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Application Quality Enablement with TFS 2012 and MTM 2012 at SDC Tomorrow

by Angela 14. November 2012 05:00

Not sure if you’ve been to any of the sessions held by the Software Development Community in Chicago but they are always good. This month I get the opportunity to speak there myself and wanted to let folks know.  If you cannot make it to my session tomorrow, I will be presenting the information again at the Visual Studio launch event in Chicago (“The New Era of Work”) later this month as well.  Be sure to sign up for notifications of future SDC meetups, it’s a great group! 

In the meantime, here is the info for my session tomorrow:

When: Thursday, November 15, 2012 -- 5:45

Where:  i.c.s -- 415 N Dearborn, Chicago, IL (map) -- 3rd Floor, Sign will be posted at the door.

Session: Application Quality Enablement with TFS 2012 and MTM 2012 - With the rise of modern apps and the modern data center, we require a modern lifecycle approach that supports the need to increase velocity, deliver continuous value and manage change while enabling quality. See a unique and full lifecycle perspective on quality enablement with rich demos infused along the way to illustrate our the software testing/QA story. Demos will include:
• Product Backlog
• Storyboarding
• Exploratory testing
• Client Feedback

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So you accidentally deleted your MTM Test Plan, Now What?

by Angela 10. October 2012 04:14

So this week, we had a little bit of fun, by which I mean a day that started with panic and scrambling when someone accidentally deleted a Test Plan (yes, a whole test plan) in MTM in production. A well established test plan with dozens of test suites and over a hundred test cases with a month’s worth of result data no less... Some important things of note:

  • test plans are not work items, they are just a “shell” and so are a bit easier to delete than they should be (in my opinion)
  • there is no super secret command-line only undelete like there is for some artifacts in TFS, so recreate from scratch or TPC recovery are your only options here to get it back
  • when you delete a test plan, you lose every test suite you had created.  Thankfully, not test cases themselves, those are safe in this situation.  Worst case, a plan can be created, although it is tedious and can be time consuming.
  • when you delete a test plan, test results associated with that test plan will be deleted*. Let that sink in – ALL OF THE TEST RESULTS FOR THAT TEST PLAN, EVER, WILL ALSO BE DELETED.  ::this is why there were flailing arms and sweaty brows when it happened::

So at this point, you may be thinking it’s time to update your resume and change your phone number, but hold up. You may have some options to recover that data, so buy some donuts for your TFS admin(I like cinnamon sugar, BTW).  I should mention, there may be a lot of other options but these are the three I was weighing, and due to some things beyond my control we had to go with #2.

1) Best Case Scenario: restore your DETACHED (this is required) team project collection database from a backup, cause you’re totally taking nightly backups and using the TFS Power Tool right? You lose a little data depending on how old that backup is, but it may be more important to get back your test runs than have to redo a few hours of work.

2) Second Best Case Scenario: If you cannot lose other data, and are willing to sacrifice some test run data, then restore the TFS instance from a traditional SQL backup to a separate TFS instance (so, NOT your production instance), open up your test plan in that secondary environment, and recreate your test plan in production.  Not ideal, but if you didn’t have a ton of test runs this may be faster and you don’t sacrifice anything in SCM or WIT that was changed since the backup was taken.

3) Worst Case Scenario: if your backups were not detached when you did your last backup, cry a little, then use the recover command to re-attach them. The gist is to use the TFSConfig Recover command on the collection to make it “attachable” again, then attach it to your collection. I have written a separate post on this because it can be complicated…

Once you are back up and running, make sure rights to managing test plans is locked down!  It might not be obvious that you can even do this, or where to find it, since it is an “Areas and Iterations” level permission. But do it, do it now!  This permission controls the ability to create and delete Test Plans, so be aware of that. But for the most part, anyone with authority and knowledge to delete entire Test Plans, considering what they contain, should be the only person creating them.  If everyone needs the ability to create/delete these willy-nilly, then you are doing it wrong, in my opinion anyway.

