Thursday, 28 February 2013

UK, here I come!

As somebody knows, I am going to relocate in a few weeks in the United Kingdom. It’s a dream I had since I was a child, which now becomes true Smile

I am going to relocate in Taunton, Somerset – working for Quest Software (acquired by Dell in September 2012) as a Team Foundation Server Administrator for their Visual Studio ALM platform. It’s not only that, but for some more details I have to start working for them Smile around five weeks to go, though.

But the fun is not over: with the relocation I also have to change my country as a MVP. So I am going to be a UK MVP, and I am surely going to have the pleasure of working with Richard Fennell, Mike Fourie, all the other UK & Ireland MVPs and my new MVP Lead Claire Smyth!

So, now I only have to complete the toughest part of the job: packing everything and doing the move! And the best is yet to come Winking smile

Sunday, 24 February 2013

What’s all this noise around Developer Operations?

During the last months a huge movement is gaining more and more importance in the IT world: the DevOps one.


What we usually covered until now is the Define-Develop side of the process. We never went deep on Operate, as “these are tasks for IT guys”. Release Management is another sample of it, but we are going to cover it separately.

But as we are living in a dynamic world, things change. Microsoft started a vision of that (from the IT side to be sincere, but still a vision) in 2007. Did we get there? Not really, but so far so good.

In the picture I highlighted some of the most common issues, which almost everybody went through at least once in their career.

Non consistent tool

Is there a ‘standard’ –read ‘mainstream’ operations backlog management tool, integrated with the Engineering side? Never heard of. Almost every organization has a tool, but it is often custom, standalone and rarely integrated with the developers’ systems.

Production incidents hard to debug and resolve

Sometimes bugs happen because of production-only issues. The VS2010 momentum of “no more no-repro” was the first leap toward solving this problem, but now we need something more.

No Knowledge Base management

This is like the ‘non consistent tool’ one, but worse as almost nobody (I would say less than 25% of the companies I worked with and upon) do that.

Can’t get actionable feedback

Linked to the one on production incidents, getting actionable feedbacks is quite hard as far as now. So it’s definitely needed an improvement in this area.

There is a lot to fill the gap, as possibilities are almost endless. And there is still a lot in place, think about Lab Management and its end-to-end workflows. This is a sample of an integrated Release Management with Developer Operations, for stuff up to the QA stage. We now need to go further.

With Visual Studio 2012 we finally got the possibility of bringing all the needed information in a seamless way from production back to engineering, as we are going to see in the next posts, trying to close the gap it exists in there.

Some insights on it? SCOM, TFS, IntelliTrace. Stay tuned Winking smile

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

ALM Summit sessions are out!

I have just been notified that all the ALM Summit content has been delivered Smile

You can find the slide decks here, and the videos hosted on Channel 9. These are great content for ALM with tons of useful information!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Web Test Case Management in Team Foundation Service

Again, after the announcement at the the ALM Summit, I am covering one of the new features introduced with the release of the CTP of Update 2, which is going to add these on-premise, but if you are a Team Foundation Service user the update has already been enabled by setting the right feature flag Smile

Enabling Test Case Management on the cloud is not just a matter of technology. As you can imagine, it opens up a broad range of possibilities for testing, because you’re not that deeply tied to Test Manager for the QA tasks but you can freely use the web interface.

You can find it under the new TEST hub in the web UI: image and it enables you to interact with existing test plans.

I can add test cases just like in MTM!


Please notice: these test cases are already integrated with the new Tags system.

Then I can run my test cases, a side window opens just like in MTM:


As you could see, the whole execution lifecycle is now accessible via web. Think about this scenario: you have to test a piece of code you run on a HP Supedome [HP-UX so, a mainframe] and you obviously can’t install MTM on it. The user doesn’t know MTM and doesn’t need it, as Web TCM solves this Smile and not only, of course.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Review – Professional Team Foundation Server 2012

We went through a general overview of the platform, a detailed deep dive on the client, it’s now time for the server part of Visual Studio ALM: Team Foundation Server.

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This book is considered as ‘the Bible’ for everyone who deals with Team Foundation Server. It covers in details everything you have to know and everything you should know about it.

Why did I say that? “have to know” and “should know”?

The reason is fairly easy: the book is not just a compendium of documentation, how-tos, etc., but it empowers direct experience from the field. So the authors (Ed Blankenship – Program Manager for Test and Lab Management, Martin Woodward – Program Manager for Team Foundation Server cross-platform tools, Grant Holliday – Senior Premier Field Engineer and Brian Keller – Principal Technical Evangelist for Visual Studio ALM) shared the knowledge they got from years of experience, in order to provide the most complete book on the topic.

The table of content is pretty straightforward: it covers from the deployment planning to the administration and all the maintenance activities, 27 chapters in total.

As a sample of the direct experience from the field I was mentioning before, it is worth a look at the chapter regarding the deployment planning: there you can find even a basic estimation on times, really useful if you are not into the product and you need to have a rough order of magnitude on the required effort.

It’s still a great purchase, even if you already have the 2010 version. The book has been updated with all the new stuff of the 2012 release, and it’s worth having it if you work with Team Foundation Server in a role which is not the ‘end user’.