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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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ALM User Group Digs Deep into Powershell and Octopus Deploy in November

by Angela 26. October 2015 17:46

image

Octopus works with your build server to deploy applications and services into test, staging, and production environments, whether they are in the cloud or on-premises. 

Are you using automated deployment tools yet? No? Why the heck not?!

Are you evaluating all of the deployment tools options and just aren’t sure which one is the best fit? Learn from Ian’s experiences and ask those burning questions you might have!

You may be thinking, “didn’t we already see this one”"?”.  It’s true, but it’s been well over a year since Ian last talked to us about all of the features that Octopus Deploy has to offer, so don’t miss this chance to get caught up on the latest and greatest. The world of DevOps moves fast and the tools are evolving quickly, don’t let it leave you in the dust!

We hope to see you in Downers Grove next week for this one. 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!

Speaker Bio: Ian is an ASP.NET MVC C# programmer with Avanade. A nocturnal programmer by nature, he’s often working on his own .NET projects in the twilight hours.  He’s often advocating Octopus Deploy. For more information on Octopus Deploy and other related ramblings, you can visit his blog at http://ianpaullin.com or twitter feed at @ianpaullin.

Date: Tuesday November 3rd, 2015

Location:Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

Agenda:6:30pm dinner 7:00pm Presentation

RSVP Now to Attend

Tags:

Release Management | DevOps | Deployment | Deployment Planning | Application Lifecycle Management | ALM

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Still Running TFS 2010? It’s Aging Out of Support Next Month. Polaris Solutions Can Help You Upgrade Quickly

by Angela 4. June 2015 12:04

You heard me correctly, mainstream support for TFS 2010 ends on July 14th, less than 6 weeks from today! So if you’re thinking “it still WORKS, why should I upgrade?” Consider these points…

  • Any issues arising with your server will NOT be patched or serviced by Microsoft support, and it will be harder and harder to find experienced people to work on it (well, who WANT to work on it)
  • Your infrastructure team may be chomping at the bit to stop supporting the old operating systems and SQL Server versions that TFS is running on
  • You’re missing out on some amazing new capabilities that it would take me hours to cover and that I promise will revolutionize the way you develop and deliver software
  • You attract great new talent by offering robust and modern development environments, trust me on this
  • I can tell you from a LOT of personal experience, that the longer you wait to upgrade, the harder and more time consuming it is!

The good news is that you may qualify for up to $5,000 worth of free services to help you plan and prepare for your upgrade through the Microsoft Deployment Planning Services program (DTDPS)! Wondering what that is? Below is a quick FAQ that I created to explain the program:

Now what exactly IS DTDPS? Well first of all it’s a Microsoft offering, so expect MANY acronyms to follow. DTDPS stands for Developer Tools Deployment Planning Services. Specifically, the development tools that these services are meant to be used in conjunction with are the Microsoft Visual Studio ALM platform - Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Test Manager (TFS, VS, and MTM for good measure). 

So what does this really do for me? While most people are already very familiar with Visual Studio from a .NET development perspective, many people who own the other tools within the TFS platform are not taking full advantage of them. DTDPS is the solution to this problem, connecting customers with the right partners to make sure they are getting the full value of their ALM investment. Software that sits on the shelf is a huge waste of money.  And from Microsoft’s perspective is something you’re not likely to buy again, so it is of course in their interest to offer such a program.

What kinds of services are included in DTDPS? Currently there are 4 DTDPS offerings available: TFS deployment planning assessment, Visual Studio Quality Tools assessment, Visual Studio Agile Deployment Assessment, and Visual Studio DevOps Deployment Assessment. You’ll notice a theme here, the word “planning”. These engagements are not meant to be used to implement the tools. Instead, they are short, fixed-length (3 and 5 days) engagements for gathering data and analyzing your current environment and needs in order for us to help you build a plan for implementation and adoption of Visual Studio and TFS ALM tooling. It’s a great kickstart and will drastically accelerate your ALM initiatives.

But what if I don’t need one of those services, but need other assistance with TFS? Well, it depends. I know, I know, typical consulting answer. These programs can be expanded upon to assist customers with other ALM related concerns, so drop me a line at the email I provide below, and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you in more detail. 

