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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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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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ALM and DevOps Focused Consulting is Messy

by Angela 13. January 2017 17:56

Lately I have been hearing this a lot, both as a general statement and more often than not, as a lament. However you define ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) and DevOps (definition hotly being debated in board rooms everywhere), and lord knows there are 82 ways to define each of those terms, they have a common thread – people. And people are messy. We are emotional, unpredictable, and our motivations are not always obvious. So of course consulting in any area that heavily involves interactions with people - like ALM and DevOps - will also be messy. I don’t mean that as a criticism, it’s just a fact. I also don’t just mean working with OTHER people is messy, working with *me* is messy. Some days, I am a tired, hormonal, hot damn mess, and that’s OK. You probably are too once in a while. As long as we all agree to help each other out on those hopefully rare bad days…and yes I am in fact advocating that even in IT we have to get our hands dirty and support our coworkers in ways that don’t involve pull requests or PowerShell.

So where am I going with this? Well, a lot of places eventually, my hope is to start a series of blog posts where I veer from my technically focused topics to even harder stuff – people stuff. And I make no promises on consistency of how often I release those posts, or how many I’ll be writing. Something I struggle with is fear of disappointing people, and as a serial over-committer I’m starting this series off by NOT over-committing. Look, progress, already!

Not sure where I’ll go first, but likely I’ll start with something <sarcasm> light and fun </sarcasm> around failure and vulnerability. I’ve actually blogged about both of those topics before, but it’s been a while, and I’ve learned a lot since then. Mostly about myself, but in a lot of cases I can apply some of those learnings to others as well. I’ve also been working with a really great life/career coach for about 15 months now, and I’ll share some of that experience here as well. Approaching terrifying vulnerability territory there, but like my friend Ben says, a great way to really hone your coaching skills is to see a therapist!

If you have requests, let me know! I cannot guarantee I’ll be able to address every topic with absolute clarity and wisdom, but I’ll do my best to at least share my experiences and ideas. Talk to you again soon.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | DevOps | Imposter syndrome | soft skills | Fear | Consulting

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Chicago DevOps Community Roadshow–April 2016 Recap

by Angela 22. April 2016 09:41

Last week myself and some of my favorite community leaders and MVPs were able to deliver a free community event focusing on DevOps practices and tools thanks to the generosity of Microsoft. Not only did Microsoft provide the great venue for free, but they also supplied the funding that covered a great hot breakfast, beverages, and a Microsoft Band 2 for the raffle!

2016-04-15 07.26.31

We had over 100 people register, and people started trickling in early. We had a surprising number of enthusiastic attendees already seated and ready for Jim’s 8:30am keynote!

2016-04-15 08.37.10

Next we had some great talks by Landan, Erik, Chris, Min, and Greg. Topics included continuous integration with Visual Studio and TFS 2015, environment provisioning and DSC with Azure, release management with TFS RM and Octopus Deploy, and metrics and monitoring with Application Insights and SonarQube.

2016-04-15 08.50.042016-04-15 09.43.392016-04-15 10.54.122016-04-15 11.22.08

 

There was a lot of great discussion, some awesome demos, and everyone had a great time. Thanks again to my rock star team - Eric Boyd, Landan Rotter, Angela Dugan, Greg Levenhagen, Chris Taylor, Jim Szubryt, and Min Maung - who seems to not really like any of us enough to stand next to us Smile

2016-04-15 12.57.28-1

Slides from the event are still being uploaded, but you’ll be able to access everything here. Thanks again for attending, and if you didn’t make it and would like to learn more about any of these topics, shout at me on email (via the link at the bottom of this blog post) or twitter and I’ll connect you with the right people!

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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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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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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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