(upcoming) ALM/DevOps Community Talks

February 8, 2016

Q1 of 2016 has already been quite busy with the organisation of VISUG 10 Years and the upcoming conference Techorama 2016. The user group and all community activities are simply not a simple side job anymore.

For the celebration of VISUG 10 years I delivered a session DevOps with Visual Studio Release Management.

In March (part of a Techorama 2016 promo tour), I will be travelling to Scotland for a User Group Talk in Glasgow (March 10): Advanced Techniques for Web Deploy (msdeploy) to simplify the deployment of web applications. The next day (March 11), I will again deliver my DevOps with Visual Studio Release Management talk in Edinburgh. Thanks to the Scottish Developers User Group for setting this up!

TechDays Belgium 2013

January 8, 2013

The Microsoft DevDays/TechDays in Belgium remain a special recurring event. My first Microsoft conference as an attendee must have been DevDays 2003 (or 2002?) in Louvain-La-Neuve. As a junior .NET software developer (working for Compuware Belgium at that time) I must have realized that the only way forward is to discover and learn. I remember getting in contact with some of the speakers, the dev community and some of my colleagues at that time. Unfortunately some of the usual faces/suspects like Patrick Tisseghem and David Boschmans are not among us anymore, but I’m sure I picked up some of the technology vibes from these guys and I’m happy to be able to pass these vibes to the next generation of software enthusiasts.


Many valuable attendee-years did follow after my first close encounter and 10 years later, there’s still so much more to learn … even more than ever before! Compared to roughly 10 years ago (seems Stone Age right now!), there are so many new releases of interesting tools, frameworks and products. Let aside the multitude of platforms we can develop for! In the early years, there was just a (beta) release of the .NET Framework and the Visual Studio IDE and that was practically it …

I had already the pleasure to present some sessions at earlier editions of TechDays and this year will definitely become a very special edition once again!

Sparkles - Copy (2)

I will not only be presenting two sessions on ALM/TFS, but I will also have a booth with Sparkles (as a Silver Partner) to promote the upcoming training classes in Belgium.

So, be sure to check out the full agenda of TechDays Belgium, register and come to visit me at the Sparkles’ booth. I’m still pondering about some promo material at the booth, giveaways and the like … Do send me your (crazy) suggestions!

In the past, DevDays was a dedicated event for the dev community, but since a few years now the event has broadened its scope to be the meeting point for all Microsoft technology professionals (dev & IT Pro). One of the top speakers this year in the IT Pro track is Paula Januszkiewicz and she happens to teach a Master Class in Belgium (via Sparkles) on Windows Security. She will be manning the Sparkles booth together with me to promote her training class and the other IDesign training classes in 2013.

This year, there’s again a Deep Dive ALM Track on the first day of the conference and I feel lucky to be part of a great line-up:

Something to look forward to is also my duo-session with Kevin DeRudder where we will talk about how to build and test a Windows 8 app with TFS Service and Microsoft Test Manager 2012.

Hope to meet you at TechDays 2013 to share our passion!

Follow me on twitter (@pietergheysens) for the latest news.

Sessions on Continuous Value Delivery and TFS 2012

June 24, 2012

Last week was an interesting one with a MSDN LiveMeeting and a session at the 6th and biggest edition ever of Community Day Belgium (500 attendees). I remember being present on the first edition of Community Day, talking about Application Lifecycle Management and the first release of Team Foundation Server (TFS 2005). A lot has changed in the ALM space during these 6 years.

Both times last week, I delivered a session on setting the context for the upcoming TFS 2012 release and added a number of demos to show some new and interesting ALM features.

90% of my time I’m active as an ALM consultant at different (small/big) companies in Belgium and I do identify a number of common trends across these companies. One very important thing for the business is time-to-market and they want to see a continuous flow of value. The current model of delivering features in big releases with long lead times – and only a few times a year – is under enormous  pressure. Development teams are getting pretty good at adopting agile and lean concepts in the technical development cycle, but the bottleneck is often the integration of the entire software value chain (stakeholders, development team, testing team and operations). Going for continuous value delivery really requires companies to improve the end-to-end value chain. What’s otherwise the value of having a top agile development team without the ability to frequently release new features in production? Delivering business value is all about optimizing the collaboration between different teams and software must be seen as a company-wide team sport.