I am still in the midst of getting this back up and running so will update once we’re finished. There is an MSDN forum post out there regarding one bug I seem to have uncovered, if anyone wants to look at it and maybe fix my world by answering it Smile I am sure I’ll be able to add some more tips and tricks by then.

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June ALM User Group Meeting–Acceptance Testing Using SpecFlow!

by Angela 17. May 2012 06:12

Get ready, we have a packed summer full of great topics at the Chicago Visual Studio ALM user group! Be sure to join us in beautiful downtown Chicago at the Aon Center in June for this next session on how to improve your user acceptance testing practices using SpecFlow! Be sure to pre-register on our user group site so we can get you entered into the security tool, and please do keep us posted if you have to cancel! We don’t like throwing away food and it helps me to order the right amount.

Topic Description:

Imagine a project you’ve worked on in the past. Whether or not you or your organization makes use of Agile processes, you probably spent a good deal of time going back and forth with business stakeholders on the fine detail of how the software you’re building should behave. It’s possible you had to dedicate effort simply to producing a demo that the business will appreciate and understand. It’s even more likely that at some point, you and the business had disagreement(s) on whether something was “working”, “finished”, or “done”. Those types of discussions can leach away at your team’s time, expend effort, and impact morale as well as create tension between development teams and the business.

Now imagine if you could instead pour that blood, sweat, and tears into developing your application’s functionality. Imagine a scenario where new features are authored test-first, by non-tech staff in a plainly understandable, shareable, and versionable text format. Imagine a situation where the same set of specifications can be shared to drive a browser-based test suite at the same time that the specifications drive an integration test suite. These are the types of scenarios that tools like SpecFlow are particularly well-suited to address.

Unit tests are great for verifying atomic pieces of software functionality, but they are very poor at capturing and communicating specifications at any other resolution than fine-grained. They’re also completely useless to a non-technical user attempting to understand a system’s functionality.

This is where acceptance testing enters the picture. Although commonly classified as BDD (Behavior-driven design), tools and frameworks like SpecFlow serve to bridge the gap between proving the correctness of a piece of code from the inside, micro perspective and the correctness of an application as a whole from the outside perspective.

In this talk, we’ll go over what acceptance testing is, when it should be used, and how to add acceptance testing into an existing application using SpecFlow. We’ll also talk a bit about DSLs (domain-specific languages), the pyramid of returns vs. effort when it comes to different types of testing, techniques for authoring and designing tests and bindings, and finally, because this *is* a group about ALM, how to integrate SpecFlow into a CI environment and why you or your organization should do so.

If attendees wish to follow the demo on their laptops, they can save time by pre-installing the VS tooling for SpecFlow – http://specflow.org. The download there adds some tooling support within the VS IDE, and is not needed to run SpecFlow.

 

Speaker Bio:

Josh Elster is the founder and principal of his independent production and consulting company, Liquid Electron. With clients ranging from small media design shops to multi-billion dollar corporations, Josh’s experience spans a number of different sectors, projects, and roles. In February of 2012, Josh joined the community advisors board for Microsoft’s Patterns and Practices team for the CQRS journey project (http://cqrsjourney.github.com), as well as being a contributor. Like the common cold, but without the whole being ill aspect, it is Josh’s hope that he can infect others with his passion for software development. When not serving as Patient Zero, Josh can be found reading, playing video games or guitar, or coding. His website can be found at http://www.liquidelectron.com. His Twitter handle is @liquid_electron. His most recent demonstration project, the PostcardApp, can be found at http://www.postcardsfromskyrim.net.

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An interesting Quest (pun intended)…into Agile testing!

by Angela 9. May 2012 08:57

So there is a fantastic little conference gaining steam in the Midwest called Quest, which is all about Quality Engineered Software.  If you’ve never heard of it, you should seriously check it out next year regardless of your role.  As I have always said, Quality is NOT the sole responsibility of the testers, and this conference has something for everyone.  I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the local QAI chair who runs the conference the first year it ran (2008), which lucky for me also happened to be in my back yard.  I was with Microsoft at the time, and we had opted in as the biggest conference sponsor, cause let’s be real - who on earth in QA ever thought “Yeah, Microsoft has some awesome testing tools”.  ::crickets::  Right.

