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Chicago Code Camp Call for Speakers is Open

by Angela 17. February 2016 08:52

In case you haven’t heard, Chicago Code Camp call for speakers opened last week and we need you! Not heard of Chicago Code Camp? Well, grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair because we have a great story! This is our 8th year, and once again we’ll be staying in downtown Chicago at the Illinois Institute of Technology to make sure we are centrally located and easy to get to by car, train, or subway. It is a day to learn from the community. It is a day to contribute to the community. Please join us by sponsoring, attending, speaking, or all three! We cannot be successful without you. 

The mission of Chicago Code Camp is to provide a credible resource within the IT industry. Our goal is to offer a wide range of opportunities to learn about advancements in our field, to share knowledge from our experiences, and to develop valued relationships with our peers. To that end, Chicago Code Camp is a FREE, day-long event. We are here to connect the talent and expertise within the Developer community of the Windy City, and that includes YOU. Discussions for the day have previously included development and trending topics in .net, java, open sourced frameworks, web, mobile, cloud, robotics, testing, soft skills, and more.

So what ideas, technologies, or strategies do you want to share with us? Everyone has something to contribute, whether its information on a new JavaScript framework, teaching us how to leverage Docker to strengthen our DevOps practices, sharing experiences adopting scrum, or how to handle ourselves better in job interviews. We are looking for a broad set of experiences across just about any topic related to being a technology professional.

Note on our selection process: In order to be fair towards all the speakers who submit for sessions for the Code Camp, the speakers are chosen via a blind voting process by the Chicago Code Camp Advisory Council (CCCAC). The advisory council is made up of various local and regional user group leaders and industry experts. The council will only see the topic title, abstract, and level of difficulty of the talk when voting for the abstract. The council does not have access to the presenter's information. The abstracts with highest votes are then placed into tracks and presenters are notified.

So take a few minutes to absorb some caffeine, think about some topics you’d be willing to share with the rest of the tech community in Chicago, then submit your ideas here: http://www.chicagocodecamp.com/Submissions/WantToShare

 

Hope to see you at Chicago Code Camp this April!  Oh, and general registration is not open yet, but stay tuned for news on that Smile

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Join IAMCP WIT in Chicago on March 10th for a Breakfast Discussion on Work Life Balance!

by Angela 16. February 2016 08:42

Everyone is striving for a WORK-LIFE balance these days which is a good thing! However, we seem to misunderstand what that REALLY means and what it will REALLY look like.  The pursuit of this fabled WORK-LIFE balance has become the newest “having it all!” challenge and ultimate symbol of success for women.

Our guest speaker, Ellen Zelent will share her story of searching for the WORK-LIFE balance unicorn and how her definition of what that is had to change.  Balance is in the eye of the beholder! Do not be confused by what others tell you is balanced. Let’s discuss and share notes and experiences of our individual journeys toward this personal and individual goal.

Date: Thursday, March 10th 
Time: 8:30am-10:30am

  • 8:30-9:00 - Networking and Breakfast
  • 9:00-10:00 - Work-life Balance Presentation
  • 10:00-10:30 - Q&A and Networking

Location: Microsoft Offices (AON) 
                 200 East Randolph St. Suite 200 (MPR 1)
                 Chicago, IL 60601

REGISTER TODAY – SEATS ARE LIMITED

Please don’t forget to register, Aon center security requires it for entry to the Microsoft office! 

Parking can be 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!

Tags:

IAMCP | WIT | Women | Women in Technology

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Improve your Retrospectives with Agile Kaizen!– Feb 17th at the Chicago ALM User Group

by Angela 8. February 2016 11:18

Continuous self-improvement on agile teams is traditionally done through agile 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! I’ve seen it happen, it is NOT pretty.

