Steve and Joel’s Daily Scrum
08 May 09 08:55 AM | Joel Semeniuk | with no comments

Watch Stephen Forte and I jabber about Scrum at the Microsoft Enterprise Developer and Solutions Conference in New York.

Lots of other GREAT sessions and partner videos on this site…


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Justinmind Protyper Looks Promising
07 April 09 04:33 PM | Joel Semeniuk | with no comments

I’m just about to give a try – I’m always on the lookout for these types of tools.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Visual Studio Team Test Quick Reference Guide Now Available
01 April 09 09:37 AM | Joel Semeniuk | with no comments

What’s included:

Want to Monitor Your Team Foundation Server?
01 March 09 02:19 PM | Joel Semeniuk | with no comments

This is a bit easier with the TFS Performance Report Pack – check it out:

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Need a Pep Talk? Need a Team System?
18 February 09 12:09 AM | Joel Semeniuk | with no comments

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Interesting – Steve Ballmer at Mobile World Congress
16 February 09 05:46 PM | Joel Semeniuk | with no comments

I was expecting a lot more… watch for yourself….

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Work Item Check-in Policy for BA’s, PM’s, and Testers?
31 January 09 10:30 PM | Joel Semeniuk | 3 comment(s)

Team System today provides developers with the ability to associate their code with work assigned to them in the form of Team System work items.  This is done via the work item check-in policy that you can enable on your project.


There is a lot of benefits of using check-in policies.  First of all, this particular check-in policy gives us traceability between my work item and my code.  This means that I can go to a work item that we associated with a check-in and drill down into the details of the changeset.


You also get some great additional information when you use Team Build – giving you a report of the associated work items for the code that was changed in the latest build – essentially, a “what is new with this build” report automatically.  Another benefit is workflow – as you can trigger workflow progress (for example marking a task as resolved) when you associate the code with that task (note:  this will all depend on the workflow definition of the work items in your team project).


It takes quite a bit of discipline for developers to adhere to the process of associating a check-in with one or more work items.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could expect the same thing from those on our team who produce documents and not code as project artifacts?  Today, the default advice is to use a Team Project’s associated Windows SharePoint site to store all document artifacts.  There is a bit of a disconnect with this method it seems, since SharePoint doesn’t version documents like we version code, and it makes it very difficult to get traceability between work items and the resulting documents.

Wouldn’t it be great if Business Analysts, Manual Testers, Project Managers (etc – essentially those who produce document artifacts in some form) get to play by the same rules as developers?  Well, if you get the latest Team System Power Tools from Microsoft you can get just that!  One of the features that the Power Tools installs (not by default by the way, you need to do a custom install of the tools during setup) is the Windows Shell Extensions for Team Foundation Server.  What this means is that you can use your Windows Explorer to work with TFS source control. 

After you install the TFS Power Tools (again, make sure you do the custom install as Shell Extensions aren’t installed by default) – all you need to do is ensure your BA’s have a workspace mapped appropriately and Bob’s Your Uncle!


Once the workspace is mapped, simply navigate to the local path  and you will see the Shell Extensions come alive.  For example, in the TicTacToe project I created a folder called “Documents” using my Windows Explorer under c:\Dev\TicTacToe (that’s where the workspace maps that project to on my local drive).  I then right clicked on the folder to see the Shell Extension in action …


I then click “Add” from the Team Foundation Server menu to tell Source Control that I want to add this to my project.  Then I can right click again, and this time choose “Check In…” from the Team Foundation Server menu to bring up our handy dandy check-in window (use the exact same process for documents as well).  Once you see the check-in window you will see that all of the check-in policies are enforces, and if you have the work item check-in policy enabled – you will be forced to associate the document with a work item.

I think this is a great idea for a few reasons.  First, it keeps everything together – not spread across a bunch of different storage mediums.  Second, it allows me to version my project artifacts together – eg:  I can apply a label across my entire project – including documents (too bad I can’t version work items like that as well).  Third, it makes it dead simple to maintain traceability between work items and document based project artifacts, even though it is through a changeset link instead of a direct HTTP link from a work item.


If your Testers, BA’s and PM’s start complaining about the extra work – remind them that developers must do this every day and that a little bit of discipline goes a LONG way.  Besides, they should ecstatic based only on the simple fact that they no longer need to use SharePoint web interface to get to their documents – all documents will be local as far as Office is concerned.  Happiness I guarantee.

