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Free Microsoft DevOps Strategy Event Coming to Cities Across the US

by Angela 27. February 2017 16:49

This looks like a really great event if your organization is still trying to wrap its head around what DevOps really means and how to get started, particularly if you’re already investing heavily in Microsoft technologies. Please note, this is going to focus on high level strategy and business focused DevOps discussions, if you’re looking for something more hands-on, stay tuned. I’ll be sharing more events soon.

If events like these get you excited about moving forward but you’re still not confident to go it alone, reach out to us! Polaris has helped a number of their clients to quickly jumpstart their DevOps initiatives through a combination of agile coaching and immersive adoption of modern tools and proven, leading practices!

Hope to see you there,

~Angela

 

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In support of your pursuit towards Digital Transformation and harnessing digital technology for organizational success, we invite you to learn how Microsoft’s platforms and tools can provide you efficiencies at scale while delivering application experiences that will truly delight your employees and customers.

Microsoft’s Cloud Application Development team is hosting a new event “The 360 on Innovative Applications” in 12 cities across the USA. We want you to be able to walk away with a 360 degree view of how you can architect and maintain applications with DevOps processes so that you can delight your customers and employees, provide an entirely new level of insights, and create a development environment that supports your LOB stakeholders in driving business agility.

 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

Sr. Development, IT and Data Professionals who are interested in identifying how they can move their organization forward by implementing DevOps practices, tools and adoption of the newest application architecture and functionality that can differentiate their organization from their competitors.  We suggest that you forward this to your colleagues who would be working with you on implementing this transformation. Please note: This is ‘NOT’ a hands on lab boot camp!

We hope that you will take the time to register today, and ask that you please extend this invite to your peers!

 

Agenda:

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Locations:

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Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | DevOps | Visual Studio Team Services | Visual Studio | TFS | Team Foundation Server | Application Insights

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Fear, A Major Speed Bump on the Road to Quality

by Angela 3. February 2017 22:26

I warned you that I’d be blogging about the “messiness” of ALM and DevOps consulting. And this is a long one so grab a cup of coffee, tea, or cocktail of your choice (whatever I won’t judge). It’s actually based on something I wrote for the QAI Quest Magazine. If you haven’t checked out the CQAA (Chicago Quality Assurance Association) community or their upcoming QUEST conference in Chicago this April, I highly recommend it!

Anyway, here is the article:

A large part of my job as a scrum master and agile coach is focusing on quality. Quality of process, quality of teams, and quality of software. While all of these can be challenging to improve, one of the hardest to tackle is quality of the team. I’m not talking about individual’s skillsets, although that is important. I’m talking about the ability of the team to work together as a WHOLE. In my experience, teams that cannot accomplish this cannot produce a quality product. Missed requirements, sloppy handoffs, miscommunication of what is “done”, and a host of other issues arise when the team just can’t seem to come together in a truly open and collaborative environment. Causes for this failure are complex and will vary from team to team. But one that I run into time and time again is fear. Yes, fear!

I’m not a psychologist and I don’t purport to know all the answers, but I can speak from experience - both in terms of myself and what I see in others. I have seen fear manifest itself in the following situations:

· Underestimating feature delivery times to hide a lack of confidence, often leading to painful sprint reviews when committed features aren’t delivered on time, or not at all.

· Code being integrated too soon to avoid being late, resulting in bugs “leaking” into production.

· Misunderstood requirements being implemented without question, and promptly being rejected by QA or a frustrated product owner.

· Resentment when team members feel someone is not pulling their weight, when in reality that person is silently struggling.

· Failure by team members to ask for clarification because everyone else surely must “get it”.

The fear of being seen as not good enough or smart enough by our peers is real and pervasive in IT. Ironically, the end result of hiding our struggles is often working extra hours and even cutting corners to make the unrealistic deadlines that we set for ourselves. This inevitably leads to doing the very thing we are fearful of … letting people down.

