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It’s THAT Time Again! ThatConference Call for Speakers is Open for Just 2 Weeks

by Angela 31. March 2015 08:30

I can’t believe it is going to be our 4th year. Seriously. Craziness.

I still remember that fateful day almost 6 years ago. I was driving out to Detroit for a conference and I get a call from my buddy Clark. He’s telling me about this crazy idea to create a conference for everyone. It would have family stuff, include all kinds of technology, and it would be in a freaking water park in Wisconsin! What was not to love? And most importantly, did I want to help?? I had over a year at that point before the the kickoff of the inaugural ThatConference. It seemed like a lifetime away, and yet here we are. Every year I flop down on my bed after the last session and think GOD THAT WAS A LOT OF WORK, and then volunteer for next year because I can’t imagine NOT being involved in something this great. On to my point before I start getting all misty eyed. WHAT?

Call for speakers has just opened for ThatConference 2015. We’re going to be bigger, awesomer, geekier, and yes awesomer is a word because I said so! Smile We need great speakers. We need you. We need your KIDS to submit. I know, who knew? Last year we had an astounding number of geeklets presenting, leading open spaces, and coming up with some amazing ideas for this coming year. I am personally so stoked to see what the kids have ins store for US this year. No technology is off the table. No talk related to anything that anyone in the tech community would be interested in is off the table. Personally I plan to submit talks around not just TFS, and agile, but around fear and how many of us battle imposter syndrome. So be creative.

Next, please, check out our conference site, check out speakers and sessions from previous years, and then submit something that moves you. Here is a preview of our speaker submission “rules of the road”:

 

Tips for making your abstract epic:

  • Counselors have roughly 60 minutes to teach their fellow campers.
  • Descriptive and edgy titles are best. Bonus points for Summer Camp Geek references.
  • Make sure your abstract description contains enough detail so we know what you're going to talk about. Don’t worry if you make any mistakes we will have the opportunity to fix it later.
  • Try not to pull any switch-a-roos last minute and talk about something completely unrelated. Campers don't like that. If something changes, please work with That Conference.
  • We can't make too many promises but if there are issues with the final speaker schedule we will do our very best to accommodate you.

Do:

  • Be passionate about your chosen topic.
  • Feel free to submit more than one abstract. We have to maintain a balance across all of the tracks and their topics. It will just help us and potentially you.
  • Consider how your presentation is relevant to all technologists, but don’t feel constrained to avoiding a talk on one specific programming language, platform or technology.
  • Consider what discussions could be sparked by your presentation. That Conference is all about meeting people and discussing ideas; consider what people will talk about after your presentation.
  • Explain what benefit your presentation will bring to the audience.
  • Tell a story.
  • Show real world examples, especially your own experiences, to support your ideas. Show code samples or demonstrate product capabilities only where appropriate.
  • Make sure you can keep the documented session time limit.
  • Stay near the stage or podium after your presentation, encourage the audience to come up and discuss the presentation with you.
  • Please invite the audience to discuss your talk with you face to face rather than just at the end. Better yet, continue the conversation in our Open Spaces.
  • Respect our anti-harassment policy.

Don’t:

  • Use your presentation to specifically promote the superiority of one platform, language or technology over all others. Instead talk about pros and cons of the demonstrated subject, and invite the audience to share their own experiences related to your discussion.
  • See your presentation as a platform to market your company or product.
  • Include unnecessary animation or sound effects in your presentation that will distract from your content.

 

So seriously, don’t wait! Submit your talk, or talks, TODAY and don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of something truly awesome: https://www.thatconference.com/

Tags:

Agile | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | personal growth | technology | development | Windows Phone | Visual Studio | ThatConference | Team Foundation Server | Scrum | SQL Server | Mobile development | Cloud Computing

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FREE webinar on April 9th - Lifecycle Analytics with TFS 2013 and Office 365

by Angela 16. March 2015 13:34

More and more businesses that I work with rely on software for their growth and success, today more than ever before. But businesses often feel a lack of control and visibility around their software processes, and fail to achieve the agility and efficiencies needed to succeed.

Microsoft has revolutionized software Application Lifecycle Management with a robust and highly collaborative toolset focused on transparency, quality, and efficiency. Visual Studio ALM provides a powerful collaboration and automation platform in Team Foundation Server (TFS), while offering a wide variety of interfaces to TFS including Visual Studio, Microsoft Test Manager, cross-platform development tooling such as Eclipse, and Office.

Microsoft Power BI is a complete self-service business intelligence solution that can be used to visualize the patterns and trends in your TFS data.

Please join us for this free online webinar to learn how to harness the powerful integration and reporting capabilities available in this suite of Microsoft tools to not only manage your software ALM, but to improve it!

