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Team Foundation Server (TFS) at TechEd 2012

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Team Foundation Server (TFS) at TechEd 2012

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TechEd 2012: Day 3 – Morning TFS

My morning sessions for day three were dominated by Team Foundation Server.  This has been a hot topic for our clients lately, so this topic really stuck a chord.

The speaker for the first session was from Boeing.  It was nice to hear how how a company mixes both agile and waterfall project management.   The approaches that he presented were very pragmatic.  For their needs reporting is the crucial part of their decision to use TFS.  This was interesting since this is probably the last aspect that most shops would think about.

The challenge of getting users to adopt TFS was brought up by the audience.  As with the other discussion point he took a very level headed stance.  The approach he was prescribing was to eat the elephant a bite at a time instead of all at once.  If you try to convert you entire shop at once the culture shock will most likely kill the effort.

Another key point he reminded us of is that you need to make sure that standards and compliance are taken into account when you setup TFS.  If you don’t implement a tool and processes around it that comply with the standards bodies that govern your business you are in for a world of hurt.

Ultimately the reason they chose TFS was because it was the first tool that incorporated all the ALM features that they needed. Reduced licensing cost because of all the different tools they would need to buy to complete the same tasks.  They got to this point by doing an industry evaluation.  Although TFS came out on top he said that it still has a big gap is in the Java area.  Of course in this market there are vendors helping to close that gap.

The second session was on how continuous feedback in agile is a new focus in VS2012.  The problems they intended to address included cycle time and average time to repair, root cause analysis.

The speakers fired features at us as if they were firing a machine gun.  I will just say that I am looking forward to digging into the product after seeing this presentation.  Beyond that I will simply list some of the key features that caught my attention.

Feature –

  1. Ability to link documents into tasks as artifacts
  2. Web access portal
  3. PowerPoint storyboards
  4. Exploratory testing
  5. Request feedback (allows users to record notes, screen shots and video/audio)

See you after the second half.

TechEd 2012: Day 3 – Build Me A Solution

While digesting my lunch it was time to digest some TFS Build information. While much of my time is spent wearing my developer’s hat I am still a jack of all trades and automated builds are an important aspect of any project.  Because of this I was looking forward to finding out what new features are available in the latest release of Team Foundation Server.

The first feature that caught my attention is the TFS Admin Client.  After being used to dealing with NAnt in the past it is nice to see a build a configuration GUI that is so flexible and well thought out.  The bonus is that it the tools that are incorporated in Visual Studio 2012 are just as feature rich.  Life is good.

Since automated builds are the hub of your development process in a continuous integration shop I was really interested in the process related options. The biggest value add that I noticed was merge gated check-ins.  Merge or batch gated check-ins are an interesting concept.  If the build breaks with all the changes then TFS will run separate builds for each of the check-ins.  This ability to identify the actual offending check-in can save a lot of time and gray hair.

The safari of TFS Build that was this session was packed with attractions.  How do you set it up builds, what are the different flavors of builds, how does the system report how the build went?  I would suggest anyone who is responsible for build automation spend some serious time with TFS 2012 and VS2012.



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