Tying this back to quality:

· Imagine if the team was afraid to admit that a requirement was vague, that it would be extremely complex to develop, or almost impossible to adequately test.

· Imagine if they assumed they’d figure it out as they go and plowed ahead.

· Imagine if someone on the team rushed to complete a feature and skimped on testing to prevent blowing their estimates because of fear of retribution for being wrong.

You probably don’t have to imagine it. It’s likely happening on your team right now but no one is talking about it! So, what can you do once you’ve realized that fear is holding you or your team back? What I have learned on my own journey is that it’s not enough to recognize when I am acting from a place of fear; I also have to recognize it in others. And much like quality, it is EVERYONE’S responsibility to create a collaborative and supportive environment.

As a Scrum Master, here are some of the things that I ask myself in order to help address fear on my teams.

· Is someone new to the team, or to their role, and clearly feeling overwhelmed or struggling to fit in?

· Is someone is hesitating to speak up when they clearly have a strong opinion or idea?

· Are people afraid of being judged harshly or told their idea is “crazy” or “dumb” in a team setting?

 

Now, that’s a lot of stuff to keep an eye on. (Hey…no one ever said that being the Scrum Master was an easy job.) So, let’s say that you notice something. What do you do about it? How do you head-off fear and/or actually do something about it?

Well, if someone on the team shares a concern or asks for help, be sure to thank them for bringing it up and offer them support, or try to connect them with someone who can. If people are hesitant to speak up in a large group setting, approach them after the meeting, and discuss it in a more casual environment. If they need some encouragement or support, find a way to share their ideas with the team in a less intimidating way. Find ways to bring new team members on-board and make them feel connected quickly. Make sure no one is discouraging open and honest conversation by dominating conversations or by openly criticizing ideas or opinions, even jokingly. Joking, while good natured, can be misconstrued as criticism, and simply telling a teammate that they “just can’t take a joke” is a great way to alienate them and ensure their participation in future activities is limited. Besides, some of the biggest discoveries in history started with an original premise that was totally out there!

I’ve given talks on fear at a number of conferences, and every time people have approached me afterwards saying “I feel that way too. It’s so good to know I am not alone!” Research shows that around 70% of people struggle with these kinds of fears, and based on my experience, it is higher in IT! That means that in any given meeting you attend, MOST of the people in the room are afraid to share their thoughts for fear of negative consequences. Imagine all of the great ideas being squandered and land mines we are failing to avoid.

Hopefully you’re already thinking of ways to improve the quality of your team, and ultimately of the products you are delivering. Strive to be more vigilant, more supportive, more honest, and you will be well on your way to creating a high-quality and high-performing team!

 

If you’re attending quest, I also have a few sessions there that you may want to check out if this article spoke to you.

Getting Your Agile Team Unstuck! Tips and Tricks for Avoiding Common Agile Setbacks: http://qaiquest.org/2017/sessions/half-day-tutorial-getting-your-agile-team-unstuck-tips-and-tricks-for-avoiding-common-agile-setbacks/

Fear and (Self) Loathing in IT: A Healthy Discussion on Imposter Syndrome: http://qaiquest.org/2017/sessions/fear-and-self-loathing-in-it-a-healthy-discussion-on-imposter-syndrome/ 

And if you’re not attending Quest feel free to send me a message via this blog or on Twitter!

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Polaris Solutions Agile Lunch and Learn Series Continues with Rapid Product Development on Sept 28

by Angela 29. August 2016 17:07

You may have noticed that the Chicago Visual Studio ALM user group has been ramping down, and in its place we are ramping up an Agile Lunch and Learn series. This past winter we had a Release Management and DevOps themes event, this Spring we covered SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), and this Fall we are introducing a talk on Rapid Product Development.  I am really excited about this one, as its a topic near and dear to my agile heart, and the speaker (Zach Beer) is someone who has lived rapid product development for a good portion of his career. Zach is a recent addition to the Polaris family and he has some amazing experiences in the Chicago Startup community to draw from for this talk.  We are so excited to have him on our team, and to be able to bring his expertise to our clients and the community. Check out the details below, and sign up soon if you are interested, we have only 16 spots available for this one. Below are the details…

 

Agile Lunch and Learn: Rapid Product Delivery

Do you feel like your team is grasping at straws about what your customers want?  Do your customers wait weeks or months for a release that doesn’t address their most pressing needs?

