Showing posts with label ALM. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ALM. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Visual Studio Online Gets Cheaper...

Brian Harry’s blog - More pricing and licensing changes coming

Earlier this year, we started a process of reviewing our pricing and licensing for Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online.  Our intent was to review all of the customer feedback we’ve received to look for changes that would simplify purchasing and make it more affordable for teams to include everyone in the broader organization who needs to interact with the development team.


Let’s look at the changes:

Release Management


So, we are changing it.  As of January 1st, 2015, you will no longer have to pay any per-processor (or any other per deployment environment) charge for Release Management.  ...

Test Execution


In response, we’re making two licensing changes that I believe will help with this greatly: ...

Cloud Load Testing

It didn’t take long after we released our cloud load test pricing for me to realize that we had gotten it wrong.  We originally priced it by...


So, we decided we needed a tiered model that would give good price breaks as load test usage got higher.

Our new pricing model for VS Online Cloud Load Testing is as follows: ...

So, in the scenario above, the customer would pay 20,000 * $0.00 + 1,980,000 * $0.0004 + 8,000,000 * $0.0002 + 71,000,000 * $0.0001 = $9,492 per month.  That’s $162,000/$9,492 = 17 times smaller.  ...

VS Online Build Service

We’ve gotten feedback on our build service pricing that it has a similar “scaling” problem as our load test pricing, though not nearly as big.  To make the build service more affordable for teams running many builds, we are introducing a tiered pricing model there as well.

The VS Online build service pricing will be: ...

Visual Studio Online Professional

One of the offerings for Visual Studio Online is Visual Studio Online Professional which combines a VS Online basic license with a monthly license to Visual Studio Professional.  Since its inception, we’ve had a 10 user limit on this product because it’s really designed for small teams (whereas MSDN subscriptions are the solution for larger teams).  However, after we got enough people asking for the 11th user, we realized that the complexity just wasn’t worth it and that 10 seemed pretty arbitrary.  As a result, we are eliminating the 10 user limit – though...


We are not done looking at pricing and licensing, of course.  We are continuing to look at feedback and look for opportunities to remove friction and simplify.  We always want to hear what you think and will do our best to make you happy.


When this was announced at MVP Summit and it was greeted with applause (and getting applause from the VS ALM MVP's is not an easy thing)...

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

TFS Word Add-In is now an OSS "Sample"

Willy's Reflections - Visual Studio ALM Rangers - Team Foundation Server Word Add-in goes OSS as a “sample”

We are pleased to announce that the release of Team Foundation Server Word Add-in as a sample solution, based on a prototype, not a production solution. Moving to OSS will allow the community to use it in their own ways


Team Foundation Server Word Add-in - Version 1.2 OSS Word 2013 TFS 2013

Release Notes

Welcome to the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Word Add-in
The Team Foundation Server Word Add-In is a sample solution, based on a prototype, not a production solution. Moving to OSS will allow the community to use it in their own ways.
Review these and other solutions, if you need a production Team Foundation Server and Microsoft Word integration:

Also bookmark Visual Studio ALM Community Widgets for community widgets and tools.

Source Code
This package contains the same code which was checked in to version control when we released the source code. This is the only and last download package for this project.

Supported Environments

  • Microsoft Office Word 2013 (32-bit, 64-bit)
  • Team Foundation Server 2013 Object Model



Given the commercial products that do what this Add-in does and more, and that it had kind of been languishing for a bit, I think it's pretty cool that the ALM Ranger Team bit the bullet and instead of just killing it, released it as OSS/Prototype/Sample/Example-ware. I did have to laugh at the emphasis on "as a sample solution, based on a prototype, not a production solution." That so sounds like some of the utilities/apps/etc I've released. :)

Look, if you don't want to pay for a solution (we'll leave it aside as to why is there a supported/free Excel Add-in for TFS and not one for Word... grumble... grumble) you now have this, with the source, so run with it...


Related Past Post XRef:
From TFS to Word and back again... AIT WordToTFS 2010 (Reg-ware)
“Team for Word” hooks Word to Team Foundation Server for free (source available too, GPLv2)
Access TFS from Word 2003...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Visual Studio Online RESTs, crosses the Pond and gets Hooked...

Visual Studio - European Datacenter & REST 1.0

European Datacenter

By popular demand, with today’s update, you can now create VS Online accounts in the Azure “West Europe” region, based in the Netherlands. You can get started by going to and creating a new account. The account creation page will auto detect the data center that’s nearest to you, or you can click the “change options” link to override the choice



Visual Studio Online REST API version 1.0 is here

In May, we announced the public preview of a new set of REST APIs for Visual Studio Online. Today, we are happy to announce that these APIs have graduated to 1.0 release status. This marks an important milestone in our journey to support easier integration between Visual Studio Online and other services, including your own custom tools and services.

The 1.0 designation means we have locked these APIs from any breaking changes going forward. As a developer, this means you can bind your app to the 1.0 API version and sleep well at night knowing future Visual Studio Online deployments won’t break your app.

Although the 1.0 set is locked from a breaking change standpoint, it is not locked from a feature standpoint. New APIs can be added to the 1.0 set and nonbreaking enhancements may even be introduced to APIs already released. A few existing preview APIs (like Git Pull Requests) remain in preview today, but will eventually graduate into the 1.0 set (this is mainly due to significant changes coming soon).

To learn more about how to use the APIs, check out Get started with the REST APIs.

To explore the available APIs, see the Visual Studio Online REST API Reference.

Developers with existing apps using the 1.0 preview APIs: you should start migrating to the release 1.0 APIs as soon as possible.


