DevOps sessions at Build 2015

I mentioned last week I would come back and talk about some fantastic Build 2015 sessions on DevOps and TFS.

I recommend watching at those seven sessions. If you don’t have the time, here are the ones that are a must-see:

Using Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio Online, and SonarQube to Understand and Prevent Technical Debt

​Technical debt is the set of problems in a development effort that make forward progress on customer value inefficient. Technical debt saps productivity by making code hard to understand, fragile, difficult to validate, and creates unplanned work that blocks progress. SonarQube is the de-facto Open Source tool to manage down technical debt.

I have been working with the Rangers to release some documentation on how to install and configure SonarQube up on a simple scenario, so this talk has been a great complement to what we have been doing.

Managing Cloud Environment and Application Lifecycle Using Azure Tools and Visual Studio Online

The modern way of development requires frequent changes not only to the application itself but also to your environments. Those changes demand a set of tools that make those tasks shareable, configurable and repeatable. In this session we’ll talk you through how to use Visual Studio tools for Azure to build and author Azure environments as well as test your applications in those environments. We will also show you how to take advantage of Visual Studio Online and Release Management for Visual Studio to automate the entire process and push environmental and application changes through a staged environment.

This presentation by Claude Remillard, one of the program managers for Release Management, which to me indicates that some of these tools are also coming to TFS on premises. More than that, you can see how the Ops side of ALM is now being fulfilled in the long term view Microsoft has for ALM.

TFS Release Candidate is out

Last week at Build the Visual Studio team had some fantastic sessions on DevOps and TFS. I might come back and comment on a couple ones that really caught my attention.

The most exciting thing though was the announcement of TFS Release Candidate, which you can get here. I could go on to talk about features but it would be better for you to ready from the horse’s mouth at Brian Harry’s blog. There were so many new things to check out that I had to read the post twice to make sure I was not missing anything. My favorite two topics were Release Validation, one of the last miles od DevOps, and Agile project management (many long sought after improvements in the UX area).

A quick installation went without any issues. I will be testing a couple of upgrades in the next few weeks. We are not planning to use the “go live” option, but it seems stable enough to do it. It’s looking good!

Using SonarQube with TFS 2013

In the last couple of months I have been working with the ALM Rangers on investigating how to deal with Technical Debt, and particularly how to use SonarQube with existing TFS 2013 environments.

The current result of this research is a short but to-the-point guide on how to do a SonarQube installation for an existing team foundation server 2013 single server environment. You can get it from Codeplex at

Being proactive in adapting SonarQube to be used with TFS and VSO is yet another example of Microsoft’s change of positioning, after achieving one of the leadership positions in the Gartner report, to become an even more open ALM platform which now allows seamless cross-platform development, including all kinds of mobile applications.

Update: This guide has been moved to github.

Follow to Scrum Day–Dallas 2015

I mentioned last January about Scrum Day in Dallas in March 27th. So the meeting happened and we have a few slide deck PDFs for your reference:

  • Keynote by Ken Schwaber: Scaled Scrum - Download
  • Practical Scaling - Download
  • The New New Product Owner – Download
  • Team Performance: The Impact of Clean Code & CD - Download

This last session was nice and typical of most trainers are also developers and highly technical, with emphasis on what Agile teams look for.

As for the Face to Face meetings, I will go over some of the content in another post.

Nexus: scale your Scrum efforts has been working for a while on expanding and bringing more structure to the original ideas on how to scale Scrum brought forth in the book Agile Project Management with Scrum. Now it has launched a Scaled Professional Scrum course and Scrum Practitioner Open Assessment.

The Scaled Professional Scrum course covers scaling agile concepts and Nexus in particular:  “Nexus™ Framework and approximately 40 practices which cause the Nexus and your scaling initiative to operate predictably.”

The Scrum Practitioner Open assessment complements the other many provides assessments and allows you to benchmark your ability to participate in a Scrum team, with focus on multiple teams engaged in a scaled development initiative.

