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Join The Chicago ALM User Group on Wednesday July 23 to Talk About Octopus Deploy

by Angela 29. June 2014 19:11

So in case you’re wondering, yes this is a repeat of the May user group meeting where we discussed Octopus Deploy as an alternative to Release Management. It was a really great and interactive discussion, so we’re repeating it on the downtown location. We heard a lot of great tips and tricks based on a real-life and rather huge deployment of Octopus. So down to business…

Are you using automated deployment tools yet? No? Why the heck not?! Regain your sanity and confidence with consistent and reliable automated deployments using Octopus Deploy. Octopus works with your build server to deploy ASP.NET applications and Windows Services into test, staging and production environments, whether they are in the cloud or on-premises.

I hope to see you in Chicago at the Aon Center 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.

Location:Microsoft-Chicago 200 East Randolph, 2nd floor, Chicago IL

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

RSVP Now to Attend

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | Deployment Planning | Deployment | DevOps | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS | TFS 2013 | Visual Studio 2013 | VS 2013 | Visual Studio

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June 25th: TFS 2013 and Git (Dogs and cats, living together... mass hysteria!)

by Angela 10. June 2014 18:07

So you’ve probably heard of Git. a free and open source distributed version control system that is really popular with development teams of all shapes and sizes these days. Problem is, that’s pretty much all it does, so if you need tools for managing work items, performing builds, deploying apps to environments, producing reports, then you’re going to be taping together about 10 different systems to make that happen.  TFS 2013 does all of those things, but maybe you still want DVCS too. Well, now you can have it all!

Join the Chicago ALM user group on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM to learn more.

Description: One of the most notable feature additions in Team Foundation Server 2013 is the ability to use Git for version control. Now your team has a choice between centralized version control and distributed version control since Git is now a first class citizen in the Team Foundation Server family. Join Dave Burnison at the June Chicago ALM user group meeting as Dave walks through the Git integration in Team Foundation Server. You'll see how you can use Git for source control and still provide traceability between source code commits, bug fixes, etc. We will see how TFS and Visual Studio provide an intuitive UI for many of the Git commands, but still allow you to use Git from the command line if that is how you prefer to deal with some of the more advanced commands. Will look at other TFS/Git integration points such as the integration with the TFS Build system allowing you to provide continuous integration builds for your team.

Speaker: Dave Burnison is a Senior ALM Consultant for InCycle Software which is a Microsoft ALM Gold Competency partner. He supports customers and the ALM community by providing guidance and best practices for Application Lifecycle Management. When Dave is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, being involved in his church and following the NFL and NASCAR. Dave is very passionate about ALM and the Software Development Life Cycle. He has worked in the software development industry his entire career. Having worked for both startups and large companies, his strength is his view and knowledge of the overall software development lifecycle paired with technical skills which allow him to create and manage ALM systems, processes and procedures that enable software development teams to become as efficient and productive as possible.

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

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

RSVP Now to Attend

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | git | Open Source | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2013 | TFS | Visual Studio 2013 | Visual Studio | VS 2013

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TFS 2013.3 CTP – What I’m Most Excited About: Part 1

by Angela 4. June 2014 19:57

Did you hear that there is a CTP of TFS2013.3? In case you missed Brian’s blog post, there is some really great stuff in there! I’m really jazzed about the big, BIG changes to Test Plans and Test Suites. They’re now work items! Now, in case you’re not sure why this is a big change, in the past Test Plans and Suites were not items you could customize or query, like you could Tasks, Bugs, etc.

The first step is upgrading.

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The process is very similar to every other upgrade or update you’ve applied. So pretty darn easy. Fortunately, it’s also a super fast process.

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Took under 15 minutes from start to finish for me, although admittedly I have a fairly small implementation with just 2 Team Project Collections and a handful of Team Projects on each. A *lot* is happening behind the scenes, including some major data transformations, so if you plan to take on this update when it releases it would be a GREAT idea to run the upgrade against a clone of your full production databases in a test environment. Not only to get an idea of the time it will take for your production upgrade, but to ensure you don’t encounter any unexpected issues. Particularly if you are heavy users of Test Plans, Test Suites, and Test Case work items. You can use these backup and restore instructions to create a test instance of your collection databases. And since I was updating from TFS 2013.2. there wasn’t even anything to configure once it was done for everything to work, just update and go!

Be sure to download it here and install it, but not in production eh? It’s not a go-live, but it’s worth checking out on your own instance of TFS :) I’m currently testing out all kinds of new features available to me, and will be sure to post a few follow-ups to this post detailing why this update will rock your world soon!

