Application Lifecycle Management with VS2010

December 12, 2009

More than a week ago I did my first training (2 days) on Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010. This was the agenda:

  • Introduction to Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010
  • Advanced Version Control with Team Foundation Server 2010
  • Testing in Visual Studio 2010
  • Architecture in Visual Studio 2010
  • Applying Scrum with Team Foundation Server 2010

On December 22 I will deliver the Introduction part for a Queaso Get Together in Gent. Feel free to contact me if you want to schedule a session for your company / user group! Always fun to do!

The Introduction slides are also added to the download section.

I also make use of this post to show you the updated VS2010 Stadium Diagram, the new Big Picture (at this moment still without the Teamprise plugin).

So, no sign anymore of Team System editions, the introduction of the Test Elements SKU with Microsoft Test & Lab Manager (MTLM), some new features for TFS2010 (Requirements Management & Test Case Management) and the addition of Lab Management. Excellent offering!

Teched 2009 Berlin Report I

November 9, 2009

Sunday evening I flew in from Brussels and after my first acquaintance with the public transport in Berlin, I managed to join some other Belgian community people (Gill, Katrien, Hans, Kurt, Bart, Alexandre) for an excellent steak at the Midtown Grill. After dinner we decided to try out some local beers to be sure of a good night’s sleep.

The registration on Monday morning was a bit disappointing. The queues were way too long when I arrived and it took me an hour to get my badge! Still good on time for my first marked session with Brian Harry: A lap around the tester and developer experience with Visual Studio 2010. A lot of attention was of course paid to the new licensing model with Visual Studio 2010 and the more all the stuff sinks in, I’m convinced that it will be a step forward for everyone. At the end of the session we also got to see some ideas which topics will probably be on the planning for the next version Dev11. Requirements management within VS and further evolution of v1 of Test and Lab Manager were high on the list …

After lunch with some ex-colleagues, I witnessed Gill Cleeren winning the first Speaker Idol heat. His ticket for TechEd 2010 is already secured and he may still win his own TechEd 2010 session. Great job Gill!

During the development keynote with Jason Zander I didn’t pick up many new things about the upcoming release of VS2010, but he announced that Microsoft did acquire Teamprise to be able to provide cross-platform support for Team Foundation Server. The Teamprise technology will already become available in the Visual Studio 2010 wave. This should be good news for enterprises with heterogeneous development environments. Read more about the acquisition in the press release and in the blogpost of Brian Harry.

I also got great news from the Belgian Microsoft people (KatrienHans) in Berlin. VISUG and Microsoft Belgium will be organizing another BIG event on December 4 this year. Scott Guthrie will be back in Belgium and we will host a free afternoon session. More detals will soon follow on the VISUG website. We already brainstormed a bit about the possible format for this event! To be continued for sure!

After the Festival of Freedom in Berlin last night and after a short night of sleep, now ready for day 2 of TechEd! You can also follow me on Twitter for quick TechEd updates …

TechEd 2009 in Berlin

October 29, 2009

A few weeks ago I finally decided to sign up for TechEd 2009. This year, with the start of Sparkles I wasn’t planning to attend, but hey: some parties are not to be missed. After all, the VSTS sessions look very promising with top speakers and it’s a week I can spend to focus 100% on the VS2010 Beta 2 release I have installed on my laptop.

My scheduled VSTS agenda for TechEd 2009:

November 9

  • VSTS 2010: A Lap around the Developer and Tester Experience (Brian Harry)

November 10

  • VSTS 2010: A Lap around the New Project Management, Architecture, and Governance Capabilities (Brian Harry)
  • Source Code Management with TFS 2010 (Brian Harry)
  • An Agile Talk on Agility (Peter Provost)
  • Software Testing with VSTS 2010: Part 1, an Introduction (Brian Keller)

November 11

  • Software Testing with VSTS 2010: Part 2, Making It Real (Brian Keller)
  • Tools and Agile Teams (Stephen Forte)
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2010 Team Foundation Server: Become Productive in 30 Minutes (Brian Keller)
  • How Microsoft Does It: Internal Use of TFS and Microsoft VSTS for Software Development (Stephanie Cuthbertson)

November 12

  • Doing It Right: Planning and Tracking Projects with TFS 2010 (Stephanie Cuthbertson)
  • Successfully Administering and Running TFS 2008/2010 (Neno Loje)
  • Architecture Discovery and Validation with VSTS Architecture Tooling (Peter Provost)
  • You Are Still Using Microsoft Visual SourceSafe? (Neno Loje)

November 13

  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team System “Unplugged” (Stephanie Cuthbertson)

Slides of ALM Roadshow

May 12, 2009

As promised to the participants of the ALM Roadshow today in Gent, I’ve uploaded the slides I presented :

Note that these presentations target Visual Studio Team System 2008 (current technology) and not yet the new upcoming release of Visual Studio Team System 2010.

