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Time’s Running To Register for ThatConference and Book Your Room

by Angela 14. July 2015 15:15

Early bird discount pricing ended earlier this month, but even at the $499 rate it’s an amazing deal! We have an incredible line-up of speakers and more sessions than your brain can shake a very big stick at! I’m particularly jazzed about uncle Bob’s talk on the future of software. And don’t forget about the 3 FREE events leading up to the conference:

  • GiveCamp and The Humanitarian Toolbox - 8/8 - 8/9
  • Kids' Coding Dojo - 8/9/15
  • That CodeRetreat - 8/9/15

Haven’t bought your ticket? Or maybe got your ticket but not you’re room? What are you waiting for?

Due to awesome demand, the Kalahari room block has filled, but don’t worry, there is another option. Great Wolf Lodge, right across the street (and walkable, I’ve done it) from the Kalahari Resort, has created a block of discount rooms ($159 a night) just for our campers that they're holding open until July 19. To make a reservation, call 1-800-559-9653, or make reservations online at the website: www.greatwolf.com. Be sure to mention our room block to get the discount: "1508THAT".  Complimentary shuttle service will be available on a limited schedule during the conference to help you get back and forth.

Rooms are selling out fast, so get in on our discounted room rates while they are still available! And be sure to use my referral link when grabbing your ticket! Sunday is my birthday, so your ticket can earn me $5 to pay for a cocktail that night Smile

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/that-conference-2015-tickets-17016560992?discount=OakParkGirl_referral

Once you get your tickets, kick back, relax, and start favoriting the sessions you want to see while you’re in the Dells next month!

Tags:

personal growth | technology | development | conference | career

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Chicago ALM Meetup Deep Dives on Team Foundation Server 2015 and TFS Git with Ed Thomson in July

by Angela 7. July 2015 08:22

We are continuing our SUMMER OF VS 2015 with a special visit from the TFS product team this month! Yeah, I know right? It’s good to know people Smile 

So what are we talking about in July? Visual Studio 2015 and Team Foundation Server 2015 have arrived and with them come many new version control features and enhancements to existing features.  Code search, branch and gated build policies, branch history, CodeLens, and much much more.  We’ll take a lap through some of what’s new in 2015 plus talk about what to look forward to in some of the 2015 Updates.

Don't forget, VS 2015 and all the awesomeness that goes with it (TFS, MTM, RM...) release for general availability on July 20th! TFS 2015 will come soon after, for more details on why see Brian Harry’s blog post. But the good news is that all of the 2015 IDEs will work just fine with TFS 2013.

Hope you can join us to dig in deep on TFS version control.

 

Join Us Thursday, July 16, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

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

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

You *must* register to attend due to Aon Center security policies: http://chicagoalmug.org/

And please don't overpay for parking. SpotHero has some great parking very near to the Aon Center for as little as $10, I use them and I love the service!

Speaker Bio:

Edward Thomson is a Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, where he develops version control integration for Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server.  Edward is a core contributor to the libgit2 and LibGit2Sharp projects, which are the open source Git libraries used by Microsoft tools (and many others).  Edward is a contributing author to Professional Team Foundation Server 2013 blogs about version control at http://www.edwardthomson.com/ and tweets at @ethomson.

 

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Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | TFS | TFS 2015 | Team Foundation Server | Visual Studio Online | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2015 | development | SCM | Source control management

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Join Me at LCNUG in July–How TFS 2015 is Gonna Rock Your Agile World

by Angela 30. June 2015 19:33

This is the summer of Visual Studio 2015 (which releases on July 20th BTW) and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the number of great features they have managed to get out the door around managing and tracking agile activities in TFS/VSO. If you don’t want to wait until July to play with them, you can download the RC now, or setup your free account on VSO.

I am speaking at the Lake County .NET Users Group next week, specifically on all of the new TFS goodness around agile/scrum/lean etc. And while yes the user group is practically located in Narnia, it should be a lot of fun so I hope you can make the trek up to Lake County to join us.

