Improvements in Visual Studio ALM from the ALM Summit



There were many new improvements in Visual Studio ALM that were announced at this years ALM Summit event that I can only pick a few to highlight as my favourites. Brian Harry did the keynote on the second day and almost immediately announced Visual Studio 2012.2 CTP 2  and a bunch of new features some of which were made available in TF Service ( immediately.

Although most of these features are available now on TF Service you will have to wait for some of them until TF Server 2012.2 RTM’s or even TF Server 201x (Dev12). So what are these fabulous features that have been made available:

DVCS (Distributed Version Control System)

Full fidelity implementation of Git to allow Visual Studio to natively support Git repositories and for you to choose to use Git as your DVCS version control of choice in TF Service. You will however need to wait until Dev12 (TF Server 201x) to see it on premises.

Figure: Creating a Team Project with DVCS

NoteMy favourite way to use this is to create a local Git repository with Visual Studio but publish changes to TF Server. Unfortunate for now you need to use the command line until an option is added to the UI which should not be long at the current pace of development.

Quality Enablement Improvements in Visual Studio ALM

Did you wonder why you cant create and manage your test case infrastructure just like in Microsoft Test Manager but from the web? Well now you can not only create and manage Test Plans, Settings and Cases but you also get a web based Test Runner to allow you to run your manual tests on any platform and collate that data.

Figure: Test Hub in Action

This Test Hub in the web access makes adopting Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD) or just doing some functional testing trivial. Say goodbye to excel as your test recording tool and be part of the awesome tractability in Team Foundation Server.

Figure: Web Test Runner in Chrome

You can use this test runner to record your test results on any platform that can render html5 and JavaScript so the supported platform list just expanded.

Kanban swim lanes

If you have used the current incarnation of Kanban implemented in Update 1 you will know there is still an issue of having the accordion like states that Kanban likes without breaking TFS. With Update 2 for TF Server the team has added the ability to have those multiple swim lanes that allow you to model your current process without being forced to add all of your states to your process and rewrite all of your reports.

Figure: You can Customise the columns

Adding new columns is so easy as you can simply free text them up and map them to an existing state of your Backlog work items. This allows you to stack out as many states as you need to support your process.

I am not sure yet what will happen if you add 20 columns, but hopefully you will already have gone through some of process improvement initiative and decided that having 20 states is a little… confusing…

Work Item Tagging

A Work Item Tracking tagging system that allows you not only to tag work items with any text you like, but to filter your queries by those tags. Live on TF Service and coming in TF Server 2012.2

Figure: Adding Tags for each of my Personas

This is massive as it allows me to add data to my work item without having to go an edit the work item type. In most cases we just want an extra piece of information attached to our work items so that we can filter search results and more easily find what we want. This is a good start at that and allows us to filter our backlogs and queries when we have many, or just more focus on one area.


There were so many new features that it is hard to pick out a clear favourite. Indeed there are three categories of wins that are available right now. First is the reduction in the requirement to customise templates that results from the introduction of tagging. Second is the addition of the web based Test Management that will bring many more teams into Team Foundation Server. But the last is perhaps the biggest from an adoption perspective as many teams want to use Git either as individuals or as small teams, but still leverage the massive benefits of the Visual Studio ALM platform.

Figure: Traceability in Team Foundation Server

We are starting to see the enablement of the traceability story for a wider audience and across more platforms.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

These are the next five classes we have, and you can check out our full public schedule of classes.

Live Virtual PAL Evidence-Based Management Online on 19th June 2023
19-20 Jun, 2023
09:00-13:00 BST
2 half-days
APS 19th June 2023
19-22 Jun, 2023
09:00-13:00 EDT
4 half-days
Professional Scrum Product Owner Immersion (PSPO-I) online 3rd July 2023 over 8 weeks
3 Jul-21 Jul, 2023
13:00-17:00 BST
8 weekly half-days
PSPO-A 10th July 2023
10-13 Jul, 2023
09:00-13:00 BST
4 half-days

We can deliver any of our courses as private in-house training over Microsoft Teams & Mural. We also recommend training based on your accountabilities or role, you can go directly to recommended courses for Scrum MastersProduct OwnersDevelopers and Agile Leaders.

Create a conversation around this article

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin

Related Courses

No items found

Read more

Martin Hinshelwood Why do you encourage people to follow a certification path in their career journey? I would encourage you to follow a scrum certification path for the same reason that people go to university. The same reason that people do any course or certification. It gets you a foot in …
Martin Hinshelwood What will you learn on the PSM II course? There are two main things that most scrum masters will learn on the PSM II or Advanced Professional Scrum Master course. That they haven’t been working effectively as a scrum master to date. That they are there to empower and …
Martin Hinshelwood
In Scrum Events across the world, I hear repeated the phrase “that’s how agile works” when describing behaviours that are both unprofessional and the very opposite of an agile mindset. These behaviours will inhibit agility and are a result of a lack of understanding of the underlying principles. We need …
Martin Hinshelwood What is the most common Aha moment people have in a scrum course? It depends on the scrum course they are attending. The content presented in the Applying Professional Scrum (APS) course leads to very different epiphanies when compared to the content presented on an Advanced Professional Scrum Master …


We believe that every company deserves high quality software delivered on a regular cadence that meets its customers needs. Our goal is to help you reduce your cycle time, improve your time to market, and minimise any organisational friction in achieving your goals.

naked Agility Limited is a professional company that offers training, coaching, mentoring, and facilitation to help people and teams evolve, integrate, and continuously improve.

We recognise the positive impact that a happy AND motivated workforce, that has purpose, has on client experience. We help change mindsets towards a people-first culture where everyone encourages others to learn and grow. The resulting divergent thinking leads to many different ideas and opportunities for the success of the organisation.