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Visual Studio 11: Microsoft Eats Its Own Agile 'Dog Food'

Microsoft popularized the "dogfooding" phraseology, and the practice of a company using its own products was again in evidence at this year's Microsoft Build conference, with a strong emphasis being placed the agile methodology.

While much was made of Windows 8 and its surrounding hype at the conference, software development methodology and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) were highlighted during the second-day keynote address.

Microsoft's Jason Zander took the stage to showcase distributed team project management with Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server 11, demonstrating how team members can grab source code, edit the code and execute updates and builds. Zander, corporate vice president of Visual Studio, said:

"One of the things we've done with Visual Studio 11 and for our ALM support is we've done a significant amount of agile work. I'm actually using scrum across Visual Studio, our own team when we do this work, so we've actually been using this ourselves internally, it's been awesome."

On the same day, Zander introduced the Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview on his blog, where he also explored some of the agile aspects of the IDE:

"As development teams become more flexible and agile, they demand adaptive tools that still ensure a high commitment to quality. The Exploratory Testing feature is an adaptive tool for agile testing that enables you to test without performing formal test planning."

He went on to explain how Exploratory Testing helps developers quickly find actional bugs, create test cases and manage testing sessions.

This wasn't the only part of the Buld conference that was also to agile. Program managers Aaron Bjork and Peter Provost teamed up for a session titled "Working on an agile team with Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server." Bjork, who works on Team Foundation Server, said he focuses on project management features and "all things Agile." Provost, who works on Visual Studio Ultimate, said, "I've been focusing for the last year or two on Agile developer tooling, with a particular focus on unit testing."  He then echoed Bjork's phrasing, saying: "All things agile are where we like to keep our attention focused."

The Agile duo spent 60 minutes going through new features and products as they can be used by an agile team. The process involved four stages: Prioritize, Plan, Execute and Respond. For more details, you can watch the presentation on Microsoft's Channel 9. Also, the two announced that the "ALM Hands-On-Labs" are available for download.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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