When: Thursday, July 9, 2015 from 6:45 PM to 8:30 PM (CDT)

Where: College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois
19351 W Washington St Grayslake, IL 60030

What: What’s Going to ROCK your Agile Team’s World in TFS 2015?

Abstract: TFS has come a long way in the last 10 years. With the upcoming release of TFS 2015, and all of the new features being released to VSO at break-neck speed, it’s hard to know why you should consider upgrading. Spend an hour or so with Angela walking through the new Kanban boards, service hooks into great collaboration tools like Slack, and when your appetite with an overview of the new capabilities coming in Build vNext and RM 2015.

Bio: Angela Dugan is the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Practice Manager for Polaris Solutions, a small .NET development and ALM consulting firm based out of Chicago and St. Louis. Angela has been in software development filling various roles since 1999, including 5 years as an ALM evangelist with Microsoft. In late 2011, she left Microsoft to follow her passion back into the consulting world where she could be far more hands-on with her customers. Angela also runs the Chicago Visual Studio ALM user group, is an active organizer and speaker at several local conferences, is a Microsoft ALM MVP, a Certified Scrum master, and a certified SAFe Program Consultant.

Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, a chicken farmer (seriously, they have chickens!), an aspiring runner, and a Twitter addict. She lives in a 105 year old house in Oak Park that she is constantly working on/cursing at with her husband David.

Seriously, NARNIA!

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Registration: http://www.eventbrite.com/o/lake-county-net-users-group-2353411364

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Agile | MSDN | Process Methodology | Productivity | Scrum | TFS | TFS 2015 | Team Foundation Server | VS 2015 | VSOnline | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2015 | Visual Studio Online | VS Online

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David Hussman on How to Build the Wrong Thing Faster and Learn From It at the CAOS in July

by Angela 18. June 2015 11:58

Lately the conversations I am seeing happen around agile are more about what agile is really about, as opposed to specifically how to “do it right”. Getting a break from drum beating around which practices are “real agile” or “real scrum” is really refreshing. I’ve been particularly re-energized by the conversations around MVP, minimal viable product, and how it’s NOT just a v1.0 of your app. Instead, a better way to think about your MVP is that it’s the earliest possible opportunity for learning*. Learning what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and figuring out how to improve are key things you can take away from your MVPs. I feel like it was always an undercurrent of WHY people released MVPs in the first place, but at the end of the day it was often marketed as getting code into customers hands sooner. I’ve never met a C-level executive with numbers to make that was jazzed about tossing a barely functional V1 of their app out to customers purely as a rapid time to market strategy. It’s simply not compelling enough given all the risks that strategy could bring.  But tell them that it’s about better focusing of the (very expensive) team’s efforts, more quickly getting to the heart of what customers REALLY want, and not wasting time on the things customers don’t care about? That equates to real dollars, and the C-level folks can put their arms around that. It’s not even that revolutionary of a concept, I think a number of people in the race to adopt agile get hung up on the execution, and lose sight of the goal. 

*I’d give credit to someone specific for that little nugget, but everyone I follow on agile lately is saying this and I have no idea any more who said it first.

I won’t wax philosophic on it further, because that’s the whole purpose of the meet-up I want to encourage you to attend in Chicago next month. In fact, it is a SUPER meet-up. For real, how do you NOT attend a free *super* meet-up. More details can be found at the Chicago Agile Open Space Meetup site but here’s a brief synopsis to tempt you into joining the group and signing up to attend:

 

David Hussman - How to Build the Wrong Thing Faster and Learn From It

  • For years we’ve worked hard at software development. Agile methods have allowed teams to establish better flow in software development; refactoring language, not just code, presents itself as the next meaningful evolution. Can ‘software development’ be refactored to ‘product development’? Some brave pioneers that are already doing this, and are re-learning that building the product is much less clear than simply getting work done. The land of product development is filled with holes or ambiguity and laced with land mines of wrongness. Ideas that you are certain about often fizzle or change when you watch someone interact with your product. Being overly certain or overly focusing on ‘just getting work done’ are weak weapons in a place where being wrong, and learning from it, is a vital part of finding your way to success.