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

Join Angela as she leads this interactive discussion about how you can use Kaizen to analyze and improve your agile retrospectives. She will begin with a brief review of what an agile retrospective is, and walk through some retrospective scenarios she has experienced on her own scrum teams.  Angela will then explain the concept of Kaizen, and walk through the Kaizen process.  Lastly, Angela will demonstrate how you can use a Kaizen process to turn your agile retrospectives back into the effective continuous improvement tools they are meant to be!

RSVP

Location:Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

Date and time: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

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

Speaker Bio: Angela Dugan is a Principal Consultant and the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Practice Manager for Polaris Solutions, a small .NET development and ALM consulting firm based out of Chicago, Denver, and St. Louis. Angela has been in software development filling various roles since 1999, including 5 years at Microsoft. In 2011, she followed her passion back into the consulting world where she could be far more hands-on with her customers and play a greater role in the local tech community. Angela runs the Chicago ALM user group, is an active organizer and speaker at several local conferences including Chicago Code Camp and ThatConference, is a Microsoft ALM MVP, a Certified Scrum master, and a certified SAFe Program Consultant.

Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, a chicken farmer (seriously, they have chickens!), an aspiring runner, a blogger, and a Twitter addict. She lives in a 1910 house in Oak Park that she is constantly working on/cursing at with her husband David.

Please don’t forget to register, Aon center security requires it!  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!

 

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Agile | Kaizen | Scrum | Software Development Lifecycle Management | Continuous improvement

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Join Polaris Solutions and Microsoft in Downers Grove This Month for a FREE All Day Azure Training Event

by Angela 4. February 2016 14:02

Are you still hovering around the edge of the Azure watering hole? Looking to get some deeper discussion and hands on experience around developing for the cloud, deploying to the cloud, and/or leveraging cloud for dev/test? Microsoft has a great event coming to the Chicago suburbs later this month, and Polaris is excited to be part of that. Please join us for this interactive, full-day training session led by experts from the field, with content created specifically for developers and IT professionals like you. Our very own Chris Taylor will be covering Microsoft Azure App Services with Visual Studio 2015

If you already have Visual Studio 2015 on your laptop or tablet, you’re all set. You can also download it from MSDN or get a trial version here. Don’t have an Azure subscriptions? No worries! you’ll be provided with a free Microsoft Azure pass since you’ll spend most of the day in a hands-on lab environment.

Check out this Agenda, it’s packed with awesome sessions!

8:30AM: Registration / Welcome

9:00AM: Intro to Microsoft Azure & Visual Studio 2015

9:45AM: Azure App service overview

10:30AM: Azure VM and virtual networks (IaaS)

11:00AM: Instructor led / Hands-on labs

12:00PM: Lunch served

1:00PM: Azure Machine Learning

1:45PM: Azure Data overview

2:30PM: Instructor led / Hands-on labs

4:30PM: Wrap up / Evaluations / Raffle

 

Microsoft Office - Chicago (Downers Grove)
3025 Highland Pkwy, Suite 200,
Downers Grove , Illinois 60515
See map and/or driving directions

Date: Feb 23, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

 

Best part, this event is FREE! Get more details and register here: https://www.microsoftevents.com/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x7448165a6

 

Hope to see you there!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | DevOps | VS 2015 | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2015 | Visual Studio Online | Visual Studio Team Services

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Last Chance to Register for the CQAA Agile Testing Practices Program on Jan 26th in Chicago

by Angela 25. January 2016 15:54

I don’t run across many non-QA folks that are members of CQAA – the Chicago Quality Assurance Association, which is a shame. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably part of a software development team (or you are my mom being supportive – Hi Mom!), and ALL members of the team are responsible for quality so really you should check out CQAA in general. They have a lot of really great local events and webinars, AND this year they have a conference coming to Chicago. More on that later…