At the time VSTS (remember THAT brand? Smile with tongue out) was still new-ish, and the testing tools were focused almost entirely on automated testing. Yeah, I know, TECHNICALLY there was that one manual test type but let’s not even go there.  I know a few, like literally 3, customers used the .MHT files to manage manual tests in TFS, but it wasn’t enough. The automated tools were pretty awesome, but what we found was that MOST customers were NOT doing a lot of automation yet. Most everyone was still primarily doing manual testing, and with Word and Excel, maybe SharePoint. We had a great time at Quest talking to testers and learning about what they REALLY need to be happy and productive, we got the word out on VSTS and TFS, and started planning for the next year.  I was able to be part of Quest as a Microsoftie in early 2009 as well, when the 2010 tools (and a REAL manual test tool) were just starting to take shape, and then the conference spent a couple of years in other cities.  Fast-forward to 2012 when Quest returned once again to Chicago.

I was no longer a Microsoftie, but if you’ve ever met me you know that working a booth and talking to as many people as possible about something I am passionate about is something I rock at, and enjoy! So I attended Quest 2012 again this year, this time as a guest of Microsoft.  I worked the Microsoft booth doing demos and answering questions about both the 2010 tools and the next generation of tools, and WOW did we get some great responses to them.  Particularly the exploratory testing tools.  I am pretty sure the reverse engineering of test cases from ad-hoc exploratory tests, and 1-click rich bug generation that sent ALL THE DATA EVER to developers gave a few spectators the chills. I certainly got a lot of jaws dropping and comments like “THIS is a Microsoft tool?!” and “I wish I had this right now!”. It was pretty great.

I was also fortunate enough to also get to attend a few pre-conference workshops, keynotes and a session or two.  I have to say, WOW, the conference is really expanding, and I was very impressed with the quality of the speakers and breadth of content.  As a born again agilista, I was so pleasantly surprised to see an entire TRACK on Agile with some great topics.  I was able to attend “Transition to Agile Testing” and “Test Assessments: Practical Steps to Assessing the Maturity of your Organization“ and learned quite a bit in both sessions.  One disappointment, there is even more FUD out there in the QA world than what I see in the developer world when it comes to Agile, what it actually means and how it SHOULD be practiced.  I’m not about being a hard core “to the letter” Scrummer or anything, but I also am not about doing it wrong, calling it Agile, and blaming the failure on some fundamental problem with Agile.  There are lots of Agile practices that can be adopted to improve how you build, test and deliver software, without going “all in”, and that was something I kept trying to convey whenever I spoke up.

I heard “Agile is all about documenting as little as possible”, “Agile lacks discipline”, “Agile is about building software faster”, and all of the usual suspects you would expect to hear.  No, it’s about "documenting only as much as is necessary; there is a difference!  Agile requires MORE discipline actually.  People on Agile teams don’t work faster, they just deliver value to the business SOONER than in traditional waterfall models, which sure, can be argued is “faster” in terms of time to market.  The only thing that will make me work faster would be a better laptop and typing lessons.  I still look at the keyboard, I know :: sigh::   I am highly considering doing a session next year on Mythbusting Agile and Scrum, to help people understand both the law and the spirit of Agile practices.  Overall it was great to see that the QA community is also embracing Agile and attempting to collaborate better with the development side of the house. We just need the development side to do the same Winking smile  I also met at least a dozen certified Scrum Masters in my workshops as well, which was great to see! 