Instead of talking about ‘why you should do agile,’ let’s explore ‘why you should think in product,’ assuming you are using some agile practices. Our journey will explore the messy, sloppy and non-linear aspects of product development. Along the way, we’ll investigate how software construction is important, but courageously failing and learning in product is even more essential. We’ll look at how some teams are producing more real product value with less code. We will also peer into the world of program level development, where collections of teams produce product without injecting incidental complexity by employing what you might call ‘test driven product.’

Who knows, toward the end of the journey, we might even rally to refactor the agile manifesto to read ‘Learning in Product over Simply Getting Things Done.’”

 

Hope to see you there on July 20th! If you can’t make it for this one, be sure to join the meetup to learn about other upcoming topics.

Tags:

Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Scrum | ALM | Product Development

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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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The Chicago ALM User Group is Ready for the VS 2015 Launch. Are you?

by Angela 3. June 2015 10:59

Hey, did you hear that there is another version of Visual Studio coming out? There is already a supported Release Candidate (so go download it RIGHT NOW) and it’s going to be generally available soon. And no, I don’t know EXACTLY when and even if I did I would not tell you. Sorry. But believe me, the time to start getting ready for this one is now! Join the Chicago ALM user group this summer for a handful of sessions sure to get you as excited as we are about what the Visual Studio ALM product team has been doing. And of course the easiest way to see what’s coming is just to go setup a free VSO account today.

 

June Meeting: What’s New for Visual Studio 2015

========================================================

Visual Studio is a .Net Developer’s main life blood.  It’s where you live on a day to day basis, and it’s constantly evolving, changing, and growing; gaining new capabilities with every release!  Check in to see some of the hot/fun/cool/awesome features found in the latest version.  Some new enhancements like the Rosyln complier, and what that means for your daily activities, to updates to debugging experience, or enhancements to existing things like CodeLens.  Come see what’s up with the newest tools.

Speaker Bio: Jeff Przylucki is a consultant at Polaris Solutions. Jeff has primarily worked in Microsoft technologies since 1995, filling roles including Developer, Tech-lead, Lead Developer, and Architect working from VB4 through Classic ASP, and now .Net technologies.

Jeff is currently focusing on ALM tools with Microsoft TFS and Visual Studio, and is certified as MCSD – Application Lifecycle Management. You can find Jeff through his blog, and on Twitter.

Join Us Tuesday, June 30, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Location: Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

 

And yes, you DID see that correctly.  I have moved our meetings to Tuesdays for the time being. I am training for an 8K and a 10K and my training runs with my coach are on Mondays and Wednesdays, and it’s too expensive to blow off. So please make note and don’t show up on Wednesdays, unless you want to join me and my running group  Smile

Be sure to register soon, hope to see you June 30th! http://chicagoalmug.org/

Tags:

VS 2015 | TFS 2015 | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Team Foundation Server | VSOnline | Visual Studio

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Mark Your Calendars, and Buy Your Tickets! ThatConference is Coming

by Angela 19. May 2015 11:00

I’m excited. No, I’m absolutely PUMPED about ThatConference 2015! It’s now our 4th year. Some of us camp counselors are old salty dogs at this whole things by now, and we love every minute of it. Just ask.  Well, just don’t ask us on the last day, LOL.

We have an amazing family track, again.  We have more kid presenters than ever. SO AWESOME! We were overwhelmed and humbled by both the sheer amount and high quality of the submissions we got in response to our call for speakers.  I wish we had room for more sessions, and if you didn’t get picked keep in mind there are SO many more opportunities to share your experience and knowledge during networking events, happy hours, meal times, and of course during the Open Spaces.

