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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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Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group Meets July 31st

by Angela 15. July 2013 12:40

It’s that time again! We’re meeting on July 31st at the Aon Center in downtown Chicago to talk about one of my favorite features of the 2012 toolset, database management with TFS!  You can do some pretty slick stuff with the latest set of free data tools.  That’s right, they are FREE now.  Here are some more details on what’s being covered:

Abstract: One of the trickiest parts of ALM is tracking changes to database schemas related to building and deploying a particular release. The tooling from Microsoft once again changed in 2012 with the replacement of Visual Studio Database Projects (aka “Data Dude”) with SSDT. This hands-on presentation will discuss how to convert from previous versions of Visual Studio Database Projects as well as reverse engineering a schema from an existing database. The presentation will also look at changing and refactoring the database and how to incorporate the tool into the build and deploy cycles.

Speaker Bio: Daniel Sniderman is an Associate Principal Consultant for Magenic, one of the nation's premiere Microsoft Gold Certified Partners. Dan first learned to program FORTRAN in in the late 70’s using a keypunch machine and has thirty years of experience in software development. Since 1993, Dan has specialized on developing business applications on the Microsoft platform. Dan has worked at Magenic since 2004 specializing in customer software development and ALM consulting. In addition to a BA from the University of Illinois, Dan has a MCSD.NET and MCTS in Team Foundation Server 2010. Dan also is a professional trombonist performing regularly with the B.S. Brass Band and The Prohibition Orchestra of Chicago. Dan has two children: Joella age 7 and Elijah age 2.

Date:              Wednesday July 31st 2013

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

Agenda:          6:30PM Dinner followed by a presentation and demo at 7pm

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/

As always, please be sure to register as Aon Center security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.

Tags:

development | database management | Visual Studio 2012 | Visual Studio | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2012 | SQL Server 2012 | SQL Server | SDLC | SDET

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Going to ThatConference? You SHOULD be!

by Angela 12. July 2013 12:36

This year is the second ThatConference and it is going to ROCK. Not only can you spend 3 days in the Wisconsin Dells hanging out with your peers learning about .NET, Java, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Ruby, PHP, agile, Azute, TypeScript, JavaScript, Node JS, Angular JS - has your head exploded yet? And that’s not all that’s being covered, I just got tired of typing in technologies. It’s quite mind-blowing. So pretty much anyone interested in tech will get a lot out of this conference.  Why pay thousands to go to a conference focusing on just one specific language, vendor, or platform? ThatConference is for the community, by the community. And we mean that.

Best part, it’s only $349 and that includes all sessions, keynotes, food, and a heck of a pig roast at the waterpark. You even get s discounted rate for the Kalahari both during the conference and the weekend before in case you want to make a vacation out of it.  I know I am!  Also, did I mention it is at an amazing water park?  With go-karts, laser tag, a climbing wall, a ferris wheel, need I say more? AND, as if that was not awesome enough, for a very small amount (just $39 total) you can even add your family to the fun.  We now have a kids’ track. The Family schedule can be found here: http://www.thatconference.com/Schedule/FamilySchedule 

Check out the session list here: http://www.thatconference.com/sessions. Note: MY session is Monday morning, so hope to see you there! Smile

Here are the specifics (you need to go to registration to see this, so maybe I can save you some clicks):

Attendee $349

The 2013 attendee ticket. Full access to over 125 sessions, keynotes, food and one epic water park. But be careful, water and electronics don’t play together. Ziploc bags not included.

Family Ticket $39

That Conference is a family friendly conference and this year we continue to improve on our family experience. This year we have a dedicated family schedule that includes 2 family sessions each day. Your family will have the opportunity to meet a few animals from the local zoo, to learning how to build some awesome robots with Lego. But that isn’t all! This year families will get their own badges, join us at our daily happy hour, beat another geek during game night and of course join us for a spectacular dinner at our signature pig roast and more. All that fun does come at a very small cost. For just 39.00 per family, you’re helping That Conference bring such epic fun to all.