Service hooks is out of preview

I am also happy to announce that the service hooks features is out of preview and is a fully supported feature of Visual Studio Online. Service hooks let your app or service get notified instantly when an event happens in Visual Studio Online. With service hooks your app or service can avoid continuously polling to check for changes, such as completed builds, commits or check-ins, or work item changes.

Visual Studio Online supports 14 services out of the box, including ...

Not to be lost in the TechEd Europe news stream, VSO has rolled out two important updates, the REST API v1 and Service Hooks. I love me my official API's! :)

Thursday, October 09, 2014

"The ALM Rangers with Willy-Peter"

I've already tweeted about today's recording and posting of this RadioTFS session, yet it's easy to miss a tweet. While all of our shows are good (well we try at least) and all are fun to be part of, this one just seemed to come together and record smooth as silk. Everything really just clicked.

RadioTFS - 82 // The ALM Rangers with Willy-Peter


In this show special guest Willy-Peter Schaub joins us to talk about the ALM Rangers as well as helping us round up this weeks news and information.

Willy-Peter Schaub is a Senior Program Manager with the Visual Studio ALM Rangers at the Microsoft Canada Development Center. Since the mid-1980s, he’s been striving for simplicity and maintainability in software engineering. His blog is at, and you can also find him on Twitter @wpschaub.

Paul also joined us in between Code Camps. If you want to catch him in person then he’ll be at the following events over the coming weeks:


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

BKVM, to the cloud! "Creating training virtual machines in Azure" using the BKVM (VS 2013 HOL/ALM VM)

Naked ALM - Creating training virtual machines in Azure

I am teaching the Managing Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013 class next week in Cheltenham and for that I need 16 VM’s based on the Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 ALM Virtual Machine. To make life easier I will be creating training virtual machines in Azure.

If you have ever had to teach a training course, especially a technical one, it’s the equipment that is the most painful thing to configure. Azure has matured a lot over the last few years and although I have configured training in Amazon’s AWS service I wanted to go all Microsoft.

The kind of tough thing is that the virtual hard disk (VHD) used by the virtual demo machine form Brian Keller is 80GB. And yes, I have to upload that beast to Azure.

Uploading your Hyper-V virtual machine

The first task is to download and install the Azure PowerShell using the web platform installer. This will get all of the pre-requisites and install them for you.



While I've highlighted the BKVM (aka VS 2013 HOL/ALM VM ) a number of times (as you can see below), as well as Azuring it, but this post by Martin Hinshelwood is one of the most complete I think. Plus I think this is the first time I've seen it used this way, as an Azure training room. If you are thinking about using the BKVM on Azure (or other VM's) you owe it to yourself to check out this book (I mean post... ;)


Related Past Post XRef:
VS 2013 HOL/ALM VM now with Update 3 (VS 2013.3)

24! [Hands-on-Labs and Demo Scripts now available in the big BK Visual Studio 2013 ALM VM] + [Bonus: Azure'ing it too...]
Happy VM Day! The Visual Studio 2013 RTM ALM Virtual Machine is now available
The HOL "Building a Release Pipeline with Team Foundation Server 2012" thing
Featuring Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with TFS2013 in these Hands On Labs
Visual Studio 2013 ALM and HOL VM now available...
VS2012 Update 1 ALM VM and HOL / Demo Scripts now available
The VS 2012 ALM Virtual Machine and VS 2012 Update 1 (In short, there's an updated VM coming, don't install it on this VM if you don't have too)
The big BK has updated the Visual Studio 2012 RC ALM Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs
VS 11 ALM DemoMates updated for the Beta
Visual Studio/TFS11 ALM Demo's... Mate! See the VS/TFS 11 ALM's hands-on-labs in DemoMate form
Visual Studio 11 ALM VHD's, VirtualBoxed (and even on x86 hosts too)
Want to play with Visual Studio 11 & TFS 11 Dev Preview but don't want to install it (and have access to a Hyper-V server)? Here's a VHD just for

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Team Foundation Server "Work Item Web Access" is getting a work over (i.e. your users can access more of TFS free soon'ish)

Brian Harry’s blog - Upcoming VS Online Licensing Changes

...We’ve been working closely with customers to understand where the friction is and what we can do to make adopting VS Online as easy as possible.  This is a continuing process and includes discussions about product functionality, compliance and privacy, pricing and licensing, etc.  This is a journey and we’ll keep taking feedback and adjusting.

Today I want to talk about one set of adjustments that we want to make to licensing.

As we ended the early adopter period, we got a lot of questions from customers about how to apply the licensing to their situation.  We also watched as people assigned licenses to their users: What kind of licenses did they choose?  How many people did they choose to remove from their account?  Etc.

From all of this learning, we’ve decided to roll out 2 licensing changes in the next couple of months:


A common question we saw was “What do I do with all of the stakeholders in my organization?”  While the early adopter program was in effect and all users were free, customers were liberal with adding people to their account.  People who just wanted to track progress or file a bug or a suggestion occasionally, were included.  As the early adopter period ended, customers had to decide – Is this really worth $20/user/month (minus appropriate Azure discounts)?  The result was that many of these “stakeholders” were removed from the VS Online accounts in the transition, just adding more friction for the development teams.

As a result of all this feedback we proposed a new “Stakeholder” license for VS Online.  Based on the scenarios we wanted to address, we designed a set of features that matched the needs most customers have.  These include:

    • Full read/write/create on all work items
    • Create, run and save (to “My Queries”) work item queries
    • View project and team home pages
    • Access to the backlog, including add and update (but no ability to reprioritize the work)
    • Ability to receive work item alerts

Some of the explicitly excluded items are:


As a result, any VS Online  account will be able to have an unlimited number of “Stakeholder” users with access to the functionality listed above, at no charge.