Who delivers the engagement? DTDPS is a program delivered through certified and experienced ALM partners like Polaris Solutions to help customers with SA (Software Assurance) benefits to take full advantage of the tools they own.  We have delivered dozens of these engagements over the past few years and every customer we have worked with has been extremely happy with the valuable roadmaps that we delivered. You will benefit from a wealth of relevant experience and proven ALM practices that only comes from us having deployed and leveraged the tools in a large number of different environments and business verticals.

OK, I’m intrigued, but how expensive is it? It is FREE. Seriously, and absolutely.  This benefit is available to customers who purchase Microsoft products with SA, think of it as a rewards program. In fact, you may have DTDPS credits without knowing it!  Many of the customers I work with did not know they had DTDPS credits available until I turned them onto the program.

I want in! How do I sign up?  Start at the DTDPS site. Here you can peruse the various services available and see which ones are right for you and your organization.  Then check out the DTDPS QuickStart guide which walks you through the steps of accessing your benefits.  Then you just pick a partner to work with, like us, and you’re on your way to a better way of doing ALM!

 

If you are interested in learning more about DTDPS, or if you would like to find out more about getting a free quick assessment of the effort required to upgrade and the benefits that your team would enjoy, please contact me at Angela@PolarisSolutions.com. And if you know anyone still using an older version of TFS (anyone running TFS 2013 or earlier qualifies) help them out and point them to this blog!

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DevOps with Chef and Azure Coming to the Chicago ALM User Group this Month

by Angela 4. February 2015 17:12

When: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where:Microsoft-Chicago 200 E Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

What: Wouldn’t it be great to remove the “it works on my machine” scenario? Don’t you have better things to do with your time then manually configure systems? In this live, hands-on demonstration Matt will introduce you to the concepts of Infrastructure as Code and Automation; show you how we to use Chef  to develop and test system configuration locally, and then deploy them to a production environment in Microsoft Azure. Learn more about Chef on their blog, website, and Twitter!

Who: Matt Stratton is a solutions architect at Chef, where he demonstrates how Chef’s automation platform provides speed and flexibility to clients’ infrastructure. He is devoted to concepts like Continuous Delivery and Infrastructure as Code, and his license plate actually says “DevOps”. He is also a host of the Arrested DevOps (arresteddevops.com) podcast. It’s a great podcast, and I am not just saying that because I have been on it :)

Matt has over 15 years experience in IT operations, ranging from large financial institutions such as JPMorganChase and dot coms, including Apartments.com. He has given presentations at Microsoft-sponsored events, CAMP IT, and various local groups within the Chicagoland area.He lives in Chicago and has an unhealthy obsession with Doctor Who, Firefly, and Game of Thrones.

Agenda:6:30pm dinner 7:00pm Presentation

RSVP Now to Attend

Feel free to invite coworkers or friends who would be interested in this talk, just make sure they pre-register! Security requires it, and then I can order the right amount of food. 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 a block away using their service.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | DevOps | development | Deployment | Deployment Planning | Continuous deployment | Chef | Continuous Delivery

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Join Polaris for a TFS Release Management Webinar in February

by Angela 22. January 2015 16:29

So in case you have not heard, the licensing for Release management just got CRAZY inexpensive, if you have MSDN anyway. More about licensing can be found on MSDN.

Wondering what Release Management is? Well I don’t want to steal Zaneta’s thunder, so I’ll sum it up. Imagine a TFS extension that allowed you to easily deploy an application across a host of environments, including approval workflows for release to each environment, with the click of a button. If you’re an agile shop looking to achieve continuous deployment across a number of environments, this is a must have! 

Join us in February to learn more from one of our RM experts! Register Now

Continuous Delivery with Release Management

DevOps is an increasingly important part of application lifecycle management and is a growing area of interest as businesses need to develop and deploy quality applications at a faster pace. Release Management for Visual Studio is a continuous delivery solution that automates the release process through various environments all the way to production.