I coach a lot of software teams on agile and Scrum and hands down one of the biggest challenges is quality.  Specifically – how does QA keep up with development efforts? Well, my first bit of advice is that keeping up with testing implies that only QA is bothering to assure that quality is there, and developers have a huge role to play too. How they do that, well, your team needs to decide. Some level of up-front testing is critical to ensuing quality from the moment there is enough of a requirement worth swarming on to the minute it hits production. TDD, BDD, ATDD, there are many options. This might be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for to delve more deeply into that topic if you’ve been on the fence, or maybe if you haven’t even begun doing the research. Software developers are inherently “lazy” right? How efficient is it that Karen can give you the run down and save you a lot of Googling Smile

This looks like a great event that I hope you consider attending, regardless of your role on the team. I was fortunate enough to end up at a lunch table with Karen many years ago at a Quest conference, and Karen had so much great experience and insight to share. I look forward to any opportunities I can find to learn from her. Today is the last day to register, and I really apologize for the last minute notice but I had forgotten about it myself until today.

 

Influencing your Team Towards BDD & Agile Practices

Karen N. Johnson

About the Topic

We’ve shortened the software development release cycle and we are even moving towards continuous delivery, but our testing efforts still seem to have that waterfall-feel to it. How can we influence more Agile testing practices without feeling like our testing strategies have “fallen off the rails!"

First let’s look at a few of the common terms such as BDD and TDD and understand what each term means and what those practices look like in our daily lives. Next let’s explore small tactical practical ways we can influence adoption of early test thinking on our teams. Let’s also develop a few short concise “elevator pitches” that we can share with teammates, product owners and even senior management in those casual spur of the moment conversations that take place to help influence a continual and evolving adoption of BDD and Agile test practices.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Understand the terms BDD & TDD
  • Learn specific tactics to help move your team towards Agile testing practices
  • Develop an “elevator” pitch for promoting BDD for every layer of management 

About the Speaker

Karen N. Johnson has worked as a software test consultant for many years. Her client engagements range from teaching to project work. Karen is frequent speaker at conferences. She is a contributing author to the book, Beautiful Testing by O’Reilly publishers. She has published numerous articles and blogs about her experiences with software testing. She is the co-founder of the WREST workshop, more information on WREST can be found at: http://www.wrestworkshop.com. Find her on Twitter as @karennjohnson (note the two n’s) and her website: http://www.karennicolejohnson.com.

Host and Location

SAVO Group Ltd.

155 N Wacker Drive

2nd Floor Conference Center

Chicago, IL 60606

Agenda

1:30-2:00 Sign-in & Networking

2:00-2:15 Announcements

2:15-4:00 Presentation (15 minute break at 3:00)

Registration

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS PROGRAM.

PLEASE REGISTER BY Monday, January 25, 2016 at www.cqaa.org. If you have any questions, please contact CQAA Program Director at programs@cqaa.org.

 

Hope you can make it! And if you do attend, wave to my husband if you see him, as it is in his office Smile

Tags:

TDD | BDD | Software Testing | Quality Assurance | Quest | CQAA | Software Quality | unit testing | Test Automation | Testing | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Scrum

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Chicagoland IT Community - January Events

by Angela 13. January 2016 11:55

It’s a busy month for the Chicagoland IT community. I’ve seen a lot of really great talks just in the next week, and wanted to spread the word! If you’ve never attended events with LCNUG, CNUG, or the Fox Valley Computing Professionals, I highly recommend checking them out.  No matter where you work or live, one of them is bound to be nearby Smile

I’ll be adding to this list as I uncover more, so feel free to let me know if there are some great events that I missed!

Windows 10, IoT, Raspberry Pi 2 with Greg Levenhagen

Lake County .NET Users Group

College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL - Thu, Jan 14, 2016 at 7:00 PM

The Internet of Things has been buzzing for a while. Let's get a little hands on with devices and take away some of the mystery about IoT and Windows 10 IoT Core. We will get a Rasberry Pi 2 running Windows 10 IoT Core and running a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app to do something that we desire.