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A few more little nuggets of goodness in TFS 2013.2

by Angela 22. May 2014 13:59

Are you still hedging on installing update 2 for TFS 2013? OK, c’mon now, we’ve installed it for a number of clients and are running it ourselves.  It’s stable, it’s OK, just install it.  Not convinced?  Well on top of the great features I mentioned in my initial post about TFS 2013.2 RC, here are some additional features that might just push you over the edge to install the RTM version. None of the are mind-blowing, but honestly, they made a big impact on me personally.  Any less click I have to do to finish a daily task equates to a lot less annoyance in my life.  So here we go…

Team Days Off

So hopefully you’re not looking at this wondering “what the heck is THAT for?”. Because capacity planning is a must for any team, but entering time off could be a pain when you were looking at large teams with upcoming holidays. But if you look closely you might notice a new button at the bottom of the capacity planning tab called “Team Days Off”.

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Loved this for Memorial Day! Small change, but big impact for people managing teams in TFS.

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Sure maybe it’s only happening once per iteration, but what if you have weekly sprints? Even a small team of say 7 people equates to setting up days off 7 times a week as opposed to once. That’s like 30 clicks they just saved me, for just this one team! I have many teams on many projects. MATH.

Shared Parameters

OK, so this is a pretty big one. Something I hear a LOT is that parameter management can be really daunting for large teams where a lot of the same parameters get used across multiple test cases that are not leveraging common shared steps. How on earth do you keep track of them, update them consistently, and coordinate across teams to prevent duplication? Well, now you don’t have to! So in the client tools you’ll notice when working with parameters, that there is a new link to manage shared parameters on the web. Why only on the web? Because agile, and this is what you have NOW, which is better than 3 weeks ago which was NO shared parameters anywhere. My hope* is that it gets into the client in a future sprint, but right now it’s only on the web.

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So once you click the client link you’ll be redirected to the TFS web tools, where you will find it in the Test tab. Don’t see the Test tab? Well you need to be licensed for Visual Studio Premium or Test professional AND you have to be in the right Access Level.

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From here you can manage parameter sets to be reused across multiple test cases. 

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Any changes you make to these parameters effect every test case using them. HUZZAH!  It might not be entirely intuitive how to use them though. So in each test case work item, you now have the opportunity to not only use shared parameters, but to create shared parameters from existing ones. Simply open a test case work item and scroll down the the bottome where the parameter section is.  Here you’ll see both options:

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Lets create a shared parameter so we can reuse the set of usernames:

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It works much the same way that reverse engineering shared steps did. Pretty easy! And now I have another set of shared parameters I can leverage across my test cases:

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And here is the icing on top, there’s traceability, yes, traceability.  So you can even find out what test cases are using the shared parameters that you create, and vice versa.  Just switch to the properties view of the shared parameter in question.

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Did you hear that? I think it is a chorus of cherubs singing :)  If you don’t do a lot of QA like me, this may not seem earth-shattering, but trust me. This is going to save me a lot of time, and a lot of clicks. Hey, I have carpal tunnel, saving clicks is a big deal to me, and not just because I’m lazy.

So there you go, 2 more very compelling features to hopefully convince you to upgrade your TFS instance to TFS 2013.2. Stay tuned for more TFS goodness…

 

*seriously, I don’t know for sure and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you.

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The Chicago VS ALM User Group Is Giving Away A Free Pass to VS Live Chicago

by Angela 21. April 2014 09:21

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So you may have heard that VS Live is coming to Chicago in early May. But did you know that the Chicago Visual Studio ALM user group has a discount code to save you $500 on registration? We do!  But before you sign up, check this out…

I just received one free pass to the Chicago VS Live conference, and I am giving it away to one lucky Chicago VS ALM user group member. Join us this Wednesday to be entered into the drawing!

 

Contest Rules:

  1. Contestants must be a U.S. resident
  2. Contestant must be over 18 years of age
  3. In order to enter the drawing, contestants must agree to provide their contact information (full name and email address) to 1105 Media / VSLive
  4. Prize awarded includes the “Best Value Conference Pass” (5 day conference pass including workshops) only. Hotel, transportation, and other expenses, are not included.
  5. Contestants MUST be present at the April 23rd VS ALM user group meeting to enter and claim their prize

 

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Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | VS Live | VS 2013 | Visual Studio 2013 | TFS 2013 | TFS | Team Foundation Server | Microsoft

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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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The Many Templates of TFS

by Angela 23. January 2014 15:41

If you are a TFS user, especially if you are a TFS administrator, then you know that with every release of Team Foundation Server that there is a rev of the process templates. And if you work on a TFS server that has gone through a number of upgrades, it is possible that your Process Template Manager dialog will start to look like this:

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So many choices!! Which one to choose? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… ::cough, cough:: Back in the early days, there were only 2 out of the box templates. I know, craziness! How did people survive with only Agile and CMMI? Well, there were always the custom templates that you could get off the internet, but that is a can of worms I am not opening in this post.  For now I want to focus solely on the OOB templates.