GiveCamp & The Humanitarian Toolbox (Sat & Sun)  $0 – Heck yeah, it is FREE

On August 10th and 11th, That Conference will host the 2013 Midwest GiveCamp. This year, Midwest GiveCamp and That Conference will team up with the Humanitarian Toolbox in a quest to help build software in support of disaster relief. This is a free event and food will be provided.

Coderetreat ( Sun ) $0 – Heck yeah, it is FREE

On ** Sunday August 11th from 11AM - 7PM** That Conference will host a free Coderetreat. Coderetreat is a day-long, intensive practice event, focusing on the fundamentals of software development and design. By providing developers the opportunity to take part in focused practice, away from the pressures of 'getting things done', the coderetreat format has proven itself to be a highly effective means of skill improvement. Practicing the basic principles of modular and object-oriented design, developers can improve their ability to write code that minimizes the cost of change over time. More information found here: http://coderetreat.org/

Tags:

.NET 4.5 | ALM | ASP.NET | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | Azure | Cloud Computing | HTML5 | MSDN | Mobile development | SDLC | TFS 2012 | Team Foundation Server | U/X | User Experience | Visual Studio | Windows 8 | iOS | JavaScript

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And Now For Something Completely Different

by Angela 12. July 2013 09:15

So, I feel like most (if not all) of my posts have largely revolved around ALM events and specific features of the Visual Studio product line. After quite a few conversations with customers frustrated with the non-bits and bytes aspects of ALM, I wanted to write down some thoughts on some things I am seeing out in “the real world”. You see, we always talk about how ALM is about people, process, and tools. And 9 times out of 10 (maybe more like 49 out of 50 in reality) any ALM talk I go to focuses only on process and/or tooling. Why? Because solving the people problem is HARD. Nay, that implies people are a problem, and that it is one that can be solved. In a lot of cases, the best you can hope to do is recognize the challenges, address the low hanging fruit in the short term, and in the long term support people’s evolution to a more agile way of thinking in any way that you can. But like me, you may have Microsoft certifications, or even Scrum.org certifications, but you certainly don’t have a degree in psychology.

You can educate people on the principals of agile but you can’t MAKE people truly embrace them, and it can be incredibly frustrating if you’ve seen the mountains of evidence, and maybe even have personal success stories of your own proving it is the right direction for a team. Kind of like me knowing that if I went to the gym regularly and started paying attention to what I ate, I would be a much healthier and physically fit person, but I can’t seem to convince myself to make the 1.5 block walk to the local gym to do it. Sad, I know. But I’m working on it, kinda. The roadblock I see even more often is that while the team wants to give it a go, management’s attitude is that “agile couldn’t possibly work for MY organization”. It is always followed by reasons like “’we’re too big”, “we’re too small”, “we’re too heavily regulated”, or my favorite “I couldn’t possibly TRUST my developers enough to give them that kind of freedom”. This is where I try not to look completely horrified in front of the person who just said that. I’m a professional after all J

I joke about wanting to go back to school for a degree in psychology sometimes when I find myself in these situations. Honestly, I’m only kind of joking. Being an ALM practitioner is not just about knowing how to configure a build server, or create a new work item type, or even migrate a massive organization to the awesomeness that is the Visual Studio ALM toolset (or any other ALM tool for that matter, I happen to be Microsoft focused). Those things help, a lot. But it’s also about leading organizations through cultural transformations, whether those be massive agile transformations, or simply getting teams to have a more healthy, open, and collaborative relationship on the simplest of terms. They will need mentoring, maybe even hand-holding to get through some of the roadblocks of a massive change. This is true in ANY walk of life, but for now I am focusing on the software development world.

I apologize that this is a bit of a teaser, but people tend to get bored pretty quickly so I’ll leave you here and promise to dive into something even deeper in my next post. And as always, I’d love to hear about your own experiences, or be linked to some particularly helpful advice you’ve come across. I am a passionate evangelist and agilista, but I’m by no means an expert, yet. That will take many, many more years, and even more grey hair (that you will never see!).

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | Agile | Team Foundation Server | Visual Studio | Process Methodology

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