of the QAI Global Institute is a nonprofit professional organization that was established in 1984 to promote quality principles and practices within Chicago-area companies. CQAA provides a forum for information professionals to present and discuss quality and process management within information systems, technology, and services.

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | Scrum | retrospectives | Agile

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Discover TFS 2015 and VSTS Build Services with Paul Hacker At the Chicago ALM Meetup on April 13th

by Angela 1. April 2016 09:51

In case you missed it, Update 2 for both Visual Studio 2015 and TFS 2105 were announced at //Build yesterday! Be sure to download it and check out the new features as soon as you get a chance, you won’t regret it J One of the biggest changes in TFS 2015 is the new build system. It can be a bit overwhelming to get ramped up on all of the new features, so this next meeting will be a great way to get your feet wet.

Getting Started with Team Foundation Server 2015 Build

Team Foundation Server (TFS) has a powerful build system for years. Nevertheless, TFS 2015 introduces a completely new system. Wondering what this is about and why (again) belongs to something new to you? Join us to explore the next generation of TFS build system and learn more about the background, the technical implementation and the benefits (eg, Cross-Platform builds).

Please note - Many people have requested an earlier starting time, so we're giving it a try. Dinner now starts at 6:00pm and the presentation will start at 6:30pm. See you there!

Speaker Bio:

Paul Hacker has over 15 years of application architecture, design, development, and management expertise in Microsoft technologies. Paul has a depth of experience in ALM, Process Improvement, and Team Foundation Server.  Having distinguished himself as a leader in the IT industry he has been awarded the distinction of Microsoft MVP in the ALM category every year since 2006. Over the years Paul has proven his expertise in Application Lifecycle Management and has demonstrated his professionalism and commitment to the continuous process of managing the life of an application through governance, development and maintenance.

Check out Paul's blog, and listen for him sharing exciting VSTS/TFS news and updates on the RadioTFS podcast!

Join Us Wednesday, April 13, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Location:Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

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

*I know parking is pricey in the city so please don't overpay for it. SpotHero has some great parking very near to the Aon Center for as little as $10, I use them and I love the service!

P.S. Don’t forget to register, Aon center security requires it.

Tags:

TFS | TFS 2015 | Team Foundation Server | Build Automation | Continuous Delivery | Continuous deployment | Continuous improvement | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2015 | Visual Studio Team Services | Con | vis

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IAMCP WIT Chicago event - Personal Branding Panel Discussion - March 30th

by Angela 22. March 2016 16:37

Wanted to share this event in case you are not already a member of IAMCP or IAMCP WIT!

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In today's competitive marketplace, personal branding is more important than ever. Personal branding is about creating a personal marketing campaign that helps you stand out from the crowd and advance your career. In our panel discussion, you'll receive advice that will help you to establish your credibility, show your unique value, and distinguish yourself from the competition so you can become a better leader throughout your career.

Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Time: 4:30-6:30pm

Location: Microsoft (Aon) – 200 E Randolph St #200, Chicago, IL 60601

Register Today – Seats are Limited!

Join Us to Discover

· How to develop your unique brand and use it to succeed in your career

· The importance of staying true to yourself

· Why personal branding is essential for professional growth

· Ways to powerfully communicate your brand and build credibility

· What personal branding is and what will it do for you

· How to represent your brand in today’s digital world (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter)

Each of our panelists will share how personal branding has helped them move their careers forward so they could become the leaders that they are today!

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Tags:

Women | Women in Technology | personal growth | WIT | IAMCP

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Join Polaris at the QAI QUEST Conference in Chicago Next Month

by Angela 22. March 2016 12:15

Next month, the Quality Assurance Institute brings the Quest conference back to Chicago. Quest is the Quality Engineered Software and Testing Conference & EXPO, and it’s a fantastic place to network and learn about the latest trends in quality assurance, team collaboration, and software delivery. From the website:

LEARN - ASSESS - APPLY - CONNECT

QUEST 2016 Conference is the best source for new technologies and proven methods for Quality Engineered Software and Testing. Thought leaders, evangelists, innovative practitioners, and IT professionals from across North America gather together for a week packed with classes, tutorials, educational sessions, hand-on workshops, discussions groups, EXPO, and networking events. Let your quest to build, test, and deliver quality software begin with QUEST 2016! You’ll see sessions around topics such as Agile, Leadership, Measurement, Test Design, Automation, Open Source, Performance, Test Data, Mobile, Security, DevOps, And More… Check out the conference schedule here.