Key Experiences:

· Overview  of Visual Studio ALM

· Overview of Power BI

· Capturing the right data in TFS

· Applying analytics and business intelligence to inspect and improve your processes

When:   Thursday, April 9th from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Register Now

Presenters:

clip_image002Angela Dugan is the Microsoft ALM Practice Manager for Polaris Solutions.  She has been working in the software industry for 16 years, is a certified scrum master, and a Microsoft ALM MVP.

clip_image004Tom Jaskula is the Data Analytics Practice Manager for Peters & Associates and is the president of the Chicago BI PASS chapter.   He has been architecting and implementing solutions using Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Business Intelligence products for 16 years.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | VS 2013 | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2013 | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2013 | SQL Server | SQL Server 2012 | Business Intelligence | Office 365 | o365 | PowerBI

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Setting Default Values on a Readonly work item field in TFS 2013

by Angela 4. March 2015 14:07

It’s actually a bit more complicated than that… What I was trying to do was set the Assigned To field on a NEW work item to a particular person, and then lock it in.  So new work items of a specific type can only ever be assigned to a particular person… The Assigned to dropdown would only ever get the full list of team members after it was transitioned away from the New state.

I tried a lot of things that felt like they SHOULD have worked. It appeared that I could do either set a field default, or make it read-only, but not both.  Here are the things I tried:

  1. I tried setting the field itself to both have a default value and be read-only at the field definition level, but it appears as a read-only blank field.
  2. I tried setting the field to have the default value, then added a WHEN clause to the field to set it to read-only when System.State = new. It appears as a read-only blank field.
  3. I tried setting the field to be read-only, then added a WHEN clause to set the field Default value during the transition into the new state (see below). It appears as a read-only blank field.
  4. I tried setting the field to have the default value, then set the field to read-only during the transition into the new state (see below). It appears as a read-only blank field.
  5. I tried setting the Assigned to field to be both set with a default value, and set to read-only in the New transition. Nothing was set at the field level. It appears as a read-only blank field.

Is read-only always processed before default value rules are set regardless of how you do it? I wasn’t sure, and I did run across the order of operations docs and it does not address read-only. :: SIGH::

If I remove the Read-only rule from every approach, the field defaults properly, making me think what I want to do is just not supported.  After scouring a lot of MSDN documentation, I have no reason to think otherwise but when I find out for sure I’ll let you know. Anyone see something else I am doing wrong? Or know for sure if it is supported or not? If so, please let me know! It’s kind of driving me crazy.  In the meantime, I did think of a workaround.   Instead of making the field read-only, I reduced the valid choices in the drop down while the item is in the new state to the one person it can be.  Not exactly read-only, but they can't change it to another value so it is effectively read-only...

<FieldDefinition name="Assigned To" refname="System.AssignedTo" type="String" syncnamechanges="true" reportable="dimension">
  <ALLOWEXISTINGVALUE />
  <ALLOWEDVALUES expanditems="true">
    <LISTITEM value="[project]\Analysts" />
  </ALLOWEDVALUES>
  <DEFAULT from="value" value="Joy" />
  <VALIDUSER />
  <WHEN field="System.State" value="New">
    <ALLOWEDVALUES expanditems="true">
      <LISTITEM value="Joy" />
    </ALLOWEDVALUES>
  </WHEN>
</FieldDefinition>

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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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      A Hidden Gem in the MTM Test Plan Selection Dialog–Sorting and Filtering

      by Angela 19. February 2015 10:13

      By which I mean “hidden”.

      Every once in a while I run across a little nugget of goodness in a product I have been using for ages and just never noticed. They are not always ground breaking discoveries, but saving even a few seconds or a few clicks on something I do quite often adds up right?  So here is today’s face palm moment. Apparently you can filter and sort the MTM Test Plan selection dialog. The what now you ask?

      THIS GUY.

      image

      Now in my sample project there are not a ton of Test Plans, but for more mature client projects I end up with dozens and dozens of plans. I’ve seen projects with almost 100 Test Plans, which can happen quite quickly when you have really large organizations with many teams in a single Team project, using a Declarative Model for test release planning. But there is a better way! 3 features that will make your life easier:

      1) Adding more columns to the visible fields. Right-click in the header and you’ll notice you can check and uncheck fields to change the items you are can use to filter and sort. Once the field appears you can also drag it left and right to rearrange the fields. Many other lists in MTM work this way, not sure why it never occurred to me to try this.

      image

       

      2) You can click a column header, as expected, to sort by any of the visible fields. I assume no additional explanation or screen shots are required for this one…

      3) If you hover near the end of a column, the filter option will appear, showing you the available filter options.  Now you can filter by some of the most common things you might want to like state, Area Path (Team), etc.

      image

      Cool right? Seriously, how did I not notice these things were possible, ever?! ::face palm::

       

      Hope this was a helpful tip! And if it is not because you already knew, then why the heck didn’t you tell me? Winking smile

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      St Louis Day of .NET – Links to Blogs and Decks for all Polaris Speakers

      by Angela 24. November 2014 15:22

      This year was the second year that Polaris Solutions sponsored St. Louis Day of .NET.  In case you’re wondering why were sponsor a conference in St Louis, a) it’s a really great conference, and b) we have an office down there, a quickly growing one too! So if you missed it this year, stay tuned for STLDODN 2015! Outside of ThatConference, it is one of the most affordable, local conference that I have even been a part of. It was focused on Microsoft and .NET technologies, but also included a lot of talks around test automation, deployment and release management, and agile and scrum.