Lots of organizations struggle to find the most effective way to meet their customers’ needs.  Agile processes like Scrum can help organize teams, but they don’t explicitly show teams how to deliver the most value to customers.  In this presentation, we’ll discuss how choosing what you work on is as important as how you work on it, how product development can go sideways, and what strategies your team can use immediately to start delivering value to your customers sooner.

Please join our Agile experts for this free lunch and learn to hear more about how you can transform your company into a high-performance customer-pleasing engine.

Complimentary lunch will be provided to registered attendees.

Seating is limited. Register now!

 

Event Info

September 28, 2016  11:30 AM – 1:00 PM CDT

Microsoft Office – Downers Grove

3025 Highland Pkwy Suite #200

Downers Grove, IL 60515

 

clip_image002Zach Beer is an agile strategist and Senior Consultant with Polaris Solutions.  He has spent the last ten years developing software for start-ups around the Chicago area, gaining deep technical and organizational skills applicable to a range of industries and corporate structures.  He specializes in understanding business value and applying that understanding to the process of creating software. A certified scrum master, software architect, and speaker, he is passionate about helping people and companies reach their potential.

 

Polaris Solutions, LLC

Polaris Solutions is an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) consulting firm. We specialize in helping teams deliver high value software through technical leadership, process improvement, and software development expertise.

PolarisSolutions.com

info@polarissolutions.com

Tags:

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

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Meetups, meetups, everywhere! But where do you start?

by Angela 24. February 2016 16:54

At our most recent Chicago ALM user group meeting I was approached by someone who was attending their very first technology meetup ever, and had chosen mine! I was glad to hear that he had really enjoyed the meeting and was looking for more technology focused meetups in the area.  I started talking about all of the groups I had recently discovered on Meetup.com and it turns out he had never heard of it. I had assumed he knew about it. Then I wondered, are there other people out there who haven’t discovered the awesomeness of Meetup.com? Maybe you already knew about it, maybe you didn’t, or maybe like me you signed up for an account some number of years ago and haven’t logged in for a while to see what’s new.

If you’ve never been on Meetup.com it would be worth signing up for a free account and seeing what else is in your local area that might be of interest to you.  Heck, there are plenty of meetups that aren't even work related that you might want to attend! It will ask you some questions about where you live, and what topics are interesting to you, and then as you join Meetup groups it learns about your preferences and suggests groups to you that it thinks you will like. Creepy and awesome right? The number of available meetups might be a little overwhelming at first, but here’s the thing - you can watch meetups to get a feel for what they talk about and who attends, so effectively stalking the meetup, before committing to attending it.

Here are just the agile related ones that I am signed up for right now. I wanted to share because maybe you’ve been wanting to find other groups that focus on agile related topics and wasn’t sure where to start.  And hey, if you have one that is not in my list please let me know!

Chicago ALM Meetup – OK, this is MY group and we’re not actually on Meetup.com but I feel like I have to talk about it on my own blog. We discuss a huge variety of topics around Application Lifecycle Management including DevOps strategies, ALM tools like TFS, and various agile practices like continuous integration, continuous deployment, and test automation. We meet in the downtown and Downers Grove Microsoft offices anout 8 times a year. Sign up to be notified of new events at the Chicago ALM user group website!