One of my favorite parts of the conference was of course getting to catch up and talk tech with Brian Harry.  He was the first keynote presenter of the conference, and spoke on how Microsoft “does Agile”, the failures and successes along the way, and even spent some time talking about his personal experiences as a manager learning to work in an Agile environment. I.LOVED.THIS. Yeah, I’m a bit of a Brian Harry fan-girl, but it really was a fantastic talk, and I had many people approach me in the booth later to comment on how much they enjoyed it. My favorite part was Brian admitting that at first, even HE was uncomfortable with the changes. It FELT like he was losing control of the team, but he eventually saw that he had BETTER visibility and MORE control over the process, and consequently the software teams.  It was brilliant.  So many managers FEAR Agile and Scrum for just those reasons. It’s uncomfortable letting teams self organize, trusting them to deliver value more often without constant and overwhelming oversight by project managers, and living without a 2 year detailed project plan - that in all actuality is outdated and invalid as little as a week into the project.  Wait, WHY is that scary? Sorry, couldn’t let that get by.

And so off I go again, into the software world, inspired to keep trying to get through to the Agile doubters and nay-sayers, and to help teams to adopt Agile practices and tooling to deliver better software, sooner.

Tags:

Agile | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | TFS 2010 | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | Testing | Test Case Management | User Acceptance Testing | VS 11 Beta | VS 2010 | Visual Studio | development

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May Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group–Let’s talk about TFS Service, VS 11 and TFS 11

by Angela 27. April 2012 05:39

Due to very popular demand to hold a VS 11 session out the the burbs, we are repeating the session held at the Aon Center in February, and are tweaking it a bit. Topics to be covered will include (but are not excluded to):

  1. ALM Ranger Guidance
  2. TFS Service Preview, a.k.a. TFS in the Cloud – what is it all about?
  3. New Agile Planning Tools
  4. Client Feedback Tool
  5. Story Boarding tool
  6. Team Explorer Changes (the code review feature is pretty hot!)

We may add some more items to that list, or refine it a bit, so be sure to check back closer to the meeting for more specifics.  And certainly let me know if you have any special requests!

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

When: Wednesday May 23rd, 6:30PM dinner followed by presentations and demos

Register here!  Please do register, as the security desk REQUIRES a list of folks to allow into the building at least 24 hours in advance.   And do keep in mind that we do our best to order food based on the number of attendees. IOW, if you need to cancel PLEASE let us know so we can adjust the food order so as not to waste our limited funding, well and of course food. Let’s NOT be wasting food.

Speakers

Prasanna Ramkumar is a Senior Consultant for Magenic Technologies and a VS ALM Ranger. He has extensive experience in implementing custom solutions using Microsoft development technologies for Magenic’s clients and provides ALM consulting to them using TFS. He has led and mentored several client projects using Scrum and is well versed in Agile methodologies. As a Ranger, Prasanna has been creating the hands on labs for the upcoming TFS11 Project Guidance and is actively reviewing other projects guidance.

Jim Szubryt is the TFS Product Manager and ALM Team Manager for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago. Jim’s TFS Team supports 1,300 developers in the global development centers. The ALM Team provides ALM guidance and assessments of the internally developed applications. Jim is also in the VS ALM Rangers program and has worked on the CodedUI guidance, TFS11 Upgrade guidance and TFS11 guidance on Teams. Prior to Accenture Jim worked at Magenic Technologies where he implemented TFS for clients and worked on a wide range of development projects.

Angela Dugan is the ALM Practice Manager for Polaris Solutions. Prior to joining Polaris, Angela Dugan was a technology evangelist with Microsoft focusing on Visual Studio and TFS group for over 5 years, and a software developer and architect for a small consulting firm in the western suburbs of Chicago for 8 years before that.

Tags:

ALM | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | SDLC | TFS | Team Foundation Server | Test Case Management | User Acceptance Testing | VS 11 Beta | Visual Studio | Testing | Work Item Tracking | development | TFS Rangers

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Sneak Peek of Visual Studio 11 - Coming to a City Near You!

by Angela 24. April 2012 06:34

You may have noticed a little hoopla lately around the coming version of Microsoft Visual Studio’s ALM product line. I’ve been using it for a few months now, and it’s pretty rad! I came across a great set of events coming soon to several cities across the Midwest, to give you a sneak peek at the new ALM capabilities in Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server 11.