Access to the Test Hub

Another point of friction that emerged in the transition was access to the Test hub.  ...

Because of this, we’ve decided to include access to all of the Test hub functionality in the Visual Studio Online Advanced plan.


What about Team Foundation Server?

In general, our goal is to keep the licensing for VS Online and Team Foundation Server as “parallel” as we can – to limit how confusing it could be.  As a result, we will be evolving the current “Work Item Web Access” TFS CAL exemption (currently known as “Limited” users in TFS) to match the “Stakeholder” capabilities.  That will result in significantly more functionality available to TFS users without CALs.  My hope is to get that change made for Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 4.  It’s too early yet to be sure that’s going to be possible but I’m hopeful.  We do not, currently, plan to provide an alternate license for the Test Hub functionality in TFS, though it’s certainly something we’re looking at and may have a solution in a future TFS version.


In short, Nice! This will greatly increase the value of on-prem TFS and the number of usage and scope of communication. Not bad for free... :)


Related Past Post XRef:
TFS Work Item Web Access (WIWA) Released as part of VSTS Web Access 2008 SP1
Work Item Web Access (WIWA) CTP (fka Codename TFS Bug Submission Portal)
Coming soon to TFS Power Tool near you - Codename TFS Bug Submission Portal
Team System Web Access 2008 Available for Download
Team System Web Access Power Tool Now Available (Think TeamPlain v2.0 but with added Microsoft Sauce)
Visual Studio Team System Web Access (formally known as TeamPlain Web Access) now Free

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Visual Studio "14" CTP 2 is now available. There's many more CTP's coming, ALL CAPS are not, no TFS "14" CTP's, don't side-by-side this CTP and more...

Brian Harry has the quote of the day for this release...

Brian Harry’s blog - Visual Studio “14” CTP 2 Available

I’m not going to make too big a deal about this because there’s going to be tons of them between now and when VS “14” ships.  But we shipped another CTP today and you can learn more about it here:

We’re continuing the practice of making Azure VM templates available to make it really easy to try out the CTPs....


For reasons I explained in my last post on the subject, we are not releasing TFS “14” CTPs at this time and, quite honestly, won’t for a while.  We will start releasing CTPs of TFS well before the release but there’s just not a good enough cost benefit analysis to it right now.  You can see the majority of the work we are doing on VS Online as we do it.

The Visual Studio Blog - Visual Studio “14” CTP 2 Available

Today we released CTP 2 of Visual Studio “14”, which is the codename for the next version of Visual Studio. To get started, you can download the bits (also available on MSDN subscriber downloads), or use the VM in Azure we’re making available (see the note below). In addition to the new features we added in CTP 1, this CTP also includes:

  • Save and Apply Custom IDE Layouts. You can now save and apply custom layouts for tool windows in the IDE. The Save Window Layout and Apply Window Layout commands are under the Window Menu and you can also rename, reorder, and delete layouts from Manage Window Layouts.
  • Light Bulb Editor Adornment. Light Bulbs are an extensible editor adornment to identify and help you fix issues in your code. To use them, place the caret on a line with an issue or hover over an issue and you’ll see a light bulb that lists actions you can take to resolve the problem and even a preview of proposed solutions.
  • Editor Touch Support. The Visual Studio Editor now supports touch gestures for scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, tap-and-hold for context menus, double-tap for word selection, and line selection by tapping in the margin.
  • VC++ Property Pages and Editor Enhancements. We updated the Configuration and Platform dropdown values for VC++ Property Page dialog to remember the last user selection when the dialog is closed. We also added Move Function Definition (move the body of a function definition to source or header/in-class definition) and Implement Pure Virtuals (quickly create definitions for a class that inherits constructs ([abstract] class, struct, etc.) containing pure virtuals). We also updated Create Declaration/Definition to include Code Peek and improved Find in Files to enable subsequent results to be appended to previous results ("append mode"). Checkout the VC Blog for details on these enhancements.
  • ALL CAPS. Last week with the RC for Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 we added an option to sentence case menus; in this VS “14” CTP we changed Menu Bar styling to Title Case for everyone to help us get feedback on the change. We’ll use the feedback we get to help determine if we keep it as it is in this preview, make it an option under the Tools/Options menu, or take some other path.


Visual Studio "14" CTP release notes



  • CTPs are English only.
  • CTPs are unsupported and are intended to be used for testing, trial, and feedback purposes only.
  • CTPs have not been subject to final validation. They are not meant to be run on production workstations or servers, or used to create production code. Installing a CTP on a production server will put the server in an unsupported state.
  • Although these CTPs are intended to be installed side-by-side with earlier versions of Visual Studio, complete compatibility on every CTP is not guaranteed.


    Visual Studio "14" CTP 2 (version 14.0.21901.1.DP) details
    Technology improvements

    The following technology improvements have been made in this release.
    ASP.NET and web development

    • ASP.NET vNext: This release of Visual Studio supports creating and developing ASP.NET vNext applications. ASP.NET vNext is a lean and composable .NET stack for building modern web applications for both cloud and on-premises servers. It includes the following features:
      • ASP.NET MVC and Web API have been unified into a single programming model.
      • A no-compile developer experience.
      • Environment-based configuration for a seamless transition to the cloud.
      • Dependency injection out-of-the-box.
      • New cloud-optimized runtime supports true side-by-side versioning. 
      • NuGet everything, even the runtime itself.
      • Run in IIS, or self-hosted in your own process.
      • All open source through the .NET Foundation


        , and takes contributions.