We want you to bring your Rasberry Pi 2's and let's get them working with Windows 10 IoT Core. Don't have a device, no problem. Greg will be going through things for everyone and you can follow along or maybe join up with another attendee. If you want to follow along on your own hardware instead of observing,

  • Required: Windows 10 on a laptop/surface
  • Required: Visual Studio 2015 on that laptop/surface
  • Required: An ethernet cable to connect the Pi directly to your laptop/surface. You may need to have an adapter to plug the ethernet cable into your laptop.
  • Optional: An HDMI cable and a Monitor if you want to display the UWP app. You don't need this to get things working.

The other pieces are not time consuming to download/install and they will be available on USB sticks.

Greg Levenhagen

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/windows-10-iot-raspberry-pi-2-greg-levenhagen-tickets-20542021740

 

Microsoft 10 Universal Apps

Fox Valley Computing Professionals

201 W State St, Geneva, IL (map) - Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Our first presentation will be an Overview of Windows 10 Universal Apps - presented by Robin Schroeder

• Windows 10 Universal Apps (UWP) apps are designed to run on all Windows devices, from IoT (Internet of Things), Mobile, PC, Xbox to Surface Hub. They can be authored in a number of different programming languages, including Visual C++ with DirectX or XAML, C# or VB with XAML, or JavaScript with HTML.

• Brief History

• High level introduction to Windows 10 Universal Apps

• Device Families

• Data Storage

• Adaptive UI

• Windows Store

• MVVM

• A demo of a UWP written in C#/XAML with short code tour

Following intermission, Paul Schroeder will present Agile process basics and detail how motivated and collaborative individuals are the true key to project success.

Social hour starts at 6pm, presentations start at 7pm and should end about 9pm.

Be gracious and buy dinner and drinks, Old Towne let's us use this place for free so it's only right!

http://www.meetup.com/foxvalleycp/events/227841439/

 

An Introduction to mobile development using Xamarin 4

CNUG 

Microsoft, Downers Grove - Thursday, January 21st, 2016 @ 7PM

The Xamarin platform enables you to build and create native cross-platform mobile apps. Recently, Xamarin released a set of new features and major enhancements collectively known as Xamarin 4. Join Florin Ciobanu to find out what this popular mobile development platform has to offer. Florin will go over the major enhancements and new features in the recently released Xamarin 4, some of which include Xamarin.Forms 2.0, Xamarin.UITest 1.0, Xamarin Test Recorder (preview), and Xamarin Insights (real-time app monitoring service). He will also cover everything you need to know in order to start building your own mobile apps today.

http://www.meetup.com/The-Chicago-NET-Users-Group/events/227506041/

Tags:

Xamarin | Agile | Windows 10 | Raspberry Pi | IoT

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CNUG January - An Introduction to mobile development using Xamarin 4 with Polaris Solutions

by Angela 4. January 2016 11:49

Happy New Year everyone! It’s hard to believe it’s already 2016, and that I’ve been at Polaris Solutions for 4 years already! ::throws confetti::

Our company has grown a lot since I joined, and not just in sheer numbers – it’s almost doubled in size since I joined in 2012! We’ve also started doing some exciting stuff in the mobile space lately as well, and wanted to share some knowledge with the community.

Florin Ciobanu, one of our awesome senior consultants, will be presenting an intro to mobile development using Xamarin​ 4 to the Chicago .NET Users Group. Yeah, remember that group? It’s back and on Meetup.com! Polaris is sponsoring the meetup, so come on out and meet some of us Smile

Topic: An introduction to mobile development using Xamarin 4

The Xamarin platform enables you to build and create native cross-platform mobile apps. Recently, Xamarin released a set of new features and major enhancements collectively known as Xamarin 4. Join Florin Ciobanu to find out what this popular mobile development platform has to offer. Florin will go over the major enhancements and new features in the recently released Xamarin 4, some of which include Xamarin.Forms 2.0, Xamarin.UITest 1.0, Xamarin Test Recorder (preview), and Xamarin Insights (real-time app monitoring service). He will also cover everything you need to know in order to start building your own mobile apps today.