This half-day event of presentations and demos will be delivered by your local Microsoft Technical Specialist. In case you are thinking, “my Microsoft whosit?”, 6 months ago this would have been me, so maybe that helps if you knew me before I was a Polarisian, Polarisite, uhhh, I’ll work on that one.  Click below for the city schedule in your area and to view full session descriptions for each event:

Date

Location

Registration URL

5/9/2012

Indianapolis

AM Session - Visual Studio 11

5/11/2012

Chicago

AM Session - Visual Studio 11

5/15/2012

Milwaukee

AM Session - Visual Studio 11

5/17/2012

Downers Grove

AM Session - Visual Studio 11

LOOKING TO EXPERIENCE WINDOWS AZURE? Join us in the afternoon at the same location for a BONUS event. Who doesn’t like a bonus?!  After each ALM event noted above, a Hands-On Experience with Windows Azure will also be happening, where Microsoft will explore how to leverage the Windows Azure platform for your own applications. Microsoft experts will show off the platform's powerful features, walk through tools to get started, and guide you in building and deploying your first cloud based application. The great news for MSDN subscribers is that you get Windows Azure cloud computing benefits for free every month with your subscription. Click below to register for the afternoon session!

Date

Location

Registration URL

5/9/2012

Indianapolis

PM Session - Hands On with Windows Azure

5/11/2012

Chicago

PM Session - Hands On with Windows Azure

5/15/2012

Milwaukee

PM Session - Hands On with Windows Azure

5/17/2012

Downers Grove

PM Session - Hands On with Windows Azure

Visual Studio 11 Beta!

Prepare for the next generation of development. You can’t predict the future, but you can get there first! TRY the Visual Studio 11 Beta Today!

Tags:

ALM | Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | MSDN | TFS | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | Testing | User Acceptance Testing | VS 11 Beta | Visual Studio | Work Item Tracking | Azure | Cloud Computing

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Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group Meets again on April 25th

by Angela 14. March 2012 11:23

I was fortunate enough this year to be involved with the ALM Chicago 2012 conference back in February, and I heard some great talks, and met some seriously talented people. One of them is Gail Swanson, a U/X designer from SapientNitro.  I got to spend a little time with her between sessions and talked about some of the challenges we have both seen in the industry when it comes to delivering a good user experience, and not just “working code”.  It occurred to me that U/X is a topic we have never really dug into in our ALM user group, and I for one find it to be a bit of a black art.  So I was very excited when it turned out that Gail could speak at our April user group about this very thing.  We will be meeting in the Downers Grove Microsoft office, on Wednesday April 25th.  Click here to RSVP for the event.

Topic: User-Centered Design and Usability Testing for an Effective User Experience

Across all platforms, the differentiator between widely adopted applications and those that are discarded is successfully meeting user needs through a positive experience. User-Centered design techniques provide the tools needed to create that engaging and usable application. Usability testing is needed to find what will trip up your users and stand in the way of your product meeting its goals. Understand how to quickly gather the information you need about the where, when, why, how, and by whom the application will be used as well as the techniques to apply that information to an interface design. If you’ve been wondering what UX is and how you can use it to improve what you make, we’ve got that covered.

BIO:  Gail Swanson, is a User Experience Designer, Speaker, and Blogger from Milwaukee, WI. She is passionate about creating experiences that help people be more productive, informed, delighted, and nice to one another. As an advocate of Agile, Scrum, and she is working to integrate UX into that landscape. Gail works to make UX Design more adaptive and accessible to organizations. The ultimate goal is to happily work together to create things that work for people.

Gail Swanson is Associate Creative Director, Experience Design at SapientNitro. Gail blogs about practicing user experience design in the real world at www.practicallyux.com. Twitter:@practiallyux

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | U/X | User Experience | Testing | User Acceptance Testing

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