Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Review: Professional Application Life Cycle Management with Visual Studio 2010

We’re jumping into Visual Studio 2010 this week, and beginning the migration to TFS 2010 as well.  I wanted to get familiar with TFS 2010 and try to standardize our practices a little more before we mis-configured everything, so I bought the first book I saw that seemed to cover TFS 2010.  Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010 by Mickey Gousset, Brian Keller, Ajoy Krishnomoorthy and MArtin Woodward fit the bill for what I was looking for and more.

The book is broken into 5 Parts:

  • Architect
    • This was a little basic, and highlighted a few new features in VS 2010 that I once used Visio to accomplish.  But it also clarified for me a few basic UML constructs that I rarely used or may have been using incorrectly.  I’m not sure I’ll use all of the available UML diagrams very frequently, mainly because not everyone on the team will be able to use them or understand them, but I’ll see how it goes.  Ironically, this may be the last section that is truly useful for me.
  • Developer
    • I’m going to make sure all my developers are familiar with the new capabilities of VS2010, and this is a fantastic guide to what is possible.  It make take a little effort to get to add these tools to the dev tool belt, but I think these time savers make the difference between a professional development shop, and a place that is just throwing code over the fence.
  • Tester
    • A great section about brand new functionality in 2010, and an area both testers and devs should be reading.  I’m hoping that I can really alter our expectations of the relationship between dev and QA through the use of these tools, and that by the end of the year, our QA process can be much more thorough than it is now, and not cost any more time than it already does.  It’s definitely been the neglected child of the development process, and my goal for the rest of 2010 is to bring it up to speed.
  • Team Foundation Server
    • A solid primer on TFS and some good guidance on branching and merging.  A must read for dev leads, architects and build engineers
  • Project / Process Management
    • This is the section that really got my attention at first, and the one I would like everyone here to read, even the execs, and especially the solution managers.  Half the battle of good project execution is getting everyone on the same page of terminology and process.  This is definitely worth a read for a shop that is will to make changes, not for the sake of making changes, but to fix issues and bring themselves into compliance with the rest of the development world to eliminate the vocabulary barrier.

I found all the sections useful as a starting point to either make slight improvements to the processes we use, or as a guideline to make wholesale changes to how we are working to improve our output. 

What I really liked about this book was that while I could have figured this stuff out on my own over the next year or so, it gave me a good primer to get started, so hopefully that will result in fewer wrong steps, and let me know about hidden features that I may have never discovered. 

I powered through this book in about a week, and I’m sure I remember less than 50% of it.  But at least I know where to go to look things up, and can begin to plot out direct for the configuration of our TFS servers and our processes.