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These are a few of my favorite things, about TFS 2013 (Part 1)

by Angela 18. October 2013 13:31

Are you picturing a redhead dancing around a large bedroom singing about string and warm woolen mittens?

Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Only I’m no Julie Andrews, I don’t actually have a very good singing voice, and our house is not nearly that fancy :)  Also, instead of brown paper packages I am singing the praises of the MTM Test Hub, Work Item Charting, and awesome things like that.

As you’ve probably heard TFS 2013 released yesterday. A full day ahead of time, I know!  And like any passionate ALM consultant I’ve been using TFS 2013 for some time now. If you’re taking advantage of TFS Service, you have been too whether you knew it or not. So on to my first favorite thing about TFS 2013. Work item charting. The concept of work item charting is a pretty simple one, and frankly one customers have been clamoring for since TFS 2005. Business users do not want to have to learn SSRS to get quick, custom views that they can use to analyze work items.  And frankly, while Excel ad-hoc reporting is much easier than SSRS, it’s still not an “EASY button” solution for simple work item based charting/reporting. Thanks Staples for giving me that reference. 

So let’s divine in a bit shall we?  We will be working with one of my pet projects, a Scavenger Hunt application for the phone (if someone creates one soon, I’ll know where you got the idea now!) Assume we have some simple queries, for instance one which pulls back ALL tasks in a team project. This could be a lot to take in analyze, especially on large, established projects with multiple teams. So, below we have work items, tasks, bugs, etc.  All assigned to various people, planned for different sprints, and so on and so forth. 

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But what if I wanted a quick visualization of work item types, or work assigned to various team members across the entire project? Not a super easy way to do that in any of the previously available reporting methods.  Here is where Work Item Charting comes in.  You might notice a new menu item called “Charts” (circled above) in the web tools for TFS 2013.  When you switch your view to Charts it will show you any existing charts for that query, as well as the ability to create new charts.  So in my case, I already had a chart out there which breaks down all work items by type. Marginally useful, but maybe another chart TYPE would actually be a better way to visualize the data.  So the first thing I want to do is try different chart types, and see if something else strikes my fancy:

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I *love* that as you make choices in the edit box, it automatically gives you a preview of the resulting report. That will save SO many clicks.  So I changed the chart type to a stacked bar, changed the sort and saved the report.

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A bit more useful, but I’d like another view available, this time including assignment data.  But I’ll need to make some changes to my query, because if I try to simply show this in a new chart with the existing data, you’ll notice I do not even have an option to group by assigned to:

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Think of the query as your chart data source, meaning all rows returned will be displayed, and even more importantly, only the fields returned by the query will be available as well.  So if my query returns work item type, title, and state then those are the only fields that I can report on. AND only fields with a reportable type of “dimension” can be used for grouping. These little nuggets often trip people up, they assume all of the fields for the returned rows are available and available for grouping/sorting. So I need to go back to my original query, and add the assigned to field to add that data to my chart:

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Now when I go back into my charts, I have another field that I can use for pivoting my data!

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Well, I could certainly spend FAR more time on this topic, but I just wanted to give you a little taste of one of my favorite features of TFS 2013 – Work Item Charting.  Next up, the new web Test Hub!

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | Collaboration | Process Methodology | Productivity | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | Visual Studio 2013 | Work Item Tracking

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October 30th, 2013 Edition of the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group: More Visual Studio ALM 2013 Goodness

by Angela 16. October 2013 14:34

http://www.tfswhisperer.com/image.axd?picture=image_60.png

If you attended the September meeting, this is not *quite* a redux.  I’ll be talking about a variety of ALM features, some that I covered at the Downers Grove meeting last month.  BUT this time around I will also be joined by 2 of my smarty-pants colleagues from Polaris.  Landan Rotter will be talking about the new integrated deployment tool, InRelease, and will be doing a hands-on demo for your enjoyment.  Chris Taylor will also do a deep dive on data driven CodedUI testing as well as an awesome walk-through of setting up Lab Management to support automated test execution! 