Chris Taylor and yours truly will be delivering a number of sessions at the conference including:

 

I’ll also be speaking at the Manager’s Workshop. I’m excited to have an opportunity to participate in this. I’ve attended in years past as an attendee, and it’s an awesome opportunity to network and learn from peers and thought leaders about some of the things we all struggle with in the software business.

I hope you can attend the conference and perhaps even stop by one of our sessions! Register here while tickets are still available.

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FREE Half Day DevOps Community Roadshow Event in Chicago on April 15th

by Angela 18. March 2016 12:32

Everyone seems to be asking for "better DevOps" these days, but admittedly it's hard to pin down exactly what that means, and to complicate things even more, it seems to mean different things to different people. Is it about people? Is it about processes and practices? Is it about tools? Is it about culture? Yes, all of these things and more! 

This event is focused on some great tools and a few key practices, because we only have 4 hours and we'd probably need a week to tackle everything we'd really like to :)  We'll be talking about Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team Services, Visual Studio, Microsoft Azure, Application Insights, and even some tools you might not expect at a Microsoft event like SonarQube, Octopus Deploy, and Chef! Because let's be honest, our tool belts are overflowing these days, and sometimes it's hard to know which ones are the best one for the job. To that end, we've assembled a fantastic team of local MVPs and technical community leads with loads of experience tackling the various challenges that we all face in the quest for "good DevOps", whatever that means. Check out the agenda below to see more details about what topics they'll be talking about, and be sure to stick around for the raffle of a Microsoft Band 2!

As an added bonus, we're even buying you breakfast! Real breakfast too, with bacon, sausage, eggs, and OJ, not just bagels and coffee. Seating is limited, so please be sure to register to secure your spot today.

This event is being organized and run by some of most passionate folks in the community that I know including Angela Dugan(me!), Chris Taylor, Eric Boyd, Greg Levenhagen, Jim Szubryt, Landan Rotter, and Min Maung. Join us next month for this free, half day event in downtown Chicago to explore DevOps and Azure!

Head on over to Eventbrite today for more details and to get registered!

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Free Chicagoland Event on April 7th - Azure and the Modern Datacenter

by Angela 7. March 2016 08:34

This looks like an awesome free event being put on by one of my talented local peers, Michael Blumenthal, who is a Microsoft MVP (Office Servers and Services).  Wanted to make sure everyone knew about it since it is jam packed with a full day of sessions given by some really great speakers:

What:

Microsoft Azure Cloud Infrastructure allows IT Operations to maximize current resources. But how can you assure security, control, reliability, and scalability? Attend this full day event to learn how to integrate cloud solutions with existing on-premises solutions to enhance datacenter flexibility to deploy new technologies. Explore advanced Azure infrastructure services that enable you to provide reliable data access while maximizing productivity across platforms—third-party, Open Source (OSS), and Microsoft.

Join us to explore:

  • What’s new in Cloud Infrastructure and Microsoft Azure.
  • How to leverage a public cloud solution to increase reliability of disaster recovery using Azure Site Recovery.
  • Faster and easier deployment using Azure Resource Manager templates and GIT.
  • How to design compute and storage infrastructure to improve performance and enhance security through Azure Networking infrastructure.
  • Secure data access with identity solutions via Azure Active Directory.
  • How to deploy applications using Containers and what advantages this provides.

