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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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Last Chance to Register for the CQAA Agile Testing Practices Program on Jan 26th in Chicago

by Angela 25. January 2016 15:54

I don’t run across many non-QA folks that are members of CQAA – the Chicago Quality Assurance Association, which is a shame. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably part of a software development team (or you are my mom being supportive – Hi Mom!), and ALL members of the team are responsible for quality so really you should check out CQAA in general. They have a lot of really great local events and webinars, AND this year they have a conference coming to Chicago. More on that later…

I coach a lot of software teams on agile and Scrum and hands down one of the biggest challenges is quality.  Specifically – how does QA keep up with development efforts? Well, my first bit of advice is that keeping up with testing implies that only QA is bothering to assure that quality is there, and developers have a huge role to play too. How they do that, well, your team needs to decide. Some level of up-front testing is critical to ensuing quality from the moment there is enough of a requirement worth swarming on to the minute it hits production. TDD, BDD, ATDD, there are many options. This might be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for to delve more deeply into that topic if you’ve been on the fence, or maybe if you haven’t even begun doing the research. Software developers are inherently “lazy” right? How efficient is it that Karen can give you the run down and save you a lot of Googling Smile

This looks like a great event that I hope you consider attending, regardless of your role on the team. I was fortunate enough to end up at a lunch table with Karen many years ago at a Quest conference, and Karen had so much great experience and insight to share. I look forward to any opportunities I can find to learn from her. Today is the last day to register, and I really apologize for the last minute notice but I had forgotten about it myself until today.

 

Influencing your Team Towards BDD & Agile Practices

Karen N. Johnson

About the Topic

We’ve shortened the software development release cycle and we are even moving towards continuous delivery, but our testing efforts still seem to have that waterfall-feel to it. How can we influence more Agile testing practices without feeling like our testing strategies have “fallen off the rails!"

First let’s look at a few of the common terms such as BDD and TDD and understand what each term means and what those practices look like in our daily lives. Next let’s explore small tactical practical ways we can influence adoption of early test thinking on our teams. Let’s also develop a few short concise “elevator pitches” that we can share with teammates, product owners and even senior management in those casual spur of the moment conversations that take place to help influence a continual and evolving adoption of BDD and Agile test practices.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Understand the terms BDD & TDD
  • Learn specific tactics to help move your team towards Agile testing practices
  • Develop an “elevator” pitch for promoting BDD for every layer of management 

About the Speaker

Karen N. Johnson has worked as a software test consultant for many years. Her client engagements range from teaching to project work. Karen is frequent speaker at conferences. She is a contributing author to the book, Beautiful Testing by O’Reilly publishers. She has published numerous articles and blogs about her experiences with software testing. She is the co-founder of the WREST workshop, more information on WREST can be found at: http://www.wrestworkshop.com. Find her on Twitter as @karennjohnson (note the two n’s) and her website: http://www.karennicolejohnson.com.

Host and Location

SAVO Group Ltd.

155 N Wacker Drive

2nd Floor Conference Center

Chicago, IL 60606

Agenda

1:30-2:00 Sign-in & Networking

2:00-2:15 Announcements

2:15-4:00 Presentation (15 minute break at 3:00)

Registration

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND THIS PROGRAM.

PLEASE REGISTER BY Monday, January 25, 2016 at www.cqaa.org. If you have any questions, please contact CQAA Program Director at programs@cqaa.org.

 

Hope you can make it! And if you do attend, wave to my husband if you see him, as it is in his office Smile

Tags:

TDD | BDD | Software Testing | Quality Assurance | Quest | CQAA | Software Quality | unit testing | Test Automation | Testing | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Scrum

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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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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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      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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      Data Driving a Web Service Performance Test in VS 2013

      by Angela 20. March 2014 17:35

      Now, I’ll admit that all of this is technically documented on this page on MSDN, but it isn’t super obvious sometimes exactly what something should look like when it is done. And for non-technical folks, having a nice handy tutorial with images can be a huge help. I have a few client folks right now that needed something like this, so rather than only share it with them I thought I would post this on-line for everyone’s benefit.  ANYONE can follow along with this, I am using a public web service. I specifically was doing this on VS 2013, but this should on any version back to 2005, so long as it is either Ultimate or Team Suite.  I am assuming you already have some basic knowledge of web performance testing, but if you don’t check out this exercise first.