When: Thursday, January 21st, 2016 @ 7PM

Where: Microsoft, Downers Grove

More details and RSVP: http://www.meetup.com/The-Chicago-NET-Users-Group/events/227506041/

Refreshments will be provided. Please share this information with anyone that may be interested.

Florin Ciobanu

Florin is a consultant at Polaris Solutions. He has been involved in software development using Microsoft technologies since 2002. He enjoys building web applications and is currently focused on mobile cross-platform development. Florin is certified as MSCD – Web Applications and is a certified Scrum Master. In his spare time (limited by his 2 year old twins) he likes to experiment with new technologies. His hobbies include photography, sports, and remote controlled airplanes.

 

Hope to see you there!

Tags:

Mobile | Mobile development | Xamarin

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Chicago ALM Meetup Welcomes Back Doc Norton this December to to talk about the Technical Debt Trap

by Angela 2. December 2015 16:01

 

Doc Norton is a great local technologist whose talks are always captivating and relevant given the non-technical challenges that we all often face while building software. If you saw him when he spoke at the group last December, or if you’ve seen any of his other talks, you know this is not to be missed!  This time around, I had a LOT of really excellent talks of his to choose from, but we landed on a talk around Technical Debt, something I know we all struggle with managing and knocking out. I hope you can make it to this one! Our holiday meetings are always a lot of fun Smile

 

The Technical Debt Trap

Technical Debt has become a catch-all phrase for any code that needs to be re-worked. Much like Refactoring has become a catch-all phrase for any activity that involves changing code. These fundamental misunderstandings and comfortable yet mis-applied metaphors have resulted in a plethora of poor decisions. What is technical debt? What is not technical debt? Why should we care? What is the cost of misunderstanding? What do we do about it? Doc discusses the origins of the metaphor, what it means today, and how we properly identify and manage technical debt.

About Doc: A consultant, coach, and trainer with CTO2, Doc is passionate about working with teams to improve delivery and building great organizations. Once a dedicated code slinger, Doc has turned his energy toward helping teams, departments, and companies work better together in the pursuit of better software. Working with a wide range of companies such as Groupon, Nationwide Insurance, and Belly Card, Doc has applied tenants of agile, lean, systems thinking, and servant leadership to develop highly effective cultures and drastically improve their ability to deliver valuable software and products.

Date and Time: Tuesday December 15th, Festivities begin at 6pm!

Location:Microsoft-Chicago 200 East Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

Register here: http://chicagoalmug.org/

As always, please be sure to register soon so I can order the right amount of food and so that the security folks will let you in! You can park in the Aon center for a discounted rate after 6pm, but your best bet may be SpotHero if you choose to drive. I’ve seen $10 parking ½ block away using their service.

Tags:

development | Application Lifecycle Management | ALM

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Visual Studio 2015 Launch Event in St Louis on Dec 2nd

by Angela 29. November 2015 11:52
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Visual Studio 2015 Launch!

You are personally invited to join us in our celebration of the launch of Visual Studio 2015!

To celebrate we are hosting an educational event that will provide you with an opportunity to learn, experience, and see the new Visual Studio 2015!

Experience first-hand from Microsoft Experts the state-of-the art tools and services companies are leveraging to achieve enterprise scale, manage complexity and streamline integration between development and operations teams.

Highlights include:

· Visual Studio IDE Productivity

· Modern Web Development

· Azure Services & Data Storage

· Cross-Platform Mobile Development

This event is on December 2nd and will run from 9 am – 1 pm. Lunch will be provided.

Register here for this FREE event!

