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What Conference? Yeah ThatConference

by Angela 15. May 2014 08:49

With so many conferences, it’s easy for one to get lost in the noise. But don’t let that happen with ThatConference. I know, “but Angela you’re on the conference committee, of course you think I should go”. It’s true, for several years now I’ve been working with the ThatConference gang to keep this thing growing and thriving, but it’s because I believe in it. We don’t get paid, we get nothing out of being on the committee other than knowing we got to help provide this awesome event to the community we are so proud to be a part of. OK, now I’m getting all sappy so let’s move on. The point is, this conference is literally organized by a bunch of us techies and geeks like you, not huge corporations or software vendors with an agenda or licenses to sell.  We strive to make the conference fun, educational, and family-friendly. So I mean it when I say this conference is FOR YOU.

Tickets went on sale today, and you may have noticed a slight uptick in prices. Yeah, things get more expensive every year, that’s life, but is STILL an incredible value at $399. That includes 3 full days of amazing sessions (125+ to choose from!) AND lots of networking opportunities AND a pig roast AND a private water park party just for ThatConference attendees AND a Bacon bar AND multiple social events AND a game night (I might be biased as I am running this one, but seriously, BOARD GAMES!!). That was a lot of ANDs for your money. And if you buy soon you can get an Early Bird discount of $25 making the conference just $374.99. You also get a discounted nightly rate at the water park resort if you’re not a local, which gets you some nice additional perks (last year we got free passes to the Ducks and Tommy Bartlett show with our room). That’s an incredibly inexpensive conference that you can combine with a great family summer vacation in the Wisconsin Dells! The topics being covered this year are incredibly diverse, I’d need a few paragraphs more just to cover them all and no one wants to read that much so check out the full conference schedule here. And don’t be afraid to ask your boss to sponsor your ticket, and maybe send a few of your coworkers too!  If they have any budget set aside for training, I can’t think of a better way to use it.  You’ll get exposed to a far wider range of topics and our food is WAY better too ;)

As you might know if you are a returning camper, we also have a great program for the families, so bring the significant others and kids if you have them. It’s a last hurrah before school at a water park and indoor amusement park. You’ll be a HERO and you still get to go geek out at a tech conference! If you purchase family tickets along with your conference ticket, family members are just $39.99 per person, or $29.99 if purchased before 5/22. That means the entire family can join us at ThatConference social events, the pig roast, game night, a craft night that I organize just for the kids, and of course an entire track devoted to family friendly geekery. And trust me when I say the family sessions will blow their minds! Last year my 10 year old nephew was introduced to programming for the first time (he even used Visual Studio for one session!), and ended up stealing my laptop so he could play around with it some more. How cool is that?!  This year we even have a couple of session being run by kid campers from last year! There’s even a session on writing Minecraft Mods. I know right? The family schedule is here, and it’s REALLY good so look it over, show it to your kids, then sign them up!

Hope to see you In August! Now go sign up, seriously right now, go do it.

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I’m Talking TFS ALM at the Chicago SharePoint Developer Group May 15th

by Angela 13. May 2014 07:51

So often people hear that I focus on TFS for ALM and think I can’t possibly help them because they’re not doing traditional .NET WinForms or WebForms development. Not true! TFS ALM is cross platform and technology agnostic.  Well, within reason, if you’re using a tool with embedded and proprietary SCM you might not be able to use TFS VC, but the rest of TFS’ capabilities certainly still apply.

This month I’m talking to the local SharePoint developer meetup group to talk about TFS for SharePoint ALM, how TFS 2013 can help them reach a higher level of agility, and where it can streamline their processes with build, test, and deployment automation.  During this meeting I’ll be doing a lap around TFS, pointing out what’s new and cool for SharePoint, and doing some demos of my favorite tools. If you’re a SharePoint developer, come join us this Thursday and learn more! I’m nice, and usually pretty entertaining :)

Learn more and sign up here: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-SharePoint-Developers-User-Group/

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Chicago ALM User Group – April is All About Effective TFS Management

by Angela 16. April 2014 09:07

So as an ALM consultant, I work with a LOT of customers to “clean up” their ALM implementation, and spend a lot of time talking about proper care and feeding of their TFS environment.

Installing TFS is relatively easy, but configuring it to support your organization structure over the long haul can be challenging. How many team project collections do you need? When do you create new team projects? Which process templates should you use? How much should you customize? These are important considerations, and making the wrong choice can cause major headaches down the road. At this installment of the Chicago ALM user group, I’ll be reviewing best practices, discussing the ins and outs of how to structure your TFS projects, and get your most burning questions about TFS configuration answered!

I hope to see you in Downers Grove next week. 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!