Gartner has published a few weeks ago (June 5, 2012) an interesting report on Application Lifecycle Management. Microsoft has been identified as a leader in this area with the current TFS 2010 offering. So, this is already a clear indication that Microsoft has great tools for ALM, but I believe that the position of Microsoft will even be stronger with the new TFS 2012 release because they take care about the complete end-to-end value chain and they are creating the best tools for every individual stakeholder in the process.


Read the full Gartner report to find out more about the current ALM market situation..

Having only one hour to explain and demo the upcoming TFS 2012 release is just impossible. The goal was to give the audience an idea of what’s coming and the approach Microsoft is taking to tackle Application Lifecycle Management. Usually I spend three full days to get team members up-to-speed with all the new features of TFS 2012 during an on-site hands-on training.

My next public training on TFS 2012 is scheduled in the week of August 20, 2012. This intensive 3 day training will give students a detailed overview of the new ALM features that will be included inside the next release of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2012. Attendees will experience how this new release might unblock the impediments in software development processes to deliver continuous value for the business. The full training consists of 3 days, but according to personal preferences, people can sign up for the individual days as well. On-site training sessions can also be planned.

Download slide-deck Community Day 2012: A lap around VS 2012 ALM RC.

ALM End-To-End

May 12, 2011

Today I held a short presentation (45’) on Application Lifecyle Management End-To-End. The session was part of the ISV Discovery Day.

The presentation was primarily focused on showing the audience the ALM end-to-end workflow in Visual Studio 2010, starting from gathering and managing requirements, up to releasing an application for production.

Topics covered during the demo:

  • Requirements Management with work item queries and excel workbooks.
  • Status reports with SQL Server Reporting Services and Excel Reports
  • Work Item Management association during check-in
  • Continuous Integration builds
  • Test Case Management with Microsoft Test Manager

Download slides here.

MVP Summit 2011 – VS ALM stuff

March 9, 2011

Last week I was in Seattle for the MVP Summit where I was one of the present 78 Visual Studio ALM MVPs to explore the future of the Application Lifecycle Management platform.

On Sunday I already enjoyed a full day of interesting MVP to MVP sessions and I do want to highlight one particular session from Sven Hubert, a German Visual Studio ALM MVP. He did a nice talk on extended dependency management with Team Foundation Server. Many of us will certainly have been in the situation where a custom solution was required to manage internal/external dependencies, but this type of automated solution really rocks. Be sure to check out his blog article where he described his solution to manage dependencies with Team Foundation Server. If you understand German, you might also want to have a peek at the AIT TFS blog.

The other days were filled with a bunch of interesting sessions about the (near) future of Microsoft’s ALM offering, given by the ALM/TFS product team. Good to see that the people at Microsoft are really listening to the customer/community feedback. They are also extremely passionate about the new features they want to introduce in the product. I had a blast to be part in this gathering at Microsoft and made a few extra important connections.

Meanwhile, a few important releases have been made:

A few Visual Studio ALM MVPs and Microsoft people have been working hard to publish new ALM books:

Really exciting times to be involved in the ALM space!

Live Meeting on Visual Studio Lab Management 2010

September 5, 2010

On September 15, I will do a MSDN Live Meeting on Visual Studio Lab Management.

Register here.

Community Day 2010

June 23, 2010

Tomorrow I will present a session on Visual Studio Lab Management 2010 at Community Day 2010 in Belgium.

My demo should finally be ready now. I will show the complete Lab Build Workflow to build, deploy and test a web application in a virtual environment.

My slides are already availabe for download in the download section of my blog.

I’m also planning to record the demo (screencast) I will be showing at Community Day to put it online at my blog.

ALM Track at DevConnections in Las Vegas

April 13, 2010

This week I’m in Las Vegas (on invitation by IDesign) for the launch of Visual Studio at Devconnections. The Launch Day of Visual Studio 2010 was great but on Tuesday and Wednesday there’s also a promising Application Lifecycle Management track I want to follow.

