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Get Registered for ST Louis DevUP Before Tickets Sell Out

by Angela 13. September 2016 14:27

You may be thinking, what the heck is St Louis DevUp. Well, previously you may have known this conference as St. Louis Days of .NET.  The conference is about a LOT more than just .NET, and has a shiny, new name to boot. I’m especially excited about the Next Generation Process and Tools track, but I might be biased Winking smile The full session list has been posted, so start marking your favorites, it’s going to be a hard choice this year!

We have some awesome, seasoned speaker talking about agile, scrum, test automation, DevOps, development, data data data, and so much more,  And there are a TON of tracks to choose from:

Web Development JavaScript Development Mobile Development
DevOps Automation & Tooling Data Everywhere! Quick, Yet Correct
The Modern Day Architect Soaring to the Cloud Next Generation Cloud
Next Generation Processes & Tools Career & Soft Skills Cool & Fun

 

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

by Angela 11. April 2016 13:02

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

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

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

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

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

Some fun times decorating badges:

11059778_1117004061661233_5205632739747645888_o

 

The amazing conference crew:

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Board game night!

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Our glorious stage (and leader!)

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Tags:

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

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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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Manually Changing Test Configurations in Bulk in MTM –There is an Easier Way

by Angela 12. June 2015 15:56

Another one of those silly little tricks I didn’t realize was available to me until I tried, and I thought I would share, because SURELY someone else out there would need it at some point.

Just ran into a situation where someone created a bunch of test configurations and made it their plan default, then started adding test cases like the wind.  Before we knew it, over 1,000 test points were generated! (175 test cases x 6 test configurations per test case = 1,050 test points) We really only needed one test point per test case, and the last thing I want testers doing is opening every single test and editing the configuration. Hello carpal tunnel! And I could certainly write some PowerShell to fix it too, but heck even that would take a decent time to write, test in a sandbox, run in production, etc. I figured there HAD to be a way we could quickly fix this manually. There were a LOT of test cases but only a few suites that they were all contained in. I’ll use my own test plan as an example of the steps performed to protect the innocent Smile

Here is a test plan that I am going to use as an example. And notice I am in the desktop client (against TFS 2013.4 specifically), there is not an easy way to do this in the web tools that I am aware of. I have a number of test cases with multiple configurations, and let’s say in this case I really just need a single configuration across all test cases for this plan.

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You can certainly just open each test case and select the appropriate configurations at the test CASE level, but imagine a suite with 100 test cases, that’s a LOT of clicks.

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Of course we can also do this at the SUITE level, and not everyone knows this is even an option so I’ll call it out just in case:

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So certainly saves you from opening each test case before you can select the configuration, but again, if there are 100 test cases in this suite that is STILL a lot of clicks.

Well, did you know you could use CTRL or SHIFT to highlight multiple, or even all test cases in this view? You do now.

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At this point, the assumption is that you want all highlighted items to end up with the same configuration.  If you need to change 100 test cases in a suite to different combinations of configurations, well, I can’t really help you.  But if you need to set them all to the same value just highlight all of the relevant ones, click in the last column, and select the configurations you want to set them all to.  If it happens that you need them all back to the plan default, just hit Reset. BOOM!

 

Hope that saves you some aggravation down the road.  Especially if you are not in the position to write PowerShell, as many MTM users are not..

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | MTM | Microsoft Test Manager | Microsoft Test Professional | Quality Assurance | SDLC | TFS 2013 | TFS | Team Foundation Server | Test Case Management | Testing | Visual Studio

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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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A Little Story about How PowerBI Got into My TFS

by Angela 9. April 2015 14:29

So a few months ago I ran into an old friend from my Software Architects days who now runs the BI practice at another local consulting firm here in Chicago. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd when it comes to data and analytics, and as he started to describe this cool new thing called PowerBI to me, I got this idea.  What if we found a way to use PowerBI to slice, dice, and analyze TFS data, specifically VSO?! We needed to figure it out, then share it with the world, because how cool would that be?!

