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Visual Studio ALM at Tech-Ed: It Takes a Village

My flight out of soggy Burlington, Vermont won't leave for another 16 hours, but I had a chance to speak this morning with Sean McBreen, Microsoft Senior Director of Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management, about this morning's keynote and the expanding horizons of ALM under Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server. He echoed many of the points made by Microsoft Corporate VP of Visual Studio, Jason Zander, during his keynote. And I left the call with a four-word summary of Microsoft's ALM strategy rattling around in my mind:

It takes a village.

As Zander and McBreen both pointed out, Microsoft has been focused on ALM to varying degrees back to Visual Studio 2005, when it introduced Team Foundation Server. And that focus has evolved to embrace testers (TFS), designers (Expression Blend), and now IT pros (System Center Connector) and application stakeholders (the PowerPoint storyboard plug-in). In each case, non-developers are being provided rich access to the development stream.

"Collaboration is at the heart of successful software projects," McBreen told me. "The industry legacy has been to force people to work in separate silos and not adapt to the work cycles of individuals or teams."

So Microsoft's strategy, as McBreen put it, is to "meet the users where they aren't," and extend the development lifecycle to those who can help improve the quality and efficiency of software development. Which is why IT professionals can interact with development via System Center and application stakeholders can work with requirements and feedback via browser and a PowerPoint plug-in.

As it turns out, this week's conference is just the place to make this pitch.

"That is why Tech-Ed is a great place to talk about this," McBreen said. "You've got IT pros and developers in the same room."

Posted by Michael Desmond on 05/16/2011 at 1:15 PM


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