Getting Started with ALM is Easy, using Microsoft TFS 2010!

In previous posts, I started laying out some of the background in ALM – What is it and Why Do I Care? and took a quick look at the 9 key areas in ALM & an expanded approach to being Test Driven. When I discuss this material with software development teams, the most common reaction I get is “I really want the goodness, but getting started is overwhelming“.

For teams using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 (or previous versions), there is great news. Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 is incredibly easy to get up and running, the default configuration is usable by a great many teams, customization can be approached incrementally, and perhaps best of all, the is a free trial available for download. Once the ISO is downloaded, it typically takes well under an hour (and can be as short as 15-20 minutes) to get a fully functional environment up and running.

For those who experienced either the 2005 or 2008 installation process, you are in for a major pleasant surprise. Not only is the process much faster, but in many cases you can simply step through the wizard driven installation and accept the defaults as they are presented.

The second most common thing I hear is “I’ve installed it, it looks good, but how do I now learn how to use the tools effectively?“. Once again, there is good news.

For people who want a detailed walkthroughs, I highly recommend Professional Application Lifecycle management with Visual Studio [ISBN :978-0-470-48426-5]. Written my Mickey Gousset, Brian Keller, Ajoy Krishnamoorthy and martin Woodword and published by Wiley Publishing (under the Wrox name), this book contains a wealth of information. It is the only book on the topic that I have brought into clients and said “Here is our starting point, as we adopt the material in this book, we will make customizations as required, but in general they should be minor and driven by unique requirements“.

Other people will instead (or in conjunction) want material that is focused on specific items. The Visual Studio ALM Rangers are a group approximately 70  Microsoft Employees and selected other individuals who “deliver practical out of band solutions for missing features or guidance on Visual Studio 2010”. [I am proud to be a member of this group, and my personal profile can be found here]. The following list highlights some of the guides that have been published.

Many of these guides include Hands on Labs [HOL] so that the material can be walked through interactively, and videos that provide visual impact.

In addition to the work by the Rangers, there are also a number o offerings by the Patterns & Practices group at Microsoft that directly relate to TFS. While many of them were written based on earlier versions of TFS, the majority of the material is applicable to TFS 2010. Finally there are Microsoft forums dedicated to TFS, Groups on Linked In, and many other public sources of useful information.

As part of this blog, it is my intention to regularly publish [I am planning on once a month, but open to more frequent updates if enough readers want them] summaries and links that I have found to be useful and relevant.

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About David V. Corbin

President / Chief Architect Dynamic Concepts Development Corp. Microsoft MVP 2008-2011 (current Specialized in ALM) Microsoft ALM Ranger 2009-2011
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