 

Sadly, we quickly discovered that there was no VSO connector available yet for PowerBI, but that didn’t stop us. We figured out that we could use the Office 365 Power BI tools against an on-premise TFS database and do some pretty neat analytics.  To make sure it was something that anyone following along at home could recreate, we even used the data from the publicly available Brian Keller ALM demo image. We started by pulling in work item data, and created a few dashboards, the first being a basic work item overview dashboard:

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Once we created a few charts, the fun began. We could select work item types, teams/areas, and watch the data change. For instance, by simply clicking on a team (Devices), all of the charts on the page would refresh with the portion of them relevant to the selected team visible.Cool right? As someone who often managed a product portfolio in TFS, the ability to see the big picture and drill in with a matter of a click or two is really valuable!

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Now imagine the ability to show scatter graphs to highlight patterns in your data, geo spatial coordinate data to map out where certain events are happening, the possibilities are endless. Obviously there is a lot more to share about the capabilities of PowerBI and TFS. So fast forward to today. Tom and I just wrapped up our TFS + PowerBI webinar, and recorded it.  So if you missed it, watch the full video here to find out more about PowerBI and how it can be used to drill into TFS data. You can also get a copy of our slide deck here.

And stay tuned over the next few weeks for exciting announcements on how PowerBI will be capable of connecting to VSO!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Microsoft Office | MSDN | o365 | Office 365 | PowerBI | SDLC | SQL Server | TFS | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2013 | VS 2013 | VSOnline

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Chicago Code Camp returns to IIT in Chicago in 2015

by Angela 3. March 2015 17:42

So did you hear that Chicago Code Camp is returning to IIT in Chicago?! Very exciting news. And a much shorter commute for me Smile 

What is Chicago Code Camp? Really?! I hope that isn’t a serious question. It’s a fantastic 1-day event! Here is the blurb from the website, because I don’t know that I can sum it up much better than this:

Chicago Code Camp is a community event where developers learn from fellow developers. The one day polyglot code camp's goals are for developer to share ideas, learn from one another, and then develop upon topics of interests that were discovered during events. Our topics from previous years included development (and/or trending practices) in .net, java, open sourced frameworks, web, mobile, cloud, robotics, testing, soft skills, agile and scrum practices, and more.

Sessions range from informal talks and panel discussions to formal presentations. There will be a mix of presenters – some experienced speakers with years in the industry, some that may be speaking in public for the first time, as well as students and first time developers. We are expecting to see people from throughout Midwest region and beyond.

2015 will be our 7th year of Chicago Code Camp and we are happy to return to the City of Chicago and to the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Call for speakers is OPEN so be sure to submit your best ideas! And keep in mind that we do get a lot of submissions, and voting is blind, so bonus points for very detailed submissions and creative content.

 

Lastly, and most importantly because this is a community supported event, there are also sponsorship opportunities. If you are looking to support the community, maybe even use the opportunity to do some networking, advertising, and recruiting of some great local talent, this is a great one to consider! Sponsorship opportunities start at just $500. Find out more on the Sponsors page.

 

 

***********UPDATE**********

Registration is now open, and the event is, as it always has been, completely FREE!

Tags:

.NET | Agile | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | C# | Chicago Code Camp | Cloud Computing | DevOps | Mobile | Mobile development | Release Management | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | Testing | TFS 2013 | Visual Studio | VS 2013

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Polaris Solutions Holding an ALM Lunch and Learn on Agile Testing Success in St Louis Next Month

by Angela 24. February 2015 14:39

    Our St Louis office is holding a Lunch n Learn at the local Microsoft office in March. Agile testing is a challenge for most software teams, especially larger organizations with well-established QA groups and processes. Learn from one of our resident agile testing experts at the free event!

    More details:

    Description: If you are either planning to or are already practicing agile software development, Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Microsoft Test Manager (MTM) offer you a powerful platform to successfully plan, manage and execute agile testing.

    During this free lunch session we will cover in detail the different testing capabilities offered by TFS 2013 and MTM for Scrum and Agile methodologies, and will also share what we have learned from helping our clients as they implemented and matured their agile testing practices.

    Key Experiences:

    • The evolved role of testing in Agile Projects

    • Iteration test planning techniques

    • Test tracking with TFS and MTM

    • Different approaches to bug management

    • Test automation Do’s and Don’ts

    • Testing metrics that are worth measuring

    • Exploratory testing strategies

    • Best practices & lessons learned in the field

      Complimentary lunch will be provided to registered attendees.