Chicago Agile Open Spaces meets the first Tuesdays of every month at 5:30pm in the Loop. Been to a few, really great bunch of people who know their stuff! Their next meeting is March 8th and they are talking about Success with: Distributed Teams / Remote Teams: http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Agile-Open-Space/

The Chicago Agile Methodology Group meets the third Tuesday of every month at the Catalyst Ranch in west loop. Haven’t been to this one yet, kind of small still, but have some great topics coming up. Their next topic is March 15th on Getting Intentional About Rank and Power in Agile Organizations: http://www.meetup.com/The-Chicago-Agile-Methodology-Group/

Agile Professional Learning Network - This is one is interesting as it is marketed as "professional learning". I see a lot of my PMI contacts attending this one, likely because they meet in the same complex for their own meetups. And hey, NOT in the city for once! The meet the second Thursday of every month in the near northwest burbs (not far from Ohare), but I heard they may be moving closer to Schaumburg soon. Their next topic is Agile Tools vs Physical Boards: : http://www.meetup.com/APLN-Chicago/

Scaling Agile Chicago - This one is new, and is pretty exciting to me as someone who recently got their SPC. Also not in the city which may appeal to a few folks living in the MW suburbs. Seems like they are still figuring out their location and cadence.  The next meeting is SAFe 4.0 Primer, March 31 , Schaumburg Library:http://www.meetup.com/Scaling-Agile-Chicago/

Agile Project Management: I was really excited about this one, but they don't meet very often yet.  I am thinking about reaching out to them about presenting, maybe they just need some support.  http://www.meetup.com/ABOK-ORG/

Chicago Agile Project Management: The meet on the last Monday of the month at 5:30pm at ITA in the loop. Wondering if it replaced the one above, it seems a bit young as well, and this month's topic looks awesome! Alas I'll be on vacation so won't be able to attend myself: Rapid Quality in Agile 3.0  http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-APM/events/228704700/

 

There are meetups for darn near EVERYTHING, so whether you’re into programming in Ember, using Lean for delivering products, raising backyard chickens, reading SciFi books, or reading SciFi books about backyard chickens who prefer developing in Ember (You never know, it might be a thing!), there is a group for you. Apologies in advance if you lose the rest of the night spelunking through Meetup.com Smile

Tags:

community | meetups | Agile | Scrum | SAFe | Lean | Application Lifecycle Management | ALM

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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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A Little Story about How PowerBI Got into My TFS

by Angela 9. April 2015 14:29

So a few months ago I ran into an old friend from my Software Architects days who now runs the BI practice at another local consulting firm here in Chicago. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd when it comes to data and analytics, and as he started to describe this cool new thing called PowerBI to me, I got this idea.  What if we found a way to use PowerBI to slice, dice, and analyze TFS data, specifically VSO?! We needed to figure it out, then share it with the world, because how cool would that be?!

 

Sadly, we quickly discovered that there was no VSO connector available yet for PowerBI, but that didn’t stop us. We figured out that we could use the Office 365 Power BI tools against an on-premise TFS database and do some pretty neat analytics.  To make sure it was something that anyone following along at home could recreate, we even used the data from the publicly available Brian Keller ALM demo image. We started by pulling in work item data, and created a few dashboards, the first being a basic work item overview dashboard:

image

Once we created a few charts, the fun began. We could select work item types, teams/areas, and watch the data change. For instance, by simply clicking on a team (Devices), all of the charts on the page would refresh with the portion of them relevant to the selected team visible.Cool right? As someone who often managed a product portfolio in TFS, the ability to see the big picture and drill in with a matter of a click or two is really valuable!

image

Now imagine the ability to show scatter graphs to highlight patterns in your data, geo spatial coordinate data to map out where certain events are happening, the possibilities are endless. Obviously there is a lot more to share about the capabilities of PowerBI and TFS. So fast forward to today. Tom and I just wrapped up our TFS + PowerBI webinar, and recorded it.  So if you missed it, watch the full video here to find out more about PowerBI and how it can be used to drill into TFS data. You can also get a copy of our slide deck here.

And stay tuned over the next few weeks for exciting announcements on how PowerBI will be capable of connecting to VSO!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Microsoft Office | MSDN | o365 | Office 365 | PowerBI | SDLC | SQL Server | TFS | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2013 | VS 2013 | VSOnline

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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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