When: Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where:  Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

 

And don’t forget, VS Live is coming to Chicago in early May, and friends of the Chicago ALM user group get a $500 discount code! More details here: http://t.co/LdzaiCR6O9.

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Free Training When You’re Snowed In, What’s Not To Love

by Angela 2. January 2014 12:15

So it’s been snowing in Chicago, a LOT. I am in Oak Park, specifically, and holy moly did we ever get dumped on. Here, in case you think I’m being a big baby, this was my back deck at 7am this morning and it’s STILL snowing quite hard. There’s almost 10 inches of snow on those chairs right now, and there’s a pergola over them!

WP_20140102_07_54_12_Pro

Anyway, that’s not my point. My point is that I get to work from home this week, thank goodness, and ran across a great set of training classes on Microsoft Virtual Academy to fill some time. It’s free, yes FREE, and there are a LOT of technologies to choose from including ALM.  Although I’ll admit the ALM stuff is pretty light and scarce, and mostly focuses on 2012, so I’ll be nagging some folks about that soon. But there are also classes on Azure, HTML 5, even licensing!

Here is the current list of tools and technologies covered:

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Clicking on Visual Studio I find a lot of great classes to get me up to speed on Windows development, HTML 5, you name it! What you see below is just the first few that came up, it’s a LONG list.

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Best part is you can build up a nice little wish list since you may not have time to take everything today. So build a training plan, or several, and save the classes you like and take them at your own pace. Easy!  I already had one started from a while ago, but need to go back through and update it with some new classes, obviously :-P

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So dig in by starting here. And get some of those Microsoft certifications knocked out while you’re trapped in your house by snowmageddon.

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St. Louis Day of .NET is Next Week - Sign Up Before It Sells Out

by Angela 5. November 2013 23:32

I’ve been hearing about St. Louis Day of .NET for some time now but up until recently I just hadn’t thought to attend.  I mean, we have TONS of events in Chicago, so I always made excuses.  This year, Polaris Solutions has stepped up to support STLDODN as a Platinum sponsor.  We're planning on not only participating, but we have a few folks speaking, and we are even hosting a booth so be sure to stop by and say hello! I’ll be the redhead, also, the only woman in the booth so I’m easy to spot :)  If you wanted to catch one of our talks, here is the run-down:

Chris Kadel will be participating in the TFS pre-compiler on Thursday Nov 14th from 8:30am to 5pm: http://www.stldodn.com/2013/pre-compilers.  It is a FULL-DAY hands-on workshop and it’s only $75 to attend, so sign yup fast. You can’t get training like this for such an amazing price anywhere else that I know of.

A Pragmatic Intro to Unit Testing by our very own Josh Gillespie

Advanced OOP by our newest team member and former Softie Clint Edmonson

Agile Testing in a Waterfall World by your truly!

Application Architecture Jumpstart also from Clint

Dude I Just Stepped into Your Code from Josh

 

If you haven't registered yet, click on "Register Now!" at the top of the website and find out why people love this event so much.  http://www.stldodn.com/2013/what-is-the-day-of-.net.

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Visual Studio 2013 Launch Event Coming to Chicago

by Angela 4. November 2013 15:18

So in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, Microsoft released a new version of its Visual Studio ALM Tools including Team Foundation Server, Microsoft Test Manager, and Visual Studio. I know! Feels like 2012 just launched doesn’t it? With their new release cadence, if you blink you could miss a new version, or at least a few updates. It’s pretty amazing actually.

While there is an official BIG launch party happening on November 13th in NYC, you can also logon for the virtual launch that day if you can’t get away to the Big Apple on such short notice.  Although right now you don’t appear to be able to actually register for the virtual launch – DOH!  For now you can at least add it to your calendar, hopefully they will fix that soon.

I also just heard that there are also some smaller in-person launch events around the U.S, possibly hitting a city near you.  Sadly I will miss the Chicago launch event on November 20th, I’ll be at the MVP summit in Bellevue Washington. Not a bad trade-off though ;)  But if you’re in town, check out the Chicago event details and register quick before it fills up! And check back with the events site often because more cities will be opening up soon.