      For more information about ASP.NET vNext in Visual Studio, go to the ASP.NET vNext



    • This release of Visual Studio also includes all the current ASP.NET and web development features that are released as parts of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2. Learn more here



    Visual C++

    • Find in Files has been updated to enable subsequent results to be added to previous results ("append mode"). Results can now also be edited or deleted.
    • Implement Pure Virtuals enables a user to quickly create definitions for a class that inherits constructs (such as abstract class, struct) containing pure virtuals. Both multiple and recursive inheritances are supported. Activate the feature through right-clicking a class definition (implement all pure virtuals) or an inherited base construct (implement pure virtuals in that base only). Double-slash comments (//) are used to delimit groups of functions implemented from individual bases.
    • Move Function Definition enables a user to move the body of a function definition to source or header/in-class definition. It must be activated through the right-click context menu on a function's signature.

    Visual Studio IDE

    • Menu Bars will show in Title Case style instead of All Caps style.
    • Support for touch in the Visual Studio Editor is now available. This includes touch for scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, tap-and-hold for context menus, double-tap for word selection, and line selection by tapping in the margin. 
    • The Configuration and Platform dropdown values for the VC Property Page dialog have been changed to remember the last user selection when closed and reopened. 
    • Users can save custom layouts by clicking Save Window Layout from the Window menu. Users can apply a custom layout by clicking Apply Window Layout from the Window menu, and users can delete, rename, or reorder layouts by clicking Manage Window Layout from the Window menu. The first nine layouts also have keyboard shortcuts from Ctrl+Alt+1 to Ctrl+Alt+9.
    • In this CTP, we are rounding out Light Bulbs that are the quick and easy way to obtain helpful fixes for known issues in your code inside the Visual Studio Editor. If you have an issue in your code, placing your editor caret on the line where the issue is shown or hovering over the issue will present a light bulb that shows helpful actions you can take to resolve the problem together with a preview of the results of each action. 
      This feature is publicly extensible, so Visual Studio extenders can provide their own suggested actions.
    • After you apply this CTP, you can create an empty C# and JavaScript shared project from the File > New Project menu. Phone Projects, Store Projects, and Universal Projects that are written in JavaScript and C# can consume one or many of these shared projects. Shared project references can be managed (added or removed) by using the Reference Manager. Shared Project referencing is also available for some classic desktop C# projects. The project types and languages that support Shared Projects will continue to expand in future CTPs.
    • In this CTP, Visual Studio now supports high-resolution icons in the Error List.
    Known issues
    Installing Visual Studio "14" CTP side-by-side with Visual Studio 2013
    • There are known issues when you install Visual Studio "14" CTP 14.0.21901.1 DP on the same computer as Visual Studio 2013. While we expect that an uninstallation of Visual Studio "14" and then a repair of Visual Studio 2013 should fix these issues, our safest recommendation is to install Visual Studio "14" in a virtual machine, a virtual hard disk (VHD), a fresh computer, or another non-production test-only computer that does not have Visual Studio 2013 on it. These Visual Studio side-by-side issues are expected to be fixed soon.

    Client Platform

    • Uninstalling Visual Studio "14" CTP removes TypeScript from Visual Studio 2013.


    • Because of a known issue, when you install Visual Studio "14" CTP 14.0.21901.1 DP on the same computer that has Visual Studio "14" CTP 14.0.21730.1 DP installed, your Windows Store projects may fail to launch. 
      To work around this issue, repair the installation of Visual Studio "14" CTP 14.0.21901.1 DP after the upgrade. To avoid this issue, our safest recommendation is to uninstall Visual Studio "14" CTP 14.0.21730.1 DP before you install the new CTP version. This build-to-build upgrade issue has been fixed for future upgrades from Visual Studio "14" 14.0.21901.1 DP.

    Visual C++

    • The native "Memory Usage" tool does not work when targeting Win32 (x86).  Targeting x64 works as expected.


    In short, it's a CTP. Don't install it on a production box. Use the Azure VM!

    Monday, June 02, 2014

    ALM Ranger Version Control (fka Branching and Merging) Guide v3 now out (in three parts, "Branching Strategies", "Team Foundation Version Control", "Dependency Management with NuGet")

    Willy's Reflections - Version Control Guidance v3.0 flight has landed delivering three great guides and lots of visuals

    We are pleased to announce that the v3.0 of the Version Control (ex Branching and Merging) Guide has shipped, after Bill Heys completed the intensive copy-editing.

    what’s new?

    Third version of this blockbuster guidance has been split into separate topics as summarized below, allowing you to pick the “world” (guide) you are interested in. This release delivers a new crisper, more compact style, which is easier to consume on multiple devices without sacrificing any content. The content is updated and aligns with the latest Visual Studio technologies and incorporates feedback from the readers of the previous guidance.


    Branching Strategies
    Practical guidance on a number of (not all) common Branching Strategies and usage thereof.

    • Branching concepts
    • Branching strategies
    • Walkthroughs

    Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC)
    Practical guidance on how to use Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) features.

    • Workspaces
    • Merging
    • New features, i.e. Code Lens
    • Walkthroughs

    Dependency Management with NuGet
    Practical guidance on dependency management, using NuGet with Visual Studio.

    • Managing shared resources
    • Dependency management
    • Walkthroughs


    lots of visuals!

    All illustrations used in the guidance and the quick reference posters are included in the ZIP package. Re-use the images in your presentations, documentation, etc.


    what’s cooking?