Here is a nice interview with Ken Schwaber at InfoQ:

I will be coming back to this topic with in-depth analysis and how it compares with other frameworks. For the moment, let us just say congratulations to all who have contributed to the effort. Smile

Latest Gartner reports confirms Microsoft ALM Leadership

The latest Gartner report from February 2015 once more puts Microsoft in the leadership quadrant:


The report itself shows interesting trends on the ALM market as a whole, but has some limitations on that vision almost as contradiction after having changed from “ALM” to “ADLM” a couple years ago, especially when it acknowledges in the summary that “The push to speed up the pace of delivery is increasing the focus on agile and DevOps practices in application development life cycle management.”

Then it mentions DevOps when talking about IBM, Atlassian and Rally, but not Microsoft or VersionOne. This is puzzling because Microsoft, and maybe IBM are the only that actually have a vision for the operations side of ALM. The report in itself

It says for IBM and Rally:

IBM has a large, comprehensive suite of ADLM products covering the full life cycle, and a strong position in supporting DevOps practices.

Rally has a strong understanding of agile, DevOps and SAFe principles.

Both IBM and Microsoft bought 3rd party release management tools almost at the same time, and Microsoft has gone even further in integrating its Release Management tools with its VSO offering. If you take into account its Azure DevOps capabilities, it is the de facto leader. However this seems to have gone unnoticed.

Or maybe the report is based on an earlier version: the same quote on SAFe from the previous report remains unchanged, even though Microsoft released SAFe-ready process templates for TFS last September. The current one reads:

Microsoft lacks the agile depth of pure-play vendors around the enterprise agile capabilities of project portfolio analysis, and support of SAFe.

At any rate, all these half-baked references on DevOps point to it trying to be trendy while at the same time directly contradicting its own statement from 2013:

The application development life cycle management (ADLM) tool market is focused on the planning and governance activities of the software development life cycle (SDLC). ADLM products are focused on the "development" portion of an application's life, with the term ADLM evolving from the term application life cycle management (ALM).

And this is because more and more DevOps also includes managing the lifecycle of released applications, such as with HockeyApp. Can you separate the operations piece of ALM from DevOps and claim it is pure development? I figure Gartner might be renaming this report, again, pretty soon.

How to display the TFS burndown chart in full screen mode

I got this question from a user: Does anyone know how I can display the burn down chart in full screen mode? A scenario for this would be to show the burndown (with auto refresh, if possible) in a team area on a big screen TV.

The only way, out of the box, that I know to do this is indirectly using using Chrome:
- Click the chart. It will open as a pop-up window.
- Right click the chart image. Choose "Open Image in New Tab". Choose the new tab with the chart image.
- Press F11 to put the browser in full screen mode
- Use the browser zoom options to increase the size of the image
- Notice that the image is a URL to an API call, so you should be able to refresh it by pressing F5. I don't know how to easy way to auto refresh other than using some kind of Coded UI or Selenium script. Also look for "Auto refresh" in Chrome extensions.

If you know a better way, please send me an email and I will add it here.

TFS CTP shipped this week

The new TFS CTP is available for download here. Brian Harry highlighted its main points in his blog post. Exciting points are the new Agile work item tracking improvements, and Build.vNext, most of which I have been able to use for a while at VSO.

Check it out!

Next meeting of the Austin TFS Users Group: get ready for heavy weight TFS Process Template Customizations


Austin TFS Users Group

Friday, February 6, 2015 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM (CST)

Austin, TX

TFS Process Template Customizations


During this presentation you will learn about customizing the process configuration and work item templates for TFS 2013.

Process Configuration

Areas covered will be configuring a backlog page, map metastates, assign fields used in agile planning, specify weekend days, and changing the color of a work item type.

Work Item Template: Programmability

TFS work items do not allow scripting or code to run however there are dynamical capabilities such as rules, actions, and certain form controls that can be used to simplify or even automate activities in a work item. We will look closely at these capabilities and explore how they can be used.


George Altenbaugh

George is an ALM Architect/Project Manager/Scrum Master with 20 years of experience working with companies such as Deloitte Consulting, Trilogy/pcOrder, Coremetrics, and Dell. He has managed software development projects for state governments in California, Washington, Kentucky and Texas and companies such as Ingram Micro, Bay Networks, and Volvo. George helped Dell implement TFS as the complete ALM solution for the IT and product development groups. He combined the Scrum and CMMI TFS 2010 templates to model the Dell SDLC and then managed and implemented the TFS Process Template changes to keep abreast of Dell's dynamic development methodology.