      Presenter: Alejandro Ramirez is a Software Quality professional and Senior Consultant with Polaris Solutions. He has over 17 years of experience working in software in development, testing, and IT governance. His experiences range from small businesses, startups and non-profits, to Fortune 500 corporations in a variety of fields. He is certified in ITIL and Lean. He is also a blogger, speaker, mobility champion, and helps companies incorporate ALM strategies to continuously deliver valuable software.

      When: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM (CDT)

      Where: Microsoft Corporation, 3 Cityplace Drive Suite 1100 Creve Coeur, MO 63141

       

      Register for this Polaris Solutions event today!

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      Chicago ALM User Group - Christmas 2014 Edition with Doc Norton

      by Angela 5. December 2014 16:44

      Join us on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM for this very special event!

      December is always a special meeting for us!  We will have great food, lots of great giveaways, and I'm excited to say that we have an amazing speaker flying in from California for this event - Doc Norton.  You may already follow him on Twitter, read his blog, or maybe you have seen him speaking at one of many conferences.  If not, I highly recommend checking out his blog, and then be sure to sign up for our December event so you can hear him in person.

      In December, Doc will be tackling effective metrics.Velocity is one of the most common metrics used-and one of the most commonly misused-on agile projects. Velocity is simply a measurement of speed in a given direction-the rate at which a team is delivering toward a product release. As with a vehicle en route to a particular destination, increasing the speed may appear to ensure a timely arrival. However, that assumption is dangerous because it ignores the risks with higher speeds. And while it’s easy to increase a vehicle’s speed, where exactly is the accelerator on a software team? Michael “Doc" Norton walks us through the Hawthorne Effect and Goodhart’s Law to explain why setting goals for velocity can actually hurt a project's chances. Take a look at what can negatively impact velocity, ways to stabilize fluctuating velocity, and methods to improve velocity without the risks. Leave with a toolkit of additional metrics that, coupled with velocity, give a better view of the project's overall health.

      Speaker Bio: Doc is Global Director of Engineering Culture at Groupon. 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. An agile practitioner and coach since 1999, Doc's 20-plus years of software development experience have provided him with exposure to a wide range of topics. Doc declares expertise in no single language or methodology and is immediately suspicious of anyone who declares such expertise. A frequent speaker, Doc is passionate about helping others become better developers, working with teams to improve delivery, and building great organizations.

      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 $8 parking ½ block away using their service.

      Tags:

      ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Agile | development | SDLC | Culture | Metrics

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      VS Live is Coming to a City Near You! We Can Save You $500 in Chicago and Vegas

      by Angela 24. February 2014 10:13

       

      Have you been considering attending VS Live this year?  They are really expanding their locations this year, holding events in Orlando, Redmond, Las Vegas, Chicago and even Washington DC. It’s a great event both to network with like minded technology geeks like yourself, as well as to get some great education around a HUGE number of topics.  Once again, the Chicago ALM User Group has secured a special discount code for members and friends for a couple of these events. So if you were wanting to attend, now we can even save you $500 with our exclusive discount codes: UGCH09 (Chicago) and UGLV10 (Las Vegas).

      Topics will include:

      ➤ Windows Client

      ➤ JavaScript / HTML5 Client

      ➤ Azure / Cloud Computing

      ➤ Cross-Platform Mobile

      ➤ SharePoint

      ➤ SQL Server

      ➤ ASP.NET

      ➤ Visual Studio / .NET

      ➤ Windows Phone

       

      $500 Discount off regular registration price for ALMUG friends and family using discount codes below.  Discount does not stack on top of early bird discounts. Prices range from $1,795 - $2,095 without the discount.

      Your price: $1,595 after discount

       

      Chicago Event Links

      May 5-8, Chicago Hilton

      VSLive Chicago homepage: http://bit.ly/UGCH09

      VSLive Chicago registration page:  http://bit.ly/UGCH09Reg

      Las Vegas Event Links

      March 10 – 14th, Planet Hollywood

      URL will direct to event home page: http://bit.ly/UGLV10

      URL will direct to the registration page: http://bit.ly/UGLV10Reg

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