With Release Management in Visual Studio you can configure, approve and deploy your applications for any environment. Create automated deployment orchestrations for each environment no matter how complex the configuration. Delivering your software more frequently and easily to an environment allows your testers to get to work validating your system and keeps your stakeholders involved in giving feedback.

Please join us for this free online webinar to learn more about this powerful ALM toolset.

Key Experiences:

· Overview of Release Management

· Installation and Setup

· TFS integration

· Approval workflows overview

· Release Template creation

· Authoring and maintaining releases

 

Event Info: Thursday, February 12,2015 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT

Presenter: Żaneta Surdel has been developing software for the last 10 years. She has worked on a variety of projects utilizing various Microsoft technologies and filled a number of roles – programmer, (human) release manager, ALM consultant. She holds a MCSD ALM certification and is a certified Scrum Master. For the last 4 years, she’s been a Senior Consultant with Polaris Solutions.

Register Now

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Free Azure Dev Bootcamp in Chicago next Monday

by Angela 16. January 2015 09:02

Sorry this is so last minute but I just discovered this myself!

Been interested in kicking the tires on Azure? I got a sneak peek at this one when Dan Gartner was delivering it, and it’s not a bunch of marketing fluff and power point, you get your hands DIRTY.  Did I mention it’s free? Sign up now before it fills up! https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032611219

Master the new Microsoft Azure features and services to build, deploy and move apps to the cloud

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to master the latest Microsoft Azure development tools and technologies. Join us at an expert-led Microsoft Cloud DevCamp and leave with code running in the cloud! DevCamps are fun, FREE events for developers, by developers. That means no fluff or filler – just valuable coding skills you can immediately put into action.

What will I learn?

With lively demos and hands-on labs, you’ll see how to use the new Microsoft Azure features and services (such as Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, Websites, and Visual Studio 2013) to build and move apps to the cloud – including websites, enterprise-class applications, and mobile apps. We'll also give away a $100 Microsoft Store gift card to one lucky attendee at each event!

What is Cloud DevCamp?

Good question! Jump-start your knowledge of Microsoft Azure development or learn what’s new with the latest Microsoft Azure features and services. Either way, we’ll start with the basics and build up to more advanced topics – and developers of all languages are welcome. With Microsoft Azure, you can use almost any framework, language or tool to create or move existing applications to the cloud.

Instructor-led, hands-on labs will focus on:

 

• Microsoft Azure Websites and Virtual Machines using ASP.NET & Microsoft SQL Server

• Deploying Cloud Services in Microsoft Azure

• Exploring Microsoft Azure Storage for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013

Fees

This FREE event is brought to you by your local Microsoft office. Delegates are responsible for booking and funding their own travel and accommodations, as required.

 

Note – you MUST bring a laptop to participate in this event. In addition:

· Activate a free 30-day trial Azure account here

· If you subscribe to MSDN, activate your free Azure MSDN subscriber benefits here

· Download the free Cloud DevCamps Training Kit here. Save time at your event by completing the download now.

· Have Visual Studio 2013 installed

You will also need to bring:

· Computer power supply

· Notebook & pen

· Identification

· Your own wireless Internet hotspot (if you have one), just in case Internet connectivity is limited.

Tags:

.NET | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | Deployment

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Are you managing your database along with your source code? Why not?

by Angela 23. April 2013 17:17

This is both a call to arms and a last notification of the awesome topic being covered at the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group tomorrow night.

In my day to day dealings with companies I often find that they are not managing their database in any way  ::commence slow head shake:: And in my head I am screaming while I politely smile and calmly ask how they keep track of database changes, how they test updates to the schema, and what their rollback process is. Some companies do actually have some solid processes around those types of things, but many have nothing but a rosary and a case of Redbull. They just backup their servers nightly, and rolling back changes is a nuclear option. There is a better way people!

Ideally, you have you database schema, and any executable database code checked into SOME source control management system. By which I mean you have the SCRIPTS necessary to create those things in source code (see screenshot below). Without a good tool, establishing that can be tedious, daunting, and usually isn’t done, period. One of the things I love about Visual Studio  is its slick handling of database asset management (which has been around since VS 2008). In no time at all you can reverse engineer a database schema and all dependent objects into a database project in Visual Studio and check it in. Yes, just like that. That’s of course just the beginning but I’ll keep this soapbox rant short and expand in future musings.