    • The Git for TFVC user guide is still under development and not included in v3.0.

    ... [Click through for the download link]

    Must have resource for anyone serious about TFS... (or NuGet or branching source in general...)


    Related Past Post XRef:
    Branching and Merging Guide v2 for Visual Studio 2012 RTM has RTW'd
    Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Branching and Merging Guide, v2 [Beta] for Visual Studio 11 released

    Visual Studio TFS Branching Guide 2010, aka Team Foundation Server Branching Guide III, released (by guess who? Yep,the ALM Rangers…)
    Team Foundation Server Branching Guidance v2 Released
    Branching Guidance on CodePlex

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Now this is a post title, "Teaching Relative Estimation by Throwing a Cat"

    Scrum Alliance - Teaching Relative Estimation by Throwing a Cat

    A quick and fun exercise that will help you teach relative estimation

    I'm a big fan of relative measurements in software development. However, when teaching this idea, I've noticed that many developers who are used to estimating work in hours or days find it difficult to switch to using story points as the relative measurement of complexity. Many times I've heard comments like, "We use story points -- and one point is eight hours."

    Old habits die hard
    It's always challenging to learn a new habit and break an old one. Therefore I was constantly looking for a good exercise for my Scrum training that would let people compare work items without calculating effort. The ideal solution should be quick, usable with Planning Poker, and -- most important -- fun.
    Hans Solo's Millennium Falcon and Mike Cohn's dog and zoo points


    Throwing the cat -- what you should expect?

    Things always get most interesting when you end your list with the cat from the title of this article. (If you have an avid cat lover in your audience, you might opt for a squirrel instead.)  ...


    You might be wondering why we don't estimate how far you can throw objects. The reason is twofold. First of all, distance describes an effect -- the business value of throwing, not the complexity. And second, it's one-dimensional, so people can switch back to the unit measurement, where one point equals one meter.

    Now when a family member asks how your day was, you can say, "We had a heated discussion at the office about throwing a cat!" Be sure to have fun -- and if you've enjoyed this exercise, let me know!


    Really, I just loved the post title.. :)

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    How does Microsoft scale Agile? Here's how, all in a very cool looking webzine

    Visual Studio - Engineering Stories 


    Welcome to our new Engineering Stories site. This is a place for us to share how we build software at Microsoft. Today, we're releasing our first story describing how we adopted and scaled agile practices across Developer Division. It's a story describing our journey towards a faster release cadence, a more engaging engineering process, and, in the end... a better product. I hope you find these stories useful and engaging. Our goal is to share where we've found success, and also where we've struggled. Let us know what you think.


    Scaling Agile Across the Enterprise

    A little history

    You might remember how we made software a decade ago – "we" being the entire software industry, Microsoft included. By today's standards, slow ... as ... molasses.

    We released products on two to three year cycles. It wasn't unheard of to spend six months to a year planning, a year or more coding, and then months packaging everything up for delivery. It worked in the software generation in which it was born, but today's environment requires a different approach. Today we buy software daily—often with just the touch of a finger on the device we're carrying with us. Market opportunities come and go more quickly, and customers demand increasingly faster turnaround to meet their needs.



    I heard about the Microsoft DevDiv move toward agile at the 2012 Build and thought it could dramatically change the way we see software coming out Microsoft (or be a total bust). I can't say if it was indeed this move, but even the biggest hater has to admit, the software release cadence we're now seeing it nothing less than amazing, compared to just 5, heck 3, years ago. And the scary, in a good way, is that it looks like its speeding up!

    Cool Round-up of the Day: Rob's "Top 10 Microsoft Developer Links for Monday, May 12, 2014"

    Rob Caron - Top 10 Microsoft Developer Links for Monday, May 12, 2014


    I think Rob's got the round-up cowboy title for the day... The only thing he's missing is the Azure stuff, more on the ASP.NET vNext story and the Office 365 API drop. But then again, he's trying to filter it down to 10, so I guess I can cut him a little slack... :)

    Thursday, May 08, 2014

    The story of TFS - Pieter Gheysens' "The evolution of ALM/TFS" now in PDF form.

    Into ALM with TFS - The evolution of ALM/TFS – pdf available for download

    A few weeks ago, I started with publishing different parts of an article on the evolution of Application Lifecycle Management.

    Part I: Introduction

    Part II: Diving into the basics of ALM and how did Microsoft start with an ALM solution?

    Part III: Heterogeneous Software Development

    Part IV: A fully integrated testing experience with TFS 2010

    Part V: TFS 2012 and Continuous Value Delivery

    Part VI: TFS 2013 and Visual Studio Online

    Part VII: Conclusion

    You can now also download the full article in pdf-format [Click through for the PDF link] (25 pages in total – 2MB). [GD: Post leached in full]


    Being a host of RadioTFS and long time TFS guy (yes, I've been installing and using it since v1, VSTS 2005) it amazes me just how far this product line has come and that the improvement pace isn't just not slowing down, but is going faster!

    I wonder if a new chapter is going to be written (announced, whatever) next week at TechEd North America 2014? We got the 2013 surprise last year, wonder about this year? Guess we'll see soon enough...

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    [Limited Time] The TFS 2013.2 RC upgrade weekend is coming, Friday February 28th and Saturday March 1st...

    Team Foundation Server, SharePoint Server, .NET, and SQL Server - Get Ready for TFS 2013.2 (Update 2) RC Upgrade Weekend


    Are you excited about Team Foundation Server 2013.2 (Update 2) RC?

    Are you comfortable running pre-release software in production?