Visual Studio ALM 2013 tools are going to release THIS FRIDAY, October 18th, ahem, THIS THURSDAY October 17th, and the big launch is November 13th. If you’re interested in participating in the virtual launch event on November 13th, be sure to check out the VS 2013 Launch Site and sign up soon!  And in the mean time, get ready for what coming by learning more about what's new and cool. And if you can’t wait until RTM, you can still get downloads of TFS and VS 2013 RC today.

Parking downtown is a bit costly, but Aon parking is pretty reasonable if you get there after 4:30pm and leave by 10pm. Check out www.SpotHero.com, they might just save you some serious cash.

 

Meeting Date:  Wednesday October 30th

Agenda:    6:30 - Dinner, 7:00 Presentation

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

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/

 

PLEASE NOTE: Security is strict at the Aon center.  You MUST register as building security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.  Their rules, not mine.

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Say Hello to Chicago’s Newest ALM MVP

by Angela 3. October 2013 20:35

I’m totally stoked to be the latest Chicagoan to be named an ALM MVP. There are currently only 114 ALM MVPs worldwide (that I see on the site anyway), and I am proud to be counted amongst these awesome folks. Sadly, the site is not quite updated so you won’t see yours truly listed just yet.

Wait, “what the heck is an ALM MVP you say?” I know, that is a lot of acronyms there.  In case you’re not hip to Microsoft lingo, that’s an Application Lifecycle Management Most Valued Professional.  This essentially means that in the areas of ALM (TFS, Visual Studio, Microsoft Test Manager, SDLC, etc.), I’ve made significant enough contributions to the community at large to get some serious props. And it’s been a fun ride, and I certainly don’t plan to slow down :)

This is not to say I know EVERYTHING there is to know on the topic of ALM, oh how I wish there were enough hours in the day.  But on any given day you’re likely to find me Installing/upgrading/customizing TFS, scouring MSDN forums, leading a class through the ropes of agile development, or perhaps giving a talk at a local user group on adopting a new ALM strategy in the real world.  I’m definitely passionate about what I do.

Anyway, that’s it for now! Just a little update on the latest excitement in my professional life.  Hope to catch you at a conference or user group near you soon! And don’t forget to stop by the Chicago ALM User Group sometime.  We will be posting details on out October meeting soon!

 

And because I’m always striving to do thing my mom can brag about, here is a picture of me being all giddy about my award :)

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Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | VS 2013 | VS 2012 | VS 2010 | Visual Studio 2013 | Visual Studio 2012 | Visual Studio | TFS Upgrade | TFS 2013 | TFS 2012 | TFS Administration | TFS 2010 | TFS 2008 | TFS | SDLC | Process Methodology | MSDN

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Receiving Random 403 Forbidden Errors on Your TFS SharePoint site? I Was.

by Angela 24. September 2013 16:57

So let’s start by explaining what was happening. I had just unraveled a mess of TFS/SharePoint/Reporting security that rivaled improperly-put-away-Christmas-lights levels of tangled.  All kinds of duplication, broken inheritance because of inexperienced admins adding individuals (instead of the AD groups I had setup) at every level of the SharePoint hierarchy, you name it!  So one day I get a head-scratcher of an issue from a business user who is customizing a TFS SharePoint portal for a project.

They were trying to edit the queries behind a couple of custom TFS web parts and were getting “403 Forbidden” errors at seemingly random times.  It would work on Monday but be broken on Tuesday and work again Wednesday.

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I was not getting that error, but of course I am god of everything as the TFS admin, so there is little I cannot do.  But I also noticed not many other folks were experiencing the issue, well, to be precise not one other person was receiving the error.  In the same AD groups, in different AD groups, nada.  I verified all of the groups this person belonged to, checked and rechecked his AD group membership, made sure SharePoint still had all the correct security inheritance in place. Nothing was out of place. And every once in a while the user would be able to complete that same action again without the error. Seemingly, whenever I went in and performed the action he was being denied. What the WHAT?!? Now I was *really* intrigued. 