Over the years, the templates grew up, work item types got added, fields got renamed, workflows got streamlined, and in 2010 a new template was born. But who can remember which one came out with which version of TFS? Usually it’s not a big issue until you are working on a server with lots of legacy team projects, and you need to know what the original base template was. Pro tip, the TFS Team Project Manager can really help you to answer this question AND we found a bug that they recently fixed allowing you to compare 2013 templates all the way back to 2008 templates! Well, I started keeping track, and I get asked questions about this often enough that I figured I would just share my reference.

TFS Version CMMI Agile Scrum
2005 MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 4.0 MSF For Agile Software Development 4.0 N/A -- 3rd party
2008 MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 4.2 MSF For Agile Software Development 4.2 N/A -- 3rd party
2010 MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 5.0 MSF For Agile Software Development 5.0 Visual Studio Scrum 1.0
2012 MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 6.0 MSF For Agile Software Development 6.0 Visual Studio Scrum 2.0
2012.1 MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 6.1 MSF For Agile Software Development 6.1 Visual Studio Scrum 2.2
2012.2 MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 6.2 MSF For Agile Software Development 6.2 Visual Studio Scrum 2.2
2013 RC MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 7.0 MSF For Agile Software Development 7.0 Visual Studio Scrum 3.0
2013 RTM MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 2013 MSF For Agile Software Development 2013 Visual Studio Scrum 2013
2013 Update 2 MSF for CMMI Process Improvement 2013.2 MSF For Agile Software Development 2013.2 Visual Studio Scrum 2013.2

 

Now, I don’t *think* I have missed any versions here.  All of the major TFS releases, and some minor releases, have been covered.  But I’d love some feedback if you notice any minor versions that I may have missed. And I’ll come back and update this when TFS inevitably gets another update, and another rev of the templates :)

Tags:

Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | Scrum | Process Methodology | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS | TFS 2008 | TFS 2010 | TFS 2012 | TFS 2013 | TFS Administration | TFS Power Tools | CMMI | Process Templates

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Free Half Day Events in Oct/Nov: Efficient Testing with Microsoft Test Manager

by Angela 18. September 2013 18:08

Been curious about Microsoft’s latest release of their testing tools? Want to know more about managing your test environments, both on premise and in the cloud? How about when to use test automation and what tools Microsoft has to meet your automation needs?

There is a great half-day testing event coming to a city near you if you live in the Midwest area, wanted to be sure to share it with everyone before it filled up. Since I am delivering the content I can tell you there are going to be some great topics being covered! Best part, it is free. Check out the details and agenda:

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.

During this event, your local MTM Specialist will provide you an inside look and show you the capabilities of Microsoft Test Manager. Furthermore, we’ll cover how quality is an accountability and addressable by the entire development organization.

REGISTER NOW at a city near you using one of the links provided:

10/10 Southfield, MI

10/22 Milwaukee, WI

10/23 Chicago, IL

10/24 Indianapolis, IN

10/28 Nashville, TN

10/29 St. Louis, MO

10/30 Kansas City, KS

11/4 Columbus, OH

11/6 Cleveland, OH

11/6 Edina, MN

Event starts promptly at 9am. Complimentary Food & Beverages provided in the morning

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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

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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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DTDPS, What It Is and Why You’ll LOVE it

by Angela 19. July 2013 19:18

It sounds like an STD, I know, but I promise it’s not. and after you’ve given your customers a DTDPS, they will thank you for it Smile  So hopefully I’ve intrigued you enough to read a bit more about this mysterious program. I’ve created a short FAQ to walk you through it:

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 3 DTDPS offerings available: TFS deployment planning, Visual SourceSafe migration planning, and Microsoft Test Professional deployment planning. 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 a customer’s current environment in order to help them build a plan for implementation and adoption of TFS and/or MTM.

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 and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you in more detail. Also, the programs being offered may be changing soon so check the site occasionally to see if a program was added to fit your needs.  

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.  This means customers benefit from a wealth of relevant experience and established best practices that only comes from having deployed and leveraged the tools in a large number of environments.

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!

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