Tickets go on sale TOMORROW May 20th at 8:10am CST, and we even have an early bird discount (save $100, whoa!) AND bulk discounts if your company is sending a small army. And for these prices, your company SHOULD send a small army. Use my referral link to register at the bottom of this post and you effectively buy me a beer at the first happy hour :)

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What better way to spend so little and get so much than sending an entire software team to an event where they can learn, collaborate, and have fun together! Speaking of fun, here are some of my favorite pics from last year including the badge decorating activities for the geeklets, a pic of my favorite and possibly youngest attendee, the PACKED game night, one of the family track sessions where kids learned about conductivity with play-doh, and of course the pig roast!

 

So be sure to hit up the registration site in the next few days, grab your ticket early, and start planning your sessions. We can’t wait to see you in August campers!

 

Don’t forget I run craft activities for the kids and board game night in addition to being on the conference committee and a camp counselor. Hit me up with questions, ideas, and anything else!

Tags:

ThatConference

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Free eBooks on Azure From Microsoft Virtual Academy

by Angela 18. May 2015 08:10

I was just lamenting that I needed to get caught up on Azure stuff, and then saw this amazing tweet from Scott Guthrie:

@scottgu: I just realized there are a bunch of *free* Azure eBooks now available to download through Amazon or online: http://t.co/g5ofSNUWJg

Whoa! It’s like they HEARD me. Creepers.  Anyway, there are a ton of free eBooks available, and some also have Kindle downloads too.  And not just Azure!  You’ll find books on System Center, Windows 10 Preview, Xamarin, SQL Server 2014, and lots more!

You can find the entire catalog of free books here, but below are the ones I am most excited about:

Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure: The “Microsoft Azure Essentials” series helps you advance your technical skills with Microsoft Azure. “Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure” introduces developers and IT professionals to the wide range of capabilities in Azure. The authors—both Microsoft MVPs in Azure—present conceptual and how-to content for seven key areas and describe management tools and business cases.

Rethinking Enterprise Storage: A Hybrid Cloud Model: Discover how a hybrid cloud model—combining cloud storage services with traditional on-premise storage—can solve multiple storage challenges cost-effectively, all under a single data management system. Focusing on the Microsoft hybrid cloud storage solution, this book offers concise insights on technical, strategic, and practical considerations—so you can begin evaluating potential benefits to your organization.

Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Online: With this ebook, the ALM Rangers share their best practices in managing solution requirements and shipping solutions in an agile environment, an environment where transparency, simplicity, and trust prevail. The ebook is for Agile development teams and their Scrum Masters who want to explore and learn from the authors’ “dogfooding” experiences and their continuous adaptation of software requirements management.

Get them while they are still free!

 

Tags:

Azure | Application Lifecycle Management | .NET | Cloud Computing | Mobile | Microsoft | SQL Server | System Center | Xamarin | SQL Server 2014

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IAMCP WIT Women in Tech Breakfast Briefing on June 11th in Downers Grove IL

by Angela 15. May 2015 14:19
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About the Event 

Most women in the technology field have developed their careers surrounded by male peers and leadership. The percentage of men in IT leadership roles continues to outnumber women, however, several female leaders have found their way through the IT leadership maze.

With the mission of providing valuable resources and support to its members, IAMCP WIT Chicago would like to offer you the opportunity to hear the female perspective of IT, women and leadership.
At the upcoming IAMCP WIT Women in Tech Breakfast Briefing we will feature an all-female panel and discuss a wide range of key issues and topics that affect female IT professionals within the technology sector.

 

Explore Frequently Asked Questions 

Do you need to act like a man to be a successful woman in tech?

What have you done to achieve work-life balance?

What can you do to support your colleagues who might feel marginalized?

How can we encourage women to stay in the IT field?

 
Event Details

Date: Thursday, June 11th 

Time: 8:30AM – 11:30AM

8:30AM-9:00AM – Breakfast and Networking

9:00AM-11:00AM – Panel Discussion

11:00AM-11:30AM – Questions and Closing Remarks

Location: Microsoft Offices in Downers Grove

3025 Highland Pkwy #300, Downers Grove, IL 60515

REGISTER TODAY – LIMITED SEATS AVAILABLE!  

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Tags:

WIT | Women in Technology | IAMCP

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