      If you did attend, I wanted to make sure to point you at my slide decks, as well as the blogs and slide decks of some of our other presenters. If you missed them, I spoke on both TFS deployment and management as well as agile adoption, Josh did presentations on machine learning with Azure and ASP.NET identify framework, Clint did a really great presentation on Application Architecture and another on Advanced OOP, and Jeff talked about a topic near and dear to my hear as well – TFS Consolidation and migrations.  If you attended the pre-compiler sessions you may have even run across our newest Polarian – Alejandro Ramirez. Great stuff, all of them! Here is a roundup of how to find more information on those speakers, and to get their slides:

      • Angela Dugan: You’re already on my blog :) slides are here
      • Clint Edmonson: Blog and slides
      • Josh Gillespie: Blog and slides
      • Jeff Przylucki: Blog and slides to be posted soon, check back in a few days!
      • Alejandro Ramirez:Blog and slides

       

      A couple of us even made it into the podcast line-up while there as well! I’ll be appearing on an upcoming edition of Technology and Friends, and both myself and Alejandro got a chance to sit down with the great team behind St Louis Tech Talks

      Lastly, be sure to check out the STLDODN twitter feed (and search on #STLDODN) for some great tweets, links to the other great podcast episodes recorded live during the conference, as well as links to some of the other presentations.

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      Join the Chicago ALM User Group Next Week for Application Insights 101!

      by Angela 11. November 2014 19:05

      So maybe you’ve been hearing some buzz around Microsoft's Application Insights technology.  Application Insights, in case you aren't familiar with it, is like Google Analytics on steroids. But like, get kicked out of MLB steroids :) Technically it is STILL in Preview, but if you’re running VS 2013 Update 3, you may have noticed a slight facelift in the tooling and dashboards. 

      In this presentation, Angela is going to spend an hour or so walking you through the basics of setting up Application Insights on your web application and navigating some of the awesome data that it allows you to collect about your applications reliability, performance, and usage data.

      When: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
      Where:Microsoft-Chicago 200 East Randolph, 2nd Floor, Chicago

      Who: Angela Dugan, ME!  

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

      I hope to see you in Chicago 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! 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.

      RSVP Now to Attend

      Tags:

      Application Insights | Application Lifecycle Management | Visual Studio 2013 | Visual Studio

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      Demystifying TFS 2013 .3 Access Levels and Licensing, a bit

      by Angela 7. October 2014 09:58

      In case you’re wondering, yes I specifically included the TFS update number because the licensing for TFS changes so often these days, that you really do have to be know what version of TFS someone is talking about to be sure you’re telling them the right thing. Anyway, I work with a lot of customers who get really confused about TFS Access Levels, in terms of what they mean and how you know who belongs in each “bucket”. You may even be thinking “what are access levels?” depending on what version of TFS you are running today.  Access levels were introduced with the release of TFS 2012, to ensure that users of the TFS web tools were only accessing the features they paid for.  You can find the access levels administration page in your TFS admin console, at the TFS instance level (so make sure you are in the Control Panel and not at a lower level, like at the Collection or Team project levels).

      image

      You may have noticed (default) in the Full Access level row, this means that if you do not EXPLICITLY assign anyone to an access level, they will get Full access by default.  Not a big deal on my personal TFS instance because I have Visual Studio Ultimate and am the only user.  On your own instance however, best to leave the default at Limited, and add Active Directory groups to each Access Level to give your TFS users the right level of functionality, based on their licensing. Otherwise you risk unintentionally giving people access to features they have not paid for, being out of compliance with Microsoft, and having very unhappy users when you later have to fix things and end up taking away your TFS user’s features because they haven’t paid for them. There unfortunately isn’t obvious documentation on how this works for TFS 2013 so you may not have even realized that’s what was happening, but I did find reference to it in the TFS 2012 docs.

      Now your next question is probably “What features does each access level give you?”

      image

      1. 3) With Limited access, users can create and modify only those work items that the user creates and can query on their own work items only.

      2. 5) Read-only.