Agenda

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Location

Drury Lane Convention Center

100 Drury Ln
Oakbrook Terrace Illinois 60181
United States

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Some events are not listed on the events site yet, so here are some other cities coming on-line and a link to get registered:

12/3

Boston, MA

12/3

Nashville, TN

12/3

Bellevue, WA

12/4

Washington, DC

12/4

Philadelphia, PA

12/4

Miami, FL

12/5

Phoenix, AZ

12/10

Atlanta, GA

12/10

Denver, CO

12/11

Concord, CA

12/11

Harrisburg, PA

12/12

Sandy, UT

1/15

Los Angeles, CA

1/21

Mountain View, CA

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Efficient Testing with Microsoft Test Manager – Slides Posted

by Angela 24. October 2013 10:42

I wanted to be sure to share out the slides that were presented at the testing events that I recently spoke at. If you happened to attend one of the events where Chris Kadel presented, he should be posting his slides shortly. Now in case you’re reading this post and thinking “what on earth are you talking about Angela?”, Microsoft recently began a tour of the central US focusing on efficient testing, and even if you did NOT attend, you may find the following information useful so read on…

These events lasted a half day, and covered manual testing and collaboration with MTM, automated testing with Visual Studio, and managing environments and automating the Build-Test-Deploy scenario with TFS Build and Lab Management.  My slides are posted on SlideShare, and the agenda is below.  There are still some events open including St Louis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis MN so you may not have missed it entirely.  Sign up soon because these events have been selling out!

How do I integrate better with the team?
QA is near the end of the process chain, so one of the best things they can do to be successful is improve their efficiency and collaborate better with the development team. In this session, we want to answer all of these questions: What if you could draft and select test cases early in the project and ensure you have test coverage by assigning them to requirements? What if the bugs you discover could automatically include data about the underlying behavior of the application and the machine it’s running on?
Are you getting enough information about a release to know what to test? Which new features have been implemented? Which haven’t? Which bugs are supposedly resolved? We’ll discuss how to take advantage of the opportunities for improving collaboration between testers and developers.
What should I automate?
While manual testing is always going to have its place, there are several types of tests that can be automated for efficiency. In this session, we’ll discuss everything from automating functional and load tests to the automation of writing test case steps and designing for reuse.
How do I set up a dev/test environment?
Today’s applications are more complex than ever and it can be very challenging to set up and maintain these environments. Many organizations resort to a small number of shared environments, but you are trying to keep up with frequent developer builds, concurrent projects, and ever-changing data.
This session introduces Microsoft’s Lab Management solution which allows developers and QA to self-provision their own environments. We’ll look at you can take advantage of virtualization (on-premises or cloud) to create environments, roll them back to known states, and attach them to bugs while minimizing the labor in your data center.

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These are a few of my favorite things, about TFS 2013 (Part 1)

by Angela 18. October 2013 13:31

Are you picturing a redhead dancing around a large bedroom singing about string and warm woolen mittens?

Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Only I’m no Julie Andrews, I don’t actually have a very good singing voice, and our house is not nearly that fancy :)  Also, instead of brown paper packages I am singing the praises of the MTM Test Hub, Work Item Charting, and awesome things like that.

As you’ve probably heard TFS 2013 released yesterday. A full day ahead of time, I know!  And like any passionate ALM consultant I’ve been using TFS 2013 for some time now. If you’re taking advantage of TFS Service, you have been too whether you knew it or not. So on to my first favorite thing about TFS 2013. Work item charting. The concept of work item charting is a pretty simple one, and frankly one customers have been clamoring for since TFS 2005. Business users do not want to have to learn SSRS to get quick, custom views that they can use to analyze work items.  And frankly, while Excel ad-hoc reporting is much easier than SSRS, it’s still not an “EASY button” solution for simple work item based charting/reporting. Thanks Staples for giving me that reference. 

So let’s divine in a bit shall we?  We will be working with one of my pet projects, a Scavenger Hunt application for the phone (if someone creates one soon, I’ll know where you got the idea now!) Assume we have some simple queries, for instance one which pulls back ALL tasks in a team project. This could be a lot to take in analyze, especially on large, established projects with multiple teams. So, below we have work items, tasks, bugs, etc.  All assigned to various people, planned for different sprints, and so on and so forth. 

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But what if I wanted a quick visualization of work item types, or work assigned to various team members across the entire project? Not a super easy way to do that in any of the previously available reporting methods.  Here is where Work Item Charting comes in.  You might notice a new menu item called “Charts” (circled above) in the web tools for TFS 2013.  When you switch your view to Charts it will show you any existing charts for that query, as well as the ability to create new charts.  So in my case, I already had a chart out there which breaks down all work items by type. Marginally useful, but maybe another chart TYPE would actually be a better way to visualize the data.  So the first thing I want to do is try different chart types, and see if something else strikes my fancy:

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I *love* that as you make choices in the edit box, it automatically gives you a preview of the resulting report. That will save SO many clicks.  So I changed the chart type to a stacked bar, changed the sort and saved the report.

image

A bit more useful, but I’d like another view available, this time including assignment data.  But I’ll need to make some changes to my query, because if I try to simply show this in a new chart with the existing data, you’ll notice I do not even have an option to group by assigned to:

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Think of the query as your chart data source, meaning all rows returned will be displayed, and even more importantly, only the fields returned by the query will be available as well.  So if my query returns work item type, title, and state then those are the only fields that I can report on. AND only fields with a reportable type of “dimension” can be used for grouping. These little nuggets often trip people up, they assume all of the fields for the returned rows are available and available for grouping/sorting. So I need to go back to my original query, and add the assigned to field to add that data to my chart:

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Now when I go back into my charts, I have another field that I can use for pivoting my data!