      First identify a web service you would like to test, and choose and operation. You could also wrote your own web service, I’m not feeling THAT ambitious today. I am using a public Weather service and the “GetCityForecastByZip” operation as seen below:image

      1) Create an empty web performance test, so immediately stop recording when the recording tool starts up in the browser.

      image

      2) Let Visual Studio resume. Add a web service request to the empty web performance test:

      image

      3) Enter the URL for the web service via the Properties panel (“http://wsf.cdyne.com/WeatherWS/Weather.asmx”). It should look like this:

      image

      4) Grab the Soap Body from the Web Service page, it should look like this:

      image

      5) Enter “text/xml” for content type and place the soap body from your clipboard in the String body of the web service via the Properties pane. It should look like this:

      image

      6) Add a header to the service request:

      image

      7) Grab the SoapAction from the Web Service page:

      image

      8) In the Properties pane, add a key value pair of “SoapAction”, and the SoapAction from your clipboard. It should look like this:

      image

      9) Now the basics are configured, but we want to be able to pass in a zip code. To keep things easy for the first pass, let’s just hard code that sucker. I know, bad practice, but we’ll change it soon. Open the StringBody and replace the parameter with a value:

      image

      Now run the test and see weather for my town, it’s quite lovely today :)

      image

       

      But this is not really exciting, we should data drive this.  Let’s create a data source with some zip codes to truly exercise this service.

      1) Add a few rows to an excel sheet with valid and even invalid values, use a column header of Zip and save as CSV. Save someplace easy like the desktop, you’ll need to refer to it later:

      image

      2) Add a data source to your web service test:

      image

      3) Use the data source wizard to choose the CSV file that you just created, and add it to your solution. We could point to a shared repository instead, but for now let’s keep it simple and add it to our project when you are prompted to do so.

      image

      You should now see something similar to this:

      image

      4) Now we want to data drive the the Zip code rather than use a single hard coded value. To do this, we need to embed a reference to the data source inside the String Body. So where before you just hard-coded “60304” we now add a reference to the Zip field in the data source we imported with the following syntax {{DataSourceName.TableName.ColumnName}}. It should look like this:

      image

      5) Now most likely your test settings are still defaulted to running web performance tests just once. Let’s open your testsettings and make sure we spin through every row in the data source:

      image

      6) Now go to the Web Test section, and choose “One run per data source row”. Your settings should look similar to this:

      image

      7) Run the test again. It should now run once for each row, returning an appropriate response for each.

      image

       

      Huzzah! Super easy right? Now give it a try yourself…

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      Trying Something new with the ALM User Group in December

      by Angela 3. December 2013 13:50

      So it’s time again for the annual Christmas Edition of the ALM user group. Normally we do the normal “dinner and a movie” approach, maybe having a special guest speaker or some kind of presentation contest. This month I wanted to do something different.  In December, we’ll be doing an Open Spaces concept. So Open Spaces is sort of an “unconference” thing, where you enter into it with no formal agenda and let the attendees decide what is important and/or interesting to talk about. So think of a topic you’d be willing to lead, or a topic you would like someone else to lead. A few I’d be interested in talking about are transforming organizations to Agile, upgrading legacy systems to TFS 2013, and agile testing.  We will write them on a board, pick some locations for people to gather, and then you vote with your feet, bouncing around if need be.

      As an added bonus, if you’ve been attending the ALM user group for a while, you know that December is “Angela cleans out her SWAG closet” month.  So I’ll have lots of fun giveaways including pens, stickers, mouse pads and LOTS of books. I’ll even have special prizes for people who lead an Open Spaces discussion during the meeting (think XBox/Kinect games, Arc mouse, T-Shirts).

      So I hope to see you in Downers Grove next week.  I always enjoy our December meetings, and not just because of the cookies :)

      Be sure to register soon so I can order the right amount of food!

       

       

      Join Us Wednesday, December 11, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
      Location:  Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

      Speaker Bio: You, me, anyone who is interested in speaking!

      Agenda:6:30pm dinner 7:00pm Open Spaces Kickoff

      RSVP Now to Attend

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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

      image

      Location

      Drury Lane Convention Center

      100 Drury Ln
      Oakbrook Terrace Illinois 60181
      United States

      image

       

      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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