 

Polaris Solutions is an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and custom software development consulting firm. We specialize in helping teams deliver high value software through technical leadership, process improvement, and software development expertise.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Visual Studio 2015 | Visual Studio Online | VSOnline | VSO | VS Online | VS 2015 | Visual Studio | TFS 2015 | Team Foundation Server

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Will I see you at St Louis Days of .NET this year?

by Angela 9. November 2015 14:19

St Louis Days of.NET is definitely a favorite of mine. This will be my third year both attending and speaking at the conference, Polaris Solutions is also sponsoring the conference again! Everyone involved is so passionate about the community and great to work with, I’m excited that my company can be a part of it. And for the money, it’s hard to beat these speakers and sessions! Speaking of, I hope you have your ticket because they are SOLD OUT!

Be sure to stop by the Polaris Solutions booth and chat with one of us about ALM, TFS, agile/scrum, and any number of other topics. You can also keep up with all of the STLDODN news and announcements on their website,on Facebook, and of course Twitter. Many of us at Polaris will also be speaking at the event, and posting regular updates on twitter as well. Hope to see you there and on Twitter! Smile

My Sessions:

Friday, 8am in Discovery C

I know it’s early but I’m super energetic so I’ll do my best to kick off the conference in an awesome way for you!

How TFS 2015 is Going to Rock Your Agile world!

If you’ve been using Team Foundation Server for a while, you know it can do everything short of making you a latte as you walk into your morning scrum. TFS has come a long way in the last 10 years, and with the release of TFS 2015 and all of the features being released to VSO at break-neck speed, it’s hard to know why you should consider upgrading or even adopting in the first place. With the release of TFS 2015, Microsoft has laid down some SERIOUS awesomeness with a reboot of Team Build, a ton of new agile based team planning features that will melt even the saltiest scrum master’s heart, and easy integration into collaboration tools like Slack, Hipchat, and Trello with service hooks. And lastly, there are some cool new testing capabilities, some which are open to people with no licensing, yeah, FREE STUFF. Join me for a tour of the best of TFS 2015, IMHO anyway.

 

Saturday, 12:30pm in Discovery D

Yikes, right after lunch! Again, I think my energy will come in handy, have to keep everyone awake, ha!

Deconstructing the Scaled Agile Framework

With so many process frameworks and methodologies out there, it’s hard to know where to begin. And just when everyone seems to be warming up to agile, here comes SCALED agile. But how is SAFe really different than agile? When is it appropriate? Does using the SAFe framework prevent a company from having scrum teams? How big or complex do you need to be for SAFe to make sense? Isn’t SAFe just a glorified version of waterfall that companies adopt when they can’t handle “real” agile? I found myself overwhelmed with choices, and confused by all of the conflicting articles out there on what SAFe was, and how and when to consider using it. I decided the best solution was to go through the training and spend some time practicing it in the field. Since becoming an SPC, I have coached a number of clients on improving their processes leveraging techniques from SAFe. In this session I plan to walk through the tenets of SAFe and help you to understand how SAFe can benefit your team!

 

Find the full detail with speakers and rooms here.

 

Follow us, we’re nice,and we’re on twitter!

Polaris twitter account: https://twitter.com/teampolaris

Angela’s twitter account: https://twitter.com/OakParkGirl

Alejandro’s twitter account: https://twitter.com/alejandrormz

Josh’s twitter account: https://twitter.com/jcgillespie

Chris’s twitter account: https://twitter.com/cbkadel

Clint’s twitter account: https://twitter.com/ClintEd

 

 

All Polaris Sessions

Alejandro Ramirez - Specflow for Agile Teams

Angela Dugan

  • Deconstructing the Scaled Agile Framework
  • How TFS 2015 is Going to Rock Your Agile World!

Brian Yuan - How to Climb the AngularJS Learning Curve

Chris Kadel

  • Introduction to Dev-Ops: 2+2=5
  • Team Foundation Server Building Extravaganza 2015

Clint Edmonson

  • Agile Metrics that Matter
  • Application Architecture Jumpstart

Josh Gillespie - Discover PowerShell DSC

Nathan Gomez - Entity Framework for Non-Sadists

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