      This list only applies to on-premise TFS, access to web features on VSOnline are slightly different these days, and access is controlled by your license level automatically since you have to sign in with your MSDN account or Live ID. Note the major differences between each level, since this may even influence what license you decide to buy for your users. Most people fall under at least Standard access, but your QA, developer, and support teams often require a Full license for Web-based test management and the feedback tools. If you’re not familiar with them, definitely look up some videos and watch them in action, or reach out to me for a quick demo! :)

      OK, so now you understand where to set access levels, and how they control what a user has access to on the web. How does each access level map to a license? This is pretty simple actually.

      image

      You may be wondering, “well what about Visual Studio Professional?”.  Yeah, not sure why they left that one out, but since VS Pro includes a CAL, those users would get Standard access. Note that this means that VS Pro users do NOT get access to some really cool features listed above.

      Now what about security? It’s very possible that your Active Directory groups are currently mapped to a user’s role, and does not necessarily coincide with access levels.  Particularly if your developer group has a mix of VS Pro, Premium, and Ultimate.  Now you cannot just assign your TFS_Developers group (or whatever you call it) to one access level, since some fall under Standard and some fall under Full. My advice is to create 3 Active Directory groups that map to your 3 access levels and chuck people into those AD groups as you buy or renew your licenses with Microsoft.  Technically, you could set one Access level as the default, not create an AD group for it, and anyone “unassigned” to an access level gets the default. I avoid that because it assumes too much, and that is how users fall through the cracks.  Just create Active Directory groups for each level, assign that AD group to the corresponding level, and whenever you add new TFS users they get added to that access level AD group to allow them access to the right TFS web features.

      Limited access level, Add Windows user or group

       

      Hopefully this shed some light on how Access levels work, and does not further confuse you. TFS licensing is rather complex, but sitting down and planning out your security and access model, and leveraging Active Directory as much as possible can make this really simple to administer in the long run. You can also find out more about licensing from the Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing White Paper, it’s honestly a blog series in and of itself, and again it is so complex and changes often enough that I’m not even going to try to untangle it just yet.

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      It’s almost Fall, and that means more Conferences

      by Angela 6. October 2014 09:39

      So conference season is kicking in full force again, and I already have quite a few on my radar, though sadly I doubt I can attend them all.  Here are a few worth taking note of, and some are coming up FAST so be sure to register if you’re at all interested because you may lose out!

       

      DevOps Days Chicago (10/7 and 10/8): I am particularly bummed that I cannot make it to this one.  Not just because it is organized by my friend Matt Stratton of Arrested DevOps, but because it’s guaranteed to be chock full of topics relevant to ANYONE in the software biz.

      DevOpsDays is a community-driven technical conference that focuses on bridging the gap between development and operations. The first DevOpsDays took place in Ghent five years ago, and there have been over forty events worldwide since then. Now, it is finally coming to Chicago.  DevOpsDays provides a collaborative environment where people can interact with their peers, learn about tools and automation, and discuss best practices. The topics covered are relevant for developers, system administrators, infosec engineers, QA engineers, product managers, technical managers, and anyone else responsible for delivering software.

      This 2 day event is only $149. You can even receive a 10% discount on registration by using the promo code DEVOPSMATT when registering: http://devopsdays.org/events/2014-chicago/registration/

      Also, seriously listen to Arrested DevOps, it’s a great podcast.

       

      St Louis Day of .NET (11/13 through 11/15): Just a 5 hour drive (or Amtrak ride) away is this fantastic conference.  I attended, ran a booth, and spoke at this event last year.  There are over 140 sessions with a full day of “pre-compiler” sessions where you can get your hands dirty for a very small additional cost. It’s currently still in early bird pricing, so just $200 for the conference, and $84 for a full had precompiler session. If you register after October 13th the price jumps to $300, and it’s $600 at the door.  So register quick!

      They have top quality speakers, a great conference space, a full roster of local tech sponsors (like Polaris Solutions of course!) fun events to network (and just have fun), and is a really good value given how little it costs to attend.  Also, the hotel is pretty swank too, so bring the family if you want to just spend the weekend there :)

       

      Agile Day Chicago 2014 – (October 9th) This as a new one (to me anyway) and seems really promising.  For just $99 I get an entire day of learning, collaborating, and sharing ideas with other agile practitioners in the Chicagoland area. The theme this year: Product Driven Learning - Listening, Learning, and Doing. 

      • Learning - Learn patterns and ideas that are currently being done for product learning
      • Listening - New ideas for product learning
      • Doing - An all interactive track where you will be doing things hands on

      Sessions will speak to various topics like product design, leadership, technology and development practices all with a focus on outcomes.

      More information can be found here - http://devjam.com/2014/07/31/agile-day-chicago-2014/

       

      I’m also super stoked to be attending the Microsoft MVP Summit again! But this one is just for Microsoft MVPs. Hope to see you there if you;re an MVP!  And if you’re not an MVP yet, chat with me some time about the benefits, and what kinds of activities qualify you for MVP, it’s an amazing program to be a part of :)

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