The tools get better and better with each new version and the SDET tools that plug-in to VS 2012 are the best yet. Here is a quick preview of what that experience looks like in Visual Studio 2012.  I am running Ultimate but you would have the same look and feel in just plain old Professional as well.

image

 

Now if you are still a hard core SSMS user, fear not. You can still get some of the awesomeness of TFS working for you in SSMS, but finding out where to set that up can be tricky. Quick tip, if you already have TFS installed at your company, really you just need the TFS connector and to flip the switch

image

And now for the info on the user group, there’s still a little time left to sign up. Do it, DO IT NOW!!

Visual Studio and TFS 2012 for managing your SQL Server Database Assets

Do you have SQL Server database assets you should be managing? If you have a SQL Server database you certainly do! Do you use TFS to manage your other software assets like architectural diagrams, source code and build scripts? Are you using that same great toolset to manage your SQL scripts?  If not, you SHOULD be.

Did you that know some of the same great ALM features that you love about TFS for your source code can be applied to SQL 2005/2008/2012 stored procedures, table definitions, functions and other schema objects? And that's not all, there are also tools for doing schema comparisons, static analysis, unit testing and deployment of your database assets.  Jim will be giving an overview of the database tools available with VS and TFS 2012.

This is a meeting NOT to be missed.

Join Us Wednesday, April 24, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Location:Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

Speaker Bio: Jim Szubryt is the TFS Product Manager for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago and is a Microsoft ALM MVP. His TFS Team supports 2,500 developers in the global development centers and works with teams on implementing ALM processes. His blog can be found here.

Agenda:6:30PM Dinner followed by a presentation and demo at 7pm

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ThatConference – Mark Your Calendars and Call for Speakers is OPEN

by Angela 1. April 2013 16:43

So as a Midwesterner I often feel like we get screwed when it comes to big, cool tech conferences.  ALM Summit is always in Redmond, TechEd is always in Vegas or L.A. (blech), and there are a large number of other big tech conferences that are primarily only held on the West Coast (Mix, VS Live, etc.). So this big news so far this year has been that VS Live is coming to Chicago in May, for one. I’m pretty excited about that, especially with the sweet discount I was able to get for it (see the blog post I linked to above for a $500 discount code to VS Live Chicago). 

Now don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of great, smaller conferences, for instance Chicago Code Camp in a few weeks, and Deeper in .NET in Milwaukee next weekend, are both very good conferences and are both FREE to boot. But another awesome conference you may have missed out on last year was ThatConference. What conference? ThatConference. Yeah, I know, the name is clever, and sometimes confusing, but mostly clever.  It is the next big thing in my opinion, because not only is it owned by, organized by, and delivered by people you know from your local community, but the range of topics is pretty amazing too.  .NET, Ruby, Java, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Tablet, Surface, iPad, you name a technology/platform and it is probably going to be represented there.

As an added bonus, it is a VERY family friendly conference being held at an awesome water park in the Wisconsin Dells, just 3.5 hours from Chicago if you live in my neck of the woods.  Kalahari Resort also has go-karts, laser tag, a large arcade, an indoor ferris wheel, a number of great restaurants and bars, and even a salon and spa if you need a little R&R with your tech!  Stay a few extra days, the room rates are amazing and last year we also got some pretty nice perks (a.k.a. free stuff) from the resort because we were attending the conference.

Call for speakers just opened today and is only open for 2 weeks so hurry up and get your submissions in! Don’t worry if you think your topic is too broad, too niche, too whatever, just get it in there.  There is a great submission guide available on the session submission site too so check it out! The range of topics being accepted is pretty large, as we hope to provide a really well rounded set of options for attendees.  If you have more questions, or would like some help creating your session write-up, join us every Wednesday at noon CST for Q&A on G+.

 

Hope to see you, and your sessions, at ThatConference this summer!

August 12th - 14th, 2013

Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, WI

 

ThatConference is also on facebook, or Google Groups if you have questions or comments for the world at large.

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