Looking for an Alternative to Microsoft LiveMeeting?
10 January 09 04:57 PM | Joel Semeniuk | with no comments

Check these out:

Both free

DimDim has a professional version that comes with $$

YuuGuu requiring a download

YuuGuu can tie into Live Messenger.. but then screws up multi-location sign in (that’s silly)

Overall, DimDim seems more mature

In addition, there is also Microsoft SharedView – I’ve had good luck with this, however, lots of people don’t like it for some reason.  Scott Hanselman talks more about it here:


Here is a list of a few more brought to my attention by Jeremy Wiebe

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Predictions for 2009
30 December 08 09:55 PM | Joel Semeniuk | 4 comment(s)

Every year I ask everyone I know to try to make some predictions for the following year.  Truthfully, I’ve never gone back and compared my predictions with reality (that would spoil the fun I think).  Well, here are my predictions for 2009.

  1. Deep / Long Recession:  2009 will be a year of change in the IT industry, sparked, of course, by the recession that started in 2008.  With every recession we face there will be challenges, but there will also be opportunities.  I predict that there will be a “weeding” out of IT organizations, those who will survive will be the ones who have adapted their practices even before the recession took hold. 
  2. Spark of Innovation:  Recessions always get us to think about doing more with less – and I think that this will further spark new ideas on how we can add value to business and industry as a whole. 
  3. Head in the Cloud:  Doing more with less, being nimble, cutting operational costs, reducing risks – these are all great reasons why I think cloud services will become much more mainstream.
  4. Too Many Damn Social Network and Social Network Aggregators:  2008 truly birthed social networking (I remember, this was something I did predict).  Social networking has proliferated throughout our societies entire online life – from our computers, to our mobile devices, and of course into the world of online gaming.  Facebook has proven to be a catalyst for them all – Twitter has truly taken hold – and there are dozens of others such as that can be used to help broadcast our lives out into the ether like never before.  These types of communities will reach a turning point this year.
  5. SharePoint 2010 will be announced:  (I’m speculating here folks) SharePoint will go through another revolutionary change – just as it has done with every release.  SharePoint will bring not only advances in document management but it will begin to truly leverage Silverlight from a user experience perspective.  I predict that Microsoft will also announce much of what we see in the new online Live services down into the SharePoint space – allowing organizations to have Micro-social networks much easier than we can today with the product.  I also believe that SharePoint will be “meshafied” – meaning, we should be able to experience SharePoint leveraging offline/synchronization functionality that mesh and the synchronization framework have. 
  6. Microsoft Groove will morph:… into the “meshafied” version of SharePoint.  We will have offline content of virtually all aspects of SharePoint – from the social network experience to document and list management. 
  7. Azurameshafication: Microsoft Azure offers cloud solutions, and many organizations will start to provide services using these core services.  That’s a given, however, I also predict that Microsoft Mesh will play a much larger role and savvy organizations will think long and hard about coupling a fantastic online experience with a P2P/Offline experience.
  8. 100 Gb of Online Storage for the World:  Today SkyDrive gives us 25gigs of free online space.  I predict that throughout the year, as the demand for cloud services increases, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon will jump frog each other providing more and more free online storage until each of us can get up to 100 GB of storage for free.
  9. Explosion of User Experience:  Silverlight 2.0 now makes it more realistic to build business applications outside of the traditional ASP.NET/WPF/Winform boundaries.  Today a lot of the Silverlight controls for business applications look very similar to Winform control – and I think in 2009 those organizations who will truly push these boundaries of user experience controls will truly make the biggest influence on how the world works.  I predict 1 or 2 vendors who will offer amazingly innovative and useful Silverlight controls that will allow us to express business value in ways we haven’t seen today.
  10. Windows 7 Hype:  I believe that Windows 7 will have a great deal more hype.  Software vendors will be biting at the bit trying to think of ways of providing multi-touch user experiences to their apps (see prediction #9).  Microsoft will announce limited multi-touch functionality to Vista SP3 scheduled  to be released the late part of 2009 or early 2010.
  11. Microsoft to announce Office 2010 Live will be pay per use:  I predict that Microsoft announce that they will give away base functionality for Office Live 14, and also provide greater functionality/scale/features/no-adverts to those willing to pay incrementally on either a pay per use model or a monthly subscription model.

Let me know what you think by posting your own predictions and linking to mine! 

Happy New Year everyone! 

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VSTS Team – Winning Hearts and Minds
23 October 08 01:27 PM | Joel Semeniuk | 1 comment(s)

A few years ago, I remember speaking to the VSTS team about community.  It was a formal presentation arranged by one of the old team members – where I was to talk about the importance of community support and how to win the hearts and minds of developers – and ultimately customers.  I’m actually not claiming that I had anything to do with this – but embracing community is exactly what the VSTS team have been doing.

Over the years blogging has become an important tool for communication and education.  In fact, I used to blog a LOT regarding VSTS but decided to stop after I saw that my blog was, in fact, second hand, to the blogs maintained by the VSTS team. 

I was expecting this a bit sooner – better late than never – however, you can now follow the VSTS team on Twitter (my new social addiction it seems).  Personally, I’m at the point where I need a better Twitter aggregator.  Any suggestions?

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