 

Click here to register and for a more detailed agenda

When: Thursday, April 7, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (CDT) - Add to Calendar
Where: Arlington Lakes Golf Club - 1211 New Wilke Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005 - View Map
Audience:  IT operations/infrastructure professionals

Tags:

Azure | Cloud Computing | git | DevOps

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Meetups, meetups, everywhere! But where do you start?

by Angela 24. February 2016 16:54

At our most recent Chicago ALM user group meeting I was approached by someone who was attending their very first technology meetup ever, and had chosen mine! I was glad to hear that he had really enjoyed the meeting and was looking for more technology focused meetups in the area.  I started talking about all of the groups I had recently discovered on Meetup.com and it turns out he had never heard of it. I had assumed he knew about it. Then I wondered, are there other people out there who haven’t discovered the awesomeness of Meetup.com? Maybe you already knew about it, maybe you didn’t, or maybe like me you signed up for an account some number of years ago and haven’t logged in for a while to see what’s new.

If you’ve never been on Meetup.com it would be worth signing up for a free account and seeing what else is in your local area that might be of interest to you.  Heck, there are plenty of meetups that aren't even work related that you might want to attend! It will ask you some questions about where you live, and what topics are interesting to you, and then as you join Meetup groups it learns about your preferences and suggests groups to you that it thinks you will like. Creepy and awesome right? The number of available meetups might be a little overwhelming at first, but here’s the thing - you can watch meetups to get a feel for what they talk about and who attends, so effectively stalking the meetup, before committing to attending it.

Here are just the agile related ones that I am signed up for right now. I wanted to share because maybe you’ve been wanting to find other groups that focus on agile related topics and wasn’t sure where to start.  And hey, if you have one that is not in my list please let me know!

Chicago ALM Meetup – OK, this is MY group and we’re not actually on Meetup.com but I feel like I have to talk about it on my own blog. We discuss a huge variety of topics around Application Lifecycle Management including DevOps strategies, ALM tools like TFS, and various agile practices like continuous integration, continuous deployment, and test automation. We meet in the downtown and Downers Grove Microsoft offices anout 8 times a year. Sign up to be notified of new events at the Chicago ALM user group website!

Chicago Agile Open Spaces meets the first Tuesdays of every month at 5:30pm in the Loop. Been to a few, really great bunch of people who know their stuff! Their next meeting is March 8th and they are talking about Success with: Distributed Teams / Remote Teams: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Agile-Open-Space/

The Chicago Agile Methodology Group meets the third Tuesday of every month at the Catalyst Ranch in west loop. Haven’t been to this one yet, kind of small still, but have some great topics coming up. Their next topic is March 15th on Getting Intentional About Rank and Power in Agile Organizations: http://www.meetup.com/The-Chicago-Agile-Methodology-Group/

Agile Professional Learning Network - This is one is interesting as it is marketed as "professional learning". I see a lot of my PMI contacts attending this one, likely because they meet in the same complex for their own meetups. And hey, NOT in the city for once! The meet the second Thursday of every month in the near northwest burbs (not far from Ohare), but I heard they may be moving closer to Schaumburg soon. Their next topic is Agile Tools vs Physical Boards: : http://www.meetup.com/APLN-Chicago/

Scaling Agile Chicago - This one is new, and is pretty exciting to me as someone who recently got their SPC. Also not in the city which may appeal to a few folks living in the MW suburbs. Seems like they are still figuring out their location and cadence.  The next meeting is SAFe 4.0 Primer, March 31 , Schaumburg Library:http://www.meetup.com/Scaling-Agile-Chicago/

Agile Project Management: I was really excited about this one, but they don't meet very often yet.  I am thinking about reaching out to them about presenting, maybe they just need some support.  http://www.meetup.com/ABOK-ORG/

Chicago Agile Project Management: The meet on the last Monday of the month at 5:30pm at ITA in the loop. Wondering if it replaced the one above, it seems a bit young as well, and this month's topic looks awesome! Alas I'll be on vacation so won't be able to attend myself: Rapid Quality in Agile 3.0  http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-APM/events/228704700/

 

There are meetups for darn near EVERYTHING, so whether you’re into programming in Ember, using Lean for delivering products, raising backyard chickens, reading SciFi books, or reading SciFi books about backyard chickens who prefer developing in Ember (You never know, it might be a thing!), there is a group for you. Apologies in advance if you lose the rest of the night spelunking through Meetup.com Smile

Tags:

community | meetups | Agile | Scrum | SAFe | Lean | Application Lifecycle Management | ALM

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