I’ve also uploaded the Product Guide for Visual Studio Team System 2008. This may be interesting for example to know which feature belongs to which client edition of Visual Studio Team System. I always get a lot of questions concerning this topic …

Another general question I got concerning licenses : is it required to have a Client Access License (CAL) to connect to a Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition? Also taken from the product guide :

Workgroup Edition is provided with Visual Studio Team System 2008 Client Products with MSDN Premium Subscriptions. In addition, CALs are not required for accessing Workgroup Edition.

Feel free to contact me would you require further information!

Update [June 18, 2009]
Video screencasts of the sessions have been uploaded on MSDN Chopsticks :

New challenges with Sparkles

May 10, 2009

As from July 1, 2009, I will leave Compuware and start my own company Sparkles to head for some new challenges.

Sparkles wil offer high quality consultancy services on managing the Application Lifecycle with Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server. Sparkles will also offer advanced training classes by international experts on software development.

Next planned exclusive seminars in Belgium (Crowne Plaza – Antwerp):

ALM RoundTable event

May 4, 2009

Today I was part of the ALM RoundTable event at Microsoft via Live Meeting. It was quite fun to be part of it (thanks to Katrien, Hans, Philippe and Paul)! The software and hardware to make it all possible is really impressive.

I don’t think that the Live Meeting was recorded, so it won’t be available offline … but in that case I want to share with you the small homework I did before attending the session. We did cover some extra topics and also other questions were tackled from the audience, but at least it gives you some insight on the stuff we touched …

General ALM

  • Is there a team size starting from which ALM tools like VSTS makes sense?

    In my opinion VSTS is currently the best solution to deliver quality enterprise software in a controlled way. Whether you are a 5 person enterprise or a 1000 person enterprise, Team Foundation Server can help by making collaboration and communication easier than ever. You need good people in a software development team, but you also need the right tools and processes in place for your people to do their work. That’s where Microsoft Visual Studio Team System comes into play. It’s an integrated Application lifecycle Management (ALM) solution comprising tools, processes, and guidance to help everyone on the team improve their skills and work more effectively together.
  • I’m doing SCRUM, so I don’t need an ALM tool.

    Doing SCRUM or any other new/old methodology doesn’t mean you don’t need an ALM tool. VSTS makes it possible to adapt the tooling to your process. Out-of-the-box with TFS you get 2 process templates you can use : MSF for Agile development or MSF for CMMI. On top of that you are able to install any process template you want – like the process template from Conchango to do “Scrum for Team System”. Or you can also adapt the existing templates to your needs. Go to CodePlex to find an overview of available process templates.
  • You can’t do all at once. Do I start with planning or do I start with source control or elsewhere?

    It all starts with creating a new Team Project in Team Foundation server but before you can create a new Team Project, you need to know which process template you will be using … So therefore it’s quite important to think upfront what you really need to enforce your way of working. After that, you can start working on a strategy for setting up a folder structure in Version Control. So, it really starts with choosing the process template : that’s the glue that keeps it all together in Team Foundation Server.

Project management

  • How do I start?

    Once you have defined a process template and your team has been selected, work item management will be key to start work in a controlled way. Work items are assigned to individual team members and will flow between the team members to get the work done.
  • Which tool does a Project Manager use? VS?

    The nice thing with VSTS and TFS is that a project manager can use the tools he wants to connect to the central Team Foundation Server. He doesn’t need to have VS installed. He may want to connect with Microsoft Project, Microsoft Excel or the Web Access edition of Visual Studio Team System. There are other 3rd party tools that even lets you connect to Team Foundation Server from Outlook (for example : Ekobit TeamCompanion)!
  • How does this integrate with Sharepoint?

    After the creation of a new Team Project, a SharePoint team site is installed and configured to use by the entire team. You can for example use it to publish reports or to share document libraries.
  • Any best practices?

    To manage work items in TFS, I’ve always found it very interesting to use Microsoft Excel instead of Visual Studio. In Excel, you can easily create work items in batch or do whatever you want to organize your workitems. It’s also fairly easy to connect to the TFS OLAP cube in TFS to pull that data in Excel and do some custom formatting and reporting.
  • Who is in charge of reporting?