    If so, you might want to consider scheduling your TFS upgrade for Friday February 28th and Saturday March 1st. During those days, Microsoft experts will be standing by to help support you in the event that you have questions or something goes wrong.

    If you’re interested in taking advantage of the Upgrade Weekend, please visit to complete a brief registration survey. This survey will remain open until February 26th, 2014. Please contact if you have any questions about this offer.

    Here are some reasons to consider upgrading to Team Foundation Server 2013.2 (Update 2) RC:

    • Work Item Tagging
      • Query on tags – You can now write and save work item queries containing tag clauses.
      • Tags in VS – Previously tags could only be assigned/used within the TFS web UI.
      • Tag permission – Now you can control, with a permission, who can create new tags.
      • Edit Tags in Excel – Now when you are managing a list of work items in Excel, you can include the tags column, edit it and publish the tags changes back to TFS.
    • Backlog Management
      • Perf improvements – Navigating between the backlog, sprints, etc is MUCH faster.
      • Non-working days – You  can define you’re non-working days (weekends, for most of us) and we’ll exclude them from the burn down calculation.
      • Configurable start date for cumulative flow diagram – Now you can define what date to start the diagram.
    • Charting
      • Pin charts to project home page – You can now pin a chart to your project homepage so everyone can see it when they visit your project.
      • Customize chart colors – Maybe not a huge deal but very nice.  Now you can select what colors you want to use in your charts.
    • Export Test Plan to HTML
      • You can now export your test plan to HTML for offline reading/sharing, printing, etc.  You can choose the level of detail you want to include in the document.
    • Release Management
      • We added a new concept of “Tags” that enables you to tag deployment targets.  Tags can be used to treat a set of machines the same.
    • Git Improvements
      • Annotate – The annotate (aka blame) feature in Visual Studio has been updated to support Git.
      • Amend – You can now update your most recent local commit from within VS just like the “git amend” command line allows.
      • Push to multiple remotes – Team Explorer now recognizes multiple Git repos and allow you to select which remote you want to push to/pull from.
      • Revert a commit – You can now easy “rollback” a commit in the event you checked in something that you’ve decided that you really don’t want.
      • Progress with cancellation –You now have the ability to cancel long running Git operations.
    • And of course, bragging rights for being on the newest version of Team Foundation Server!

    ..." [GD: Post Leached almost in full]

    That last upgrade weekend seemed to good well, so I heard and read, well enough it looks like that they are going to have another! If you're a cutting edge kind of TFS shop, there's little better deal than taking part in this upgrade weekend. You'll get personal help, support and advice... free!

    NOTE! It looks like you don't even have to already be on TFS 2013 RTM!

    Here's a snap from the survey;


    Also I guess that makes it pretty clear that we're going to be getting the 2013.2 RC about than too... :)


    Related Past Post XRef:
    [Limited time offer, open unit Sept 6th!] You know you can use TFS 2013 in production, right? But pre-release stuff is scary? How about if there were some Microsoft Experts on standby to help you upgrade? Sign up now for the Team Foundation Server 2013 Upgrade Weekend, September 13-15

    Thursday, February 06, 2014

    "Grumpy, Descartes, Mr. Bighead, and Mr. Blasé" and your move to Agile...

    Scrum Alliance - Grumpy, Descartes, Mr. Bighead, and Mr. Blasé

    Anybody who has had to direct any form of change in an organization must have come to realize how it is about people. This has been recognized for a long time and documented extensively (see

    In particular, there always seem to be some people who will resist and make it difficult.

    In a report about the Agile transition at Yahoo!, Gabrielle Benefield writes, "Not everyone is willing or able to change." She also states that "10 to 15 percent of people will not like the status quo at any given time" (see "Rolling out Agile in a Large Enterprise"). And I think I can confirm this statement from my own personal experience.

    So lately I've been wondering: Is there a typical profile for those people who have a hard time transitioning to Agile? Are they always the same from one organization to another? Is there a magic formula to spot them right away?

    After some time trying to describe the typical profile, I recognized not one but four distinct profiles. Here's how to recognize them, and some tips to help get them on board with Agile.



    Which one of these guys are you?

    None, right! But you've worked with some I bet. This article has a some good tips on how to help handle them in your move to Agile...

    Thursday, January 09, 2014

    24! [Hands-on-Labs and Demo Scripts now available in the big BK Visual Studio 2013 ALM VM] + [Bonus: Azure'ing it too...]

    Brian Keller - Visual Studio 2010/2012 Hands-On-Labs / Demo Scripts Upgraded to 2013

    The Visual Studio 2013 ALM Virtual Machine was upgraded today to include the sample content and hands-on-labs / demo scripts which were previously introduced for Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 capabilities. This brings the total number of hands-on-labs and demo scripts which work with this VM to 24.

    We also used this opportunity to address some fit-and-finish feedback we received on the initial release of the 2013 ALM VM, so it should be a nice improvement all around. As a reminder you can find the full list of ALM virtual machines here.

    Brian Keller - Visual Studio 2013 Application Lifecycle Management Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs / Demo Scripts

    Updated January 9, 2014: The VM was upgraded to include all applicable Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 hands-on-labs / demo scripts. This brings the total number of hands-on-labs / demo scripts you can run with this virtual machine to 24.


    The Visual Studio 2013 RTM ALM Virtual Machine is available for download along with 24 hands-on-labs / demo scripts which introduce you to many of the ALM capabilities which have been included in this release.

    You can download and install Visual Studio 2013 (including Team Foundation Server 2013, .NET Framework 4.5.1, etc.). But if you would like a faster way to understand what is new for application lifecycle management in this release, this virtual machine is pre-configured with all of the necessary software and sample data for you.