George has a B.S. in Computer Science from Indiana University of Pa. and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. He is married to Kathy and has 3 beautiful daughters. In his spare time he is a Porsche Club driving instructor and is the President of the Northwest Pony Softball League.

Tim Pacl

Tim is an ALM Architect/TFS Administrator/Scrum Master currently working for Dell in Round Rock, Texas. He retired from the U. S. Navy in 1996 where he was a nuclear technician and supervisor aboard submarines, as well as a certified navy instructor and instructor trainer. He has been working in the computer industry since 1996 as a developer, build master, and ALM Architect for various companies including Dell, Microsoft, and his own consulting company. Tim holds multiple certifications including Master Training Specialist, Scrum Master, and Universal Refrigerant Technician. He is a member of the Austin TFS User Group leadership team and is a TechNet Guru. Tim has been married for over 30 years and has 4 adult children and 5 grandchildren. In his spare time he resolves issues for his TFS customers, plays with his grandkids, and occasionally sleeps.

The Ignite Conference sessions are out

Microsoft Ignite seems to be attracting a lot of attention from enterprise folks focused on Azure, Office, and now Skype for business.

Typical sessions (among 273 others) that caught my attention were the ones related to legal compliance in general. I had not yet seen so many interesting sessions on the topic all put together in one place. That’s the kind of topic that really differentiates a conference for the general public from something really targeted at enterprise customers. For instance:

Case Study: How Two Companies Do eDiscovery (Featuring Rogers Communication and Microsoft Legal)

From the horse's mouth: learn how the legal personnel from within Rogers Communication and Microsoft IT started using hold and eDiscovery instead of third party products, and hear best practices learned in real-world scenarios.

Going through a process of legal discovery is a nightmare situation for those who have ever lived it, and it would be interesting to see what technologies can do to make it easier. Microsoft is calling that “eDiscovery for Microsoft Office 365” and “in-Place eDiscovery”.

There are also about 53 sessions on the “Enterprise Developers” category, mostly dealing with Office 365, Skype, and Azure. However for me the crown jewels on this category are:

A Practical View of Release Management for Your DevOps Mindset

This session demos using Desired State Configuration (DSC) with Release Management for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 to tackle real-world deployment challenges. We start by presenting an overview of the key concepts, architecture, and configuration of the various components. We discuss the out-of-the box deployment actions available to compose automations for common deployment scenarios and how to use extensibility to cover the not-so-common scenarios. In more detail, we discuss adding custom DSC resources, how to trigger release as part of a build and how to leverage logs to diagnose failed releases. These are presented through specific scenarios encountered in the field.


Cross-Platform Continuous Delivery with Release Management to Embrace DevOps

​With Release Management for Microsoft Visual Studio you can achieve true continuous delivery on any platform. This session demos how to use Release Management for continuous delivery in cross-platform environments including Windows and Linux. We cover how to leverage Desired State Configuration (DSC) and ASP.NET core to create a release pipeline for both Windows and Linux.

I am also curious to see what will be of the Hackathon session:

DevOps Hackathon

The cloud-targeted app is failing in production. Competitive time to market advantage is at risk, the business is at an inflection point. "It worked fine in testing!" says the Development Team. "We had no visibility to production infrastructure needs until a week ago!" says the Operations Team. Does any of this sound familiar? Learn firsthand how to embrace a DevOps mindset, evolve your traditional ALM approach regarding people, process and tools, and help your business accelerate its journey to a cloud-first approach! Join us for the DevOps Hackathon @ Ignite where you will team up with fellow attendees from developer and operations roles to apply DevOps practices to a real world challenge. Small teams will be formed at the start of the [session].

I am not sure yet if I will be able to attend, but this if I am then this would be an interesting session to be.

In conclusion

Even if you might not be able to attend, just browsing over the session catalog for Ignite is already a learning experience of what is coming on the Microsoft pipeline.


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