Needless to say, we did fix the issue, but not without some serious internet scouring. I was about to post to MSDN forums when i stumbled upon the issue.  This obscure Microsoft Support post fixed our problem.  So I should note for background purposes that this TFS instance began as a 2008 installation running against a super old version of WSS.  It has been upgraded twice, by me, and we are now happily running on TFS 2012.3 with WSS 3.0, and hopefully soon to be TFS 2013 and the latest release of SharePoint Server. The server had SURELY gone through the security updates described in the Support post.  But since no one used the TFS SharePoint sites until I came along and fixed all of the security, no one had encountered this super old issue until very recently. Luckily I was on-site when it did, because while frustrating, it was also fun to troubleshoot.  I am weird that way :)

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | TFS 2012 | TFS 2010 | TFS 2008 | TFS 2013 | Team Foundation Server | TFS | TFS Administration | TFS Upgrade

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September 25th, 2013 Edition of the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group: Visual Studio ALM 2013

by Angela 17. September 2013 09:29

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Well, with all the excitement of ThatConference, I skipped having an August meeting but we’re back! 

With the upcoming release of Visual Studio ALM 2013 tools, it seemed necessary to spend some time digging in! Jim and I will be spending this meeting talking about what's new and cool. We are still arm wrestling over who gets to demo what features, so for now just know it will be awesome! :)

And don't forget to get your fresh downloads of TFS and VS 2013 RC today. MSDN subscribers will also find everything they need through their Subscription site.  If you’re interested in participating in the virtual launch event on November 13th, be sure to check out the VS 2013 Launch Site and sign up soon!

Meeting Date: Wednesday September 25th

Agenda:6:30 - Dinner, 7:00 Presentation

Location:Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/ 

PLEASE NOTE: Security has gotten tighter at the Downers Grove building.  You MUST register as building security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.  Their rules, not mine.

 

 

Speaker Bio:

Angela Dugan is the Polaris Solutions ALM Practice Manager. She focuses on TFS implementation and customization in the real world, Visual Studio related training and mentoring, and helping organizations to adopt Agile/Scrum methodologies. Angela had spent the previous 14 years as a custom application developer with a small consulting firm in Chicago, as well as did 5 years at Microsoft as an ALM evangelist. Catch up with her adventures on her blog.

Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, an aspiring runner (up to 2.3 miles without vomiting!), and a Twitter addict. She lives in a 102 year old house in Oak Park that she is constantly working on with her husband David.

Jim Szubryt manages the application architecture team for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago. This responsibility includes managing the TFS Team that supports 2,500 developers in the global development centers. He has worked with the global teams on implementing ALM practices and his team is in the process of piloting TFS 2013.

He is also a Microsoft ALM MVP and a Microsoft Visual Studio ALM Ranger. He was project lead on the disaster recovery planning guidance that was published in March. Currently he is the Project Lead on the Ranger’s guidance for reporting with TFS 2012. Prior to becoming a project Lead he has written parts of the TFS 2012 upgrade guidance and the TFS Server guidance that are found on CodePlex.  His blog can be found here.

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Missing Some Important Icons (Admin, Help, Run Query) From Your TFS Service Web Tools?

by Angela 16. September 2013 16:00

So this was an interesting issue I ran into the other day, and all my Binging and Googling Kung-Fu produced nothing. I often run my TFS tools in multiple browsers. I mean, c’mon, I may prefer FireFox for some things, but Microsoft prefers if I use Internet Explorer when demoing to their customers ;) One day I launched into my TFS Service demo and noticed a few buttons had just vaporized off of the main web dashboard (the “agile” planning tools dashboard, not SharePoint.  Notice below how there are no buttons in the upper left-hand corner in IE, namely the Admin and Help icons:

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I can click where the icons SHOULD appear, and the buttons work, they just are invisible.  I thought I was crazy until a few coworkers were able to reproduce it on MY TFS Service instance, but not their own. As a former Microsoft employee I was a SUPER early adopter, so it was safe to assume we might be on different instances.