    Labs upgraded from Visual Studio 2010/2012: NEW



    Hosting the VS 2013 ALM VM in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine

    I am recommending the use of a Windows Azure Virtual Network for this exercise so the virtual machine does not have any ports open to the internet (public facing).  If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding the steps in the article feel free to leave a comment.

    Steps we’ll be performing in this article:

    • Download the VS 2013 ALM Virtual Machine (.rar)
    • Extract the files for the VS 2013 ALM Virtual Machine
    • Download and install the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets
    • Create a Windows Azure Storage Container
    • Create a Windows Azure Virtual Network with Point-to-Site Connectivity
    • Upload the .VHD to Azure Storage
    • Configure a disk  so the .VHD can be used by a Virtual Machine
    • Create and configure the Virtual Machine
    • Complete the configuration of the Virtual Network and connect to the VPN

    First you should head over to Brian Keller’s great blog post and follow the instructions to get the files.  If you don’t have a fast and reliable internet connection you may want to wait and build a 2nd virtual machine on the virtual network that I am configuring as part of this post to download the files and upload the .vhd to your Azure storage.  I tried it this past weekend on my internet service (provided by cable) and the upload took just over 17 hours, if you do this from within a Virtual Machine in Azure the entire process (calculate MD5 Hash and Upload) takes about 2.5 hours.


    The only way this might be better is if this VM were in the Azure Gallery, but until then, this is one of the coolest ways to check out all that is VS 2013, with sample data, demos, labs, etc. If you're a trainer, presenter or just want to see just about everything that is TFS ALM, this VM is a must download...


    Related Past Post XRef:
    Happy VM Day! The Visual Studio 2013 RTM ALM Virtual Machine is now available
    The HOL "Building a Release Pipeline with Team Foundation Server 2012" thing
    Featuring Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with TFS2013 in these Hands On Labs
    Visual Studio 2013 ALM and HOL VM now available...
    VS2012 Update 1 ALM VM and HOL / Demo Scripts now available
    The VS 2012 ALM Virtual Machine and VS 2012 Update 1 (In short, there's an updated VM coming, don't install it on this VM if you don't have too)
    The big BK has updated the Visual Studio 2012 RC ALM Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs
    VS 11 ALM DemoMates updated for the Beta
    Visual Studio/TFS11 ALM Demo's... Mate! See the VS/TFS 11 ALM's hands-on-labs in DemoMate form
    Visual Studio 11 ALM VHD's, VirtualBoxed (and even on x86 hosts too)
    Want to play with Visual Studio 11 & TFS 11 Dev Preview but don't want to install it (and have access to a Hyper-V server)? Here's a VHD just for

    Monday, December 16, 2013

    Team Foundation Server 2013 Collaboration Provider for Skype Released...

    Team Foundation Server Collaboration Providers

    Enable support for 3rd party instant messenger clients on the TFS Power Tools 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013


     Skype Version 4.0

    Release Notes

    Tested Skype versions
    - Skype

    Supported features:
    - sending Instant Messages to team members
    - making calls with team members
    - making video call with team members
    - showing status and avatar of team members in team member hub (Team Explorer)

    - support for group chats/calls was removed in 2012/2013 power tools release

    Know issues / Issues / FAQ
    For other issues / common questions consider

    Supported Power Tools Version
    TFS Power Tools 2013

    Cool tool, with source, that shows how you can extended Team Explorer, adding communication providers. That said, given the upcoming Skype COM'pocalypse I have to wonder at the long term viability of this...


    Related Past Post XRef:
    TFS 2012 Power Tools to the People! (plus MSSCCI Provider & Build Extensions too)
    Extending the Team Members feature in the VSTS 2008 TFS Power Tools October 2008 Release. For example, adding Skype support…
    VSTS 2008 TFS Power Tools - October 2008 (aka 2.3) Released – Manage Source Files via Windows Shell/Explorer extension, new PowerShell extensions and Team Members tool

    TFS Administration Tool 2.3 (aka 2013 Version) Now Available

    Grant Holliday’s blog - TFS Administration Tool 2.3 (2013) Released

    As I did after the last major TFS release, the TFS Administration Tool has been updated to depend upon the TFS 2013 Object Model. You no-longer need Team Explorer 2012 installed to use the tool. It can be installed on machines running either the stand-alone object model (, TFS 2013 or Visual Studio 2013.

    This release supports SharePoint groups/roles, thanks to a community contribution. There are no other major functional changed between the release and the previous (2.2) release.

    Currently, the MSI in the downloaded ZIP file is flagged by Windows SmartScreen as “unsafe” – based upon the experience of the last release, in about a week, it will build enough “reputation” to be considered safe.


    Team Foundation Server Administration Tool

    The TFS Administration Tool allows Team Foundation Server administrators to manage user permissions on all three platforms utilized by Team Foundation Server:

    1. Team Foundation Server,
    2. SharePoint, and
    3. SQL Server Reporting Services.
    The tool also allows administrators to easily copy user permissions among team projects and to easily identify any missing permissions on any of the three platforms.

    December 16, 2013-TFS Administration Tool 2.3 released
    We are pleased to announce that the TFS Administration Tool 2.3 has been updated to the Team Foundation Server 2013 object model and it can be installed on machines running either the stand-alone object model or Visual Studio 2013.

    This release supports SharePoint groups/roles. There are no other major functional changed between the release and the previous (2.2) release.

    It is not required to uninstall the previous (2.2) release. Installing this release will update the shortcut to the latest version.