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Well, I could certainly spend FAR more time on this topic, but I just wanted to give you a little taste of one of my favorite features of TFS 2013 – Work Item Charting.  Next up, the new web Test Hub!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Collaboration | Process Methodology | Productivity | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | Visual Studio 2013 | Work Item Tracking

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October 30th, 2013 Edition of the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group: More Visual Studio ALM 2013 Goodness

by Angela 16. October 2013 14:34

http://www.tfswhisperer.com/image.axd?picture=image_60.png

If you attended the September meeting, this is not *quite* a redux.  I’ll be talking about a variety of ALM features, some that I covered at the Downers Grove meeting last month.  BUT this time around I will also be joined by 2 of my smarty-pants colleagues from Polaris.  Landan Rotter will be talking about the new integrated deployment tool, InRelease, and will be doing a hands-on demo for your enjoyment.  Chris Taylor will also do a deep dive on data driven CodedUI testing as well as an awesome walk-through of setting up Lab Management to support automated test execution! 

Visual Studio ALM 2013 tools are going to release THIS FRIDAY, October 18th, ahem, THIS THURSDAY October 17th, and the big launch is November 13th. If you’re interested in participating in the virtual launch event on November 13th, be sure to check out the VS 2013 Launch Site and sign up soon!  And in the mean time, get ready for what coming by learning more about what's new and cool. And if you can’t wait until RTM, you can still get downloads of TFS and VS 2013 RC today.

Parking downtown is a bit costly, but Aon parking is pretty reasonable if you get there after 4:30pm and leave by 10pm. Check out www.SpotHero.com, they might just save you some serious cash.

 

Meeting Date:  Wednesday October 30th

Agenda:    6:30 - Dinner, 7:00 Presentation

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

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/

 

PLEASE NOTE: Security is strict at the Aon center.  You MUST register as building security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.  Their rules, not mine.

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September 25th, 2013 Edition of the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group: Visual Studio ALM 2013

by Angela 17. September 2013 09:29

image

 

Well, with all the excitement of ThatConference, I skipped having an August meeting but we’re back! 

With the upcoming release of Visual Studio ALM 2013 tools, it seemed necessary to spend some time digging in! Jim and I will be spending this meeting talking about what's new and cool. We are still arm wrestling over who gets to demo what features, so for now just know it will be awesome! :)

And don't forget to get your fresh downloads of TFS and VS 2013 RC today. MSDN subscribers will also find everything they need through their Subscription site.  If you’re interested in participating in the virtual launch event on November 13th, be sure to check out the VS 2013 Launch Site and sign up soon!

Meeting Date: Wednesday September 25th

Agenda:6:30 - Dinner, 7:00 Presentation

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

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/ 

PLEASE NOTE: Security has gotten tighter at the Downers Grove building.  You MUST register as building security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.  Their rules, not mine.

 

 

Speaker Bio:

Angela Dugan is the Polaris Solutions ALM Practice Manager. She focuses on TFS implementation and customization in the real world, Visual Studio related training and mentoring, and helping organizations to adopt Agile/Scrum methodologies. Angela had spent the previous 14 years as a custom application developer with a small consulting firm in Chicago, as well as did 5 years at Microsoft as an ALM evangelist. Catch up with her adventures on her blog.

Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, an aspiring runner (up to 2.3 miles without vomiting!), and a Twitter addict. She lives in a 102 year old house in Oak Park that she is constantly working on with her husband David.

Jim Szubryt manages the application architecture team for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago. This responsibility includes managing the TFS Team that supports 2,500 developers in the global development centers. He has worked with the global teams on implementing ALM practices and his team is in the process of piloting TFS 2013.

He is also a Microsoft ALM MVP and a Microsoft Visual Studio ALM Ranger. He was project lead on the disaster recovery planning guidance that was published in March. Currently he is the Project Lead on the Ranger’s guidance for reporting with TFS 2012. Prior to becoming a project Lead he has written parts of the TFS 2012 upgrade guidance and the TFS Server guidance that are found on CodePlex.  His blog can be found here.

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