    Everyone on the team can be in charge of reporting. The good thing about TFS is that all project-related data is stored in the SQL Server database. So, if the default reports that come with the process template are not sufficient for your specific needs, you can always create your custom reports with SQL Server Reporting Services. Or, like mentioned before, Excel proves to stay an invaluable tool to do formatting and reporting of data!

Source Control

  • Is there an advised way to structure branches?

    First of all, it’s important to note that each branch you create brings an extra cost. So you really need to ask yourself the question if you need that branch before you actually branch. The total cost of branching is paid by merging and resolving merge conflicts and also by additional testing you need to perform on the branch. But in many cases, you really need some kind of isolation for development and branches will be your only option. The advice I can give to teams is start with a basic branch plan and eventually evolve to a more complex one if your really need. In a normal environment you could just have a main branch (stable snapshot), a development branch (changes for a next version) and a release branch (ship product). See CodePlex again for some excellent Branching Guidance.
  • Continuous builds? Why would I want that?

    With continuous build, we mean that each check-in is automatically followed by a build of the entire solution to check for any inconsistencies in the development solution. With continuous integration enabled development teams are certain to detect compilation or any other errors (like failing unit tests) as early as possible so that the entire team is only impacted for the least amount of time. Build errors should of course be solved as quickly as possible! It’s very bad for productivity if developers do a get latest of the solution and aren’t able to run the solution. This should be avoided at all cost. That’s why VSTS2010 goes a step further with the Gated Check-in feature …
  • Do I need a dedicated build server then?

    You don’t need to install Team Build on a separate server, but it’s advised to do so to not increase the load on the TFS Application Server.
  • How do I decide which tests to run on which builds?

    If you decide to run tests on a continuous integration build, you must make sure that those tests run fast, so ideally you should run only pure unit tests – no integration tests or other more complex testing. If you want to run the entire suite of tests, you may choose to run them on a nightly build where execution time is less important than on a continuous integration build.

See you at the next ALM event!

MSDN ALM Roadshow in Belgium

April 24, 2009

I will be speaking at the MSDN ALM Roadshow in Belgium next month. The website is now live and open for registration!

I will cover 3 topics on 3 occasions :

  • May 12 : Gent
  • May 13 : Antwerp
  • May 14 : Online Live Meeting

The topics [in dutch] are :

  • Het werk van uw team plannen met Visual Studio Team System
  • Broncontrole op de juiste manier met Team Foundation Server
  • Uw code op verschillende manieren testen en de kwaliteit ervan verbeteren

On top of that, I will also take a seat at the Experts Roundtable for ALM on May 4, a MSDN Live Meeting.

VISUG Session What’s new in VS2010

November 29, 2008

Last Thursday (November 27, 2008), I redelivered some PDC content on Visual Studio 2010 for the Visual Studio User Group (VISUG) in Belgium.

The session took about 2 hours and was a mix of all the new stuff I saw at PDC. Most of the time I was showing demos in the latest CTP of Visual Studio 2010.

Download slides.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions on the presentation or if you would like to schedule another public/private session on this topic.

VSTS Sessions at PDC

October 28, 2008

I’m currently at PDC in Los Angeles and on day 1 of the conference I followed already the session of Cameron Skinner A lap around VSTS2010 and the session of Brian Harry Cool New Features in TFS2010.

With Visual Studio Team System 2010 (built entirely in WPF by the way), Microsoft is more and more focusing on the needs of enterprise development teams. Imagine that VSTS wasn’t available anymore … Would it still be possible to manage the software development process of your applications? I’ve really seen some key features of VSTS 2010 (especially in the Architect Edition and Team Foundation Server) that will rock! Wishing those features were here already!

Other VSTS related sessions at PDC :

  • Software Diagnostics and Quality for Services in VSTS
  • Agile Development with VSTS
  • Overview of Visual Studio Team System Database Edition
  • Visual Studio Debugger Tips & Tricks
  • Leveraging Virtualization to Improve Code Quality with Team Lab in VSTS
  • Improving Code Quality with Code Analysis
  • Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability
  • Architecture without Big Design Up Front
  • TFS: How We Use It at Microsoft

The bad news is that I won’t be able to follow them all because some are scheduled at the same time … The good news is that all sessions will be recorded and made available to the public on the PDC website.