  • Improving Your Software Development Processes with Visual Studio 2010 (Joel Semeniuk)
  • Defining and Managing Software Requirements with Visual Studio Team System (Joel Semeniuk)
  • Implementing Scrum Using Team Foundation Server 2010 (Richard Hundhausen)
  • Agile Database Techniques Using Visual Studio Ultimate 2010 (Richared Hundhausen)
  • Modeling and  Visualization in Visual Studio 2010 (Joel Semeniuk)
  • Team Foundation Server 2010—Migrate or Integrate? (Richard Hundhausen)
  • Lab Manager – The Ultimate “No More No Repro” Tool (Steven Borg)
  • Visual Studio 2010 Quality Tools for Developers (Steven Borg)

I will also be present at the IDesign booth to promote IDesign’s unique Training Classes in Europe. A training class that’s already announced is the Architect’s Master Class with Juval Lowy in Belgium in the week of October 11, 2010.

And this all happens in the Bellagio at Las Vegas! Looking forward to a great week here!

Techdays Belgium 2010 – Session details

April 1, 2010

This year I presented a session at Techdays Belgium on Branching & Merging with Team Foundation Server 2010.

The session slides can be downloaded in the download section of this blog.

Watch recorded video (1 hour and 10 minutes) at Channel 9.

A demo on Branching & Merging with TFS2010 was the major part during the presentation and I did practically cover everything I wanted to share with the audience: Branch metadata, Fine-grained security, Branching Visualization, Tracking individual changesets across branches, forward/reverse integration … except for one little important merge action that I forgot to show!

After the creation of my dev branches (from main) I also renamed the solution in those dev branches with an additional suffix to avoid confusion while loading different solutions into Visual Studio 2010. This was done in changeset 121 and I renamed the solution from WebsiteSparkles to WebsiteSparkles_dev1.


Afterwards I did some code changes in the dev branches and pushed some explicit changesets back (Reverse Integration) to the main branch, using the cherry pick option in the merge wizard to avoid merging also the solution rename.

As a result changeset 121 will always remain a merge candidate in the Source Control Merge Wizard.


In some cases you really want to merge changes back to main on the latest version of the development branch without cherry-picking all required changesets. To be able to do that, you need to get rid of changeset 121 as a merge candidate.

This can only be done through the command-line with the tf merge /discard command.


This discard command will make sure that changeset 121 will not be a merge candidate anymore. Note that you still need to commit this action to the repository after executing the command. The discard command will only update your local workspace but won’t do an automatic check-in.


Next time you will run the merge wizard and look for merge candidates, changeset 121 won’t be listed anymore and you may merge from a latest version of this development branch for upcoming changes.

Providing this discard command from within the source control merge wizard would be a very nice addition!

New Training offering by Sparkles + Speaking at TechDays Belgium 2010

January 19, 2010

With my new company Sparkles I don’t only provide ALM consultancy services, but I also try to setup advanced training courses in Belgium with local and international experts.

An exclusive partnership with IDesign is set up to bring the best training to Belgium. IDesign’s training courses are among the world’s most intensive, most comprehensive .NET training classes given by the IDesign architects who have a world-renowned reputation as industry leaders. The IDesign architects are all frequent speakers at major international software development conferences, where they present their techniques, ideas, tools and breakthroughs.

In the week of March 1, 2010, Brian Noyes (Chief Architect at IDesign) will be in Belgium (Antwerp) for delivering an intensive 5 day training on Architecting WPF Applications.

On May 3-4, 2010, I will also deliver for the first time a detailed training on the new Application Lifecycle Management features of Visual Studio 2010. The Training class is called ALM with Visual Studio 2010.

This year Microsoft Techdays in Belgium are scheduled on March 30-31 + April 1 and I’m confirmed as a speaker. I will deliver a session on Branching and Merging with Team Foundation Server 2010.

In January I’m also starting to setup Team Foundation Server 2010 (Beta 2) at 2 new clients. More and more small development shops also see the benefits of a fully integrated development platform. Those companies that were still in doubt a few years ago are now convinced because of the promising upcoming release of Visual Studio 2010. The ALM train is on the rails! Very busy, but exciting times!