And then I verified it was fine in FireFox for that same instance:

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WEIRD!!  I started spelunking around and noticed random icons were missing on other pages too:

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At this point I called in the heavy hitters, also known as the TFS Product Team, MVPs, and TFS Rangers for help.  And as usual they came to the rescue quickly. (Thanks Aaron Bjork!!)  So here was the solution in case anyone else runs into this strange issue.

There is a weird rendering bug in IE (9 and 10) with some instances of TFS Service. The way to get your buttons to re-appear is to tweak the Accelerated Graphics setting like so:

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Then once you restart the browser, everything should be back to normal again. Voila! :)

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Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | VS 2013 | Internet Explorer | IE 10

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My Experiences Upgrading to TFS 2013 During “Upgrade Weekend”

by Angela 14. September 2013 13:56

So this weekend is officially TFS 2013 Upgrade Weekend.  What is that you ask? TFS evangelist extraordinaire Brian Keller blogged about it here, but in short it is a weekend where Microsoft is encouraging people to get on the TFS 2013 RC bits right away, and to incentivize us, product team people are on-line today to help us should we run into any issues. Sweet huh? :)

The TFS upgrade to 2013 was super fast and straightforward, I was literally done in under an hour including upgrading my build service. Unfortunately for me, I got up super early (had to get fresh flowers and donuts at the Oak Park farmers market!!) and kicked off my upgrade around 9:30am.  So by the time the upgrade support Lync meeting came on-line at 11:00am I was done with the install and had already started smoke testing. Not a bad problem to have right?

Well, at least I thought I was done. I did run into a few minor issues along the way, a few of my own doing and one bump related to my wireless being grumpy (OF ALL DAYS TO DO THAT!). But the only issue that was possibly related to the upgrade was corruption of my VS 2012 install bits.  When I smoke tested the upgrade, everything looked good until I started kicking off builds.  Some of my builds were no longer working ::sad trombone::  First, I had an issue with builds that ran automated UI tests:

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I’d certainly seen this issue before, and it was always because the VS bits necessary to run the build were not installed on the build server.  But in my case I KNEW they were there, I had put them there myself some time ago! So I went to the server and out of curiosity I launched VS, and good thing I did.

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::sad trombone #2::

I figured there must have been some kind of corruption after installing TFS 2013, or perhaps from upgrading the build service (they are on the same box), so I reinstalled VS 2012. No biggie…certainly fixed THAT issue.  However when I ran the build again, I encountered another error, this time around the data tools:

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This error was even nice enough to link me directly to the place where I could download what I needed for a fix (i.e. reinstalling SSDT tools). So, after re-installing the data tools, I rebooted the server for good measure and the builds ran perfectly, everything looked good.  Lastly I installed VS 2013 RC as well, we will certainly need it as our folks will soon be chomping at the bit to use all of the new tools.  All I need to do now is configure a few projects to take advantage of the new Agile Portfolio Management features

So not a bad morning for a TFS upgrade, and if you haven’t upgraded yours, now you know how fast and easy it is :)  If you;re still nervous about going it alone, you don’t have to! Microsoft offers a program called Deployment Planning Services that many customers qualify for.  You may be eligible for free services (free consulting funding) from people like me that can help you get up and running on TFS, regardless of what version you want to upgrade to or what you are on today!

 

Lastly, MAD, MAD props to Microsoft and the TFS product team for offering free support today. Even though it was so smooth that I barely needed them. They seriously deserve a special sparkle pony award for their hard work, and for giving up a weekend to make sure we had everything we needed to succeed!

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | Build Automation | DTDPS | MSDN | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2012 | TFS Upgrade | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2012 | VS 2013 | VS 2012 | TFS 2013

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