Microsoft's View: ALM for Everyone

ALM should be attainable and affordable -- that's why we've included Team Foundation Server 2010 with nearly every MSDN subscription purchased with Visual Studio 2010.

In the world of application lifecycle management (ALM), integration is the name of the game. Software development has matured beyond the adolescent stages it occupied during the heady days of the dot-com gold rush in the late-1990s. Today, ALM has evolved into a respectable, established young adult. And like a young adult, the discipline of ALM is encountering some major life changes.

The number of people and roles involved in the software development process has evolved; today's teams include developers, architects, designers, testers, project managers, business analysts and a variety of other stakeholders, including business and operations owners. For a team to be productive and efficient, members need to be integrated across process and technology; in fact, the technology should enable integration to support the process and the people.

Integration needs also vary, but might include creating, sharing and validating requirements from beginning to end. Tooling is needed to support these processes across organizational roles. In the "good old days," we'd use Post-it Notes or e-mail to communicate across the team, which was typically only a few people in close proximity to one another. Today, teams are larger and geographically distributed. Paper notes and e-mail are no longer efficient or effective ways of enabling collaboration.

During the past decade, we've seen the evolution of ALM solutions from a variety of vendors, including Microsoft. For large enterprises with money to spend, choosing an ALM solution has historically been much easier than it has been for smaller teams with tight budgets. Those smaller teams have had to rely on cobbled-together solutions. For many teams, the vision of a robust, integrated ALM solution is cut short by budgetary restrictions. But organizations of all sizes should have access to the basic tools for collaboration in software development, including those for version control, build automation and requirements management.

Team Focus
At Microsoft, we believe ALM solutions should be attainable, affordable and easy to use. To support this position, we decided to include Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 -- the backbone of the Microsoft ALM solution -- in nearly every MSDN subscription purchased with Visual Studio 2010. Team Foundation Server 2010 enables everyone on the team to collaborate more effectively, be more agile and deliver better-quality software while building and sharing institutional knowledge. Project artifacts and data from work-item tracking, version control, automated builds and testing tools are stored in a data warehouse. Powerful reporting and dashboards provide historical trending, full traceability and real-time visibility into quality and progress against business intent.

What does this mean to you? Simply put, this means that all developers with Visual Studio and MSDN now have access to Team Foundation Server 2010, including production use rights. In addition, for those without MSDN subscriptions, we've lowered the estimated retail price of Team Foundation Server 2010 to $499 and included an allowance for five users without Client Access Licenses.

All development teams, regardless of size or budget, now can afford a state-of-the-art ALM solution -- in fact, you may already have it in your MSDN Subscriber Downloads. So what are you waiting for? Visit Microsoft.com/visualstudio and get started today.

About the Author

Doug Seven is a senior product manager for Microsoft Visual Studio, focusing on ensuring development teams are able to collaborate and communicate throughout the entire application lifecycle. Prior to this role, Seven was a senior development lead in Microsoft.com, where he transitioned a "traditional" cross-functional development team to Agile methodologies using Visual Studio Team System with Team Foundation Server. This transition included the implementation of test-driven development, paired programming and Scrum. Seven has coauthored several books on Microsoft technologies, and spends a great deal of time engaging with and supporting the community.

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