    Please download TFS Administration Tool 2.3, and let us know what you think about the tool. In case you run into a bug please open an issue and include either the contents of the "Output" window as an attachment or the contents of the log file saved in the "Logs" folder so that our team can easily reproduce and investigate the problem. Please feel free to remove the confidential information like user accounts, or server names.

    Download TFS Administration Tool 2.3


    I've found this a must have tool for any TFS Admin...


    Related Past Post XRef:
    Team Foundation Server Administration tool v2.1 Released (Think “TFS2010 version”)
    TFS Administration Tool - Having a problem installing v1.3 after having upgraded to TFS2008? Here's your ticket to v1.2 freedom...
    Team Foundation Server Administration Tool 1.3 Released (with TFS2008 Support)
    TFS Administration Tool 1.2 Released
    TFS Permission Manager 1.5 Released
    TFS Permission and Administration Tools
    TFS Administration Tool

    Wednesday, December 04, 2013

    The TFS Upgrade Guide gets... well... upgraded. v3, the TFS 2013 Upgrade Edition

    Willy's Reflections - TFS Upgrade Guide comes out of silent BETA release and ships v3 for TFS 2013

    We are please to announce the release of TFS Upgrade Guide, v3 for practical guidance for an upgrade to TFS 2013.

    This guide is intended as a supplement to the Upgrade information found in the Team Foundation Server Installation and Administration guides. It is recommended to begin with the Team Foundation Server Installation and Administration Guide ( before using this guide. This guide covers scenarios which may be encountered during and after the upgrade process and provides examples of most common and potential issues.


    TFS Upgrade Guide - v3 - TFS 2013 Upgrade Guide


    Welcome to the Team Foundation Server Upgrade Guide where we, the ALM Rangers, will take you on a guided journey through practical and scenario-based guidance for upgrading your existing Team Foundation Server (TFS) infrastructure to TFS 2013, walking through some of the common scenarios encountered during the upgrade process.

    NOTE The guidance is based on Visual Studio TFS 2013 and should be used in conjunction with documentation that accompanies the product and is available on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) at

    Intended audience
    We expect the majority of our audience personas to be Dave – TFS Server Administrator, Jane – Infrastructure specialist, Garry – Development Lead and Paul – Database Administrator. See ALM Rangers Personas and Customer Types1 for more information on these and other personas.

    The guide assumes a good knowledge of the TFS and an operational administration mindset – in other words, intermediate to advanced TFS Administrators.

    What you’ll need
    The following prerequisites are needed and referenced in this guide as ‘supported editions’:
     TFS 2010 and 2012 as existing environment
     TFS 2013 as target environment


    No more excuses... time to upgrade or at least seriously consider it... come on, it shouldn't be that hard, right? At least, not if you have this guide in hand [Note to self: Walk the walk... sigh... must upgrade mine soon]

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Happy VM Day! The Visual Studio 2013 RTM ALM Virtual Machine is now available

    Brian Keller just shot me this email and I thought it important to blog about is ASAP (so you have a chance to download the VM's while on a faster work network... ;)

    Just in time for Thanksgiving, I’m pleased to announce that the Visual Studio 2013 RTM ALM Virtual Machine is now available!

    This virtual machine replaces the previous Visual Studio 2013 ALM virtual machine which was based on Preview bits. This is a publicly downloadable set of content, so you may feel free to share this with your customers, partners, etc. It’s designed to be both a tool for demonstrating our ALM story and as a self-paced training environment for learning how to use our ALM tools.


    This virtual machine is configured with:

    · Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Standard Evaluation

    · Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2013

    · Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013

    · Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook)

    · Microsoft Visio Professional 2013

    · Microsoft Release Management for Visual Studio 2013

    · Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Standard

    · Sample users and data required to support hands-on-lab scripts which accompany this download and exercise 4 new ALM scenarios.

    Public URL:

    More ALM virtual machines and hands-on-labs / demo scripts (including VS 2012, Project Server/TFS, and SCOM/TFS) can be found at

    What’s next? In the next sprint we will be working on the following:

    • Porting the hands-on-labs, demo scripts, and sample data from the VS 2012 ALM virtual machine to work with the Visual Studio 2013 ALM virtual machine.
    • Building a set of assets and scripts to enable the Microsoft field to effectively learn and demonstrate Application Insights.


    Brian Keller
    Principal Technical Evangelist
    Visual Studio ALM
    ALM 2012 Book: Professional ALM with Visual Studio 2012
    TFS 2012 Book: Professional Team Foundation Server 2012
    Visual Studio ALM Demos / hands-on-labs

    Related Past Post XRef:
    The HOL "Building a Release Pipeline with Team Foundation Server 2012" thing
    Featuring Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with TFS2013 in these Hands On Labs
    Visual Studio 2013 ALM and HOL VM now available...
    VS2012 Update 1 ALM VM and HOL / Demo Scripts now available
    The VS 2012 ALM Virtual Machine and VS 2012 Update 1 (In short, there's an updated VM coming, don't install it on this VM if you don't have too)
    The big BK has updated the Visual Studio 2012 RC ALM Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs
    VS 11 ALM DemoMates updated for the Beta
    Visual Studio/TFS11 ALM Demo's... Mate! See the VS/TFS 11 ALM's hands-on-labs in DemoMate form
    Visual Studio 11 ALM VHD's, VirtualBoxed (and even on x86 hosts too)
    Want to play with Visual Studio 11 & TFS 11 Dev Preview but don't want to install it (and have access to a Hyper-V server)? Here's a VHD just for