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Arthur Shilov
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Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015: A Practical Guide by Mathias Olausson and Jakob Ehn


Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015 Mathias Olausson




Are you looking for a way to deliver software faster, better, and cheaper? Do you want to improve your software quality, customer satisfaction, and business agility? If so, you might be interested in continuous delivery, a software development approach that enables you to release software in short cycles and with high confidence. In this article, you will learn what continuous delivery is, how it can benefit you, and how you can implement it using Visual Studio ALM 2015, a powerful toolset that supports the entire software lifecycle. You will also discover some best practices, challenges, and solutions for continuous delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015.




Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015 Mathias Olausson


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What is Continuous Delivery?




Continuous delivery is a software development approach that aims to deliver software in a reliable, efficient, and sustainable way. It is based on the idea that software should be ready to be released at any time, and that releasing software should be a routine and low-risk activity. Continuous delivery involves building, testing, and deploying software in small increments and with high automation, ensuring that the software is always in a deployable state. By doing so, continuous delivery enables you to:


  • Reduce the time-to-market of your software products



  • Increase the frequency and quality of your software releases



  • Minimize the cost and risk of software changes



  • Enhance the feedback loop between developers and customers



  • Adapt to changing requirements and customer needs



  • Improve your team collaboration and productivity



Continuous delivery is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires a culture shift and a mindset change in your organization. It also requires a set of tools and practices that support your software development process. One of these tools is Visual Studio ALM 2015.


What is Visual Studio ALM 2015?




Visual Studio ALM 2015 is a comprehensive toolset that supports the entire software lifecycle, from planning and designing to developing and testing to building and deploying to monitoring and feedback. It consists of several components, such as:


  • Visual Studio IDE, an integrated development environment that provides a rich set of features for coding, debugging, refactoring, testing, profiling, and more.



  • Team Foundation Server (TFS), a collaboration platform that provides version control, work item tracking, project management, build automation, code analysis, code review, testing tools, reporting tools, and more.



  • Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), a cloud-based version of TFS that offers the same functionality as well as additional services such as load testing, application insights, release management, etc.



  • Visual Studio Test Professional, a testing tool that enables you to create, manage, and execute manual and automated tests.



  • Visual Studio Release Management, a tool that enables you to automate and orchestrate your software deployments across different environments.



  • Visual Studio Application Insights, a tool that enables you to monitor and analyze the performance, availability, and usage of your applications.



Visual Studio ALM 2015 is designed to support continuous delivery by providing a seamless integration between the different components and enabling you to automate and streamline your software development process. With Visual Studio ALM 2015, you can implement continuous delivery in four main steps: planning and designing, developing and testing, building and deploying, and monitoring and feedback.


How to implement Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015?




Planning and designing




The first step of continuous delivery is to plan and design your software project. This involves defining your project scope, goals, requirements, architecture, design, and schedule. You also need to identify your stakeholders, team members, roles, and responsibilities. You can use Visual Studio ALM 2015 to facilitate this step by:


  • Creating a team project in TFS or VSTS that serves as a central repository for your project artifacts, such as code, work items, builds, tests, etc.



  • Using the agile planning tools in TFS or VSTS to create and manage your product backlog, sprint backlog, user stories, tasks, bugs, etc.



  • Using the modeling tools in Visual Studio IDE to create and visualize your software architecture and design, such as class diagrams, sequence diagrams, use case diagrams, etc.



  • Using the code analysis tools in Visual Studio IDE to check the quality and maintainability of your code, such as code metrics, code clones, code coverage, code review, etc.



Developing and testing




The second step of continuous delivery is to develop and test your software project. This involves writing, debugging, refactoring, testing, and verifying your code. You also need to ensure that your code meets the quality standards and complies with the requirements. You can use Visual Studio ALM 2015 to facilitate this step by:


  • Using the coding tools in Visual Studio IDE to write and edit your code in various languages and frameworks, such as C#, VB.NET, ASP.NET MVC, WPF, etc.



  • Using the debugging tools in Visual Studio IDE to find and fix errors in your code, such as breakpoints, watch windows, data tips, etc.



  • Using the refactoring tools in Visual Studio IDE to improve the structure and readability of your code, such as rename, extract method, introduce variable, etc.



  • Using the testing tools in Visual Studio IDE and Visual Studio Test Professional to create and execute various types of tests for your code, such as unit tests, integration tests, functional tests, performance tests etc.



  • Using the test management tools in TFS or VSTS to manage your test cases, test plans test suites test results etc.



Building and deploying




The third step of continuous delivery is to build and deploy your software project. This involves compiling, packaging and deploying your code to different environments, such as development testing staging production etc. You also need to ensure that your deployments are consistent, reliable and repeatable. You can use Visual Studio ALM 2015 to facilitate this step by:


  • Using the build automation tools in TFS or VSTS to create and run automated builds for your code, such as continuous integration builds continuous delivery builds scheduled builds etc.



  • Using the release management tools in TFS or VSTS or Visual Studio Release Management to create and run automated deployments for your code, such as continuous deployment pipelines release templates release approvals etc.



  • Using the configuration management tools in TFS or VSTS or Visual Studio Release Management to manage the configuration settings for your code, such as variables parameters secrets etc.



Monitoring and feedback




The fourth step of continuous delivery is to monitor and feedback on your software project. This involves collecting and analyzing data on the performance, availability and usage of your applications. You also need to gather and respond to feedback from your customers, users and stakeholders. You can use Visual Studio ALM 2015 to facilitate this step by:


  • Using the application insights tools in TFS or VSTS or Visual Studio Application Insights to monitor and analyze the health and behavior of your applications, such as response time failure rate user sessions etc.



  • Using the reporting tools in TFS or VSTS to generate and view various reports on your project status, progress and quality, ```html burndown charts test results code coverage etc.



  • Using the feedback tools in TFS or VSTS to collect and manage feedback from your customers, users and stakeholders, such as feedback requests feedback responses feedback ratings etc.



What are the best practices for Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015?




To implement continuous delivery successfully with Visual Studio ALM 2015, you need to follow some best practices that can help you optimize your software development process and achieve your desired outcomes. Here are some of the best practices for continuous delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015:


Automate everything




Automation is the key to continuous delivery. It enables you to eliminate manual tasks, reduce human errors, increase efficiency, and ensure consistency. You should automate as much as possible in your software development process, such as:


  • Automate your builds using the build automation tools in TFS or VSTS.



  • Automate your tests using the testing tools in Visual Studio IDE and Visual Studio Test Professional.



  • Automate your deployments using the release management tools in TFS or VSTS or Visual Studio Release Management.



  • Automate your monitoring using the application insights tools in TFS or VSTS or Visual Studio Application Insights.



  • Automate your feedback using the feedback tools in TFS or VSTS.



Use version control




Version control is essential for continuous delivery. It enables you to manage your code changes, track your code history, collaborate with your team members, and integrate your code with other tools. You should use version control in your software development process, such as:


  • Use a version control system that supports your project needs, such as Git or Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC).



  • Use a branching strategy that supports your release cycle, such as feature branches, release branches, hotfix branches, etc.



  • Use a pull request workflow that supports your code review process, such as creating pull requests, reviewing pull requests, merging pull requests, etc.



  • Use a continuous integration workflow that supports your build process, such as triggering builds on code changes, running tests on builds, publishing build artifacts, etc.



Implement quality gates




Quality gates are checkpoints that ensure that your code meets the quality standards and complies with the requirements before it moves to the next stage of the software development process. You should implement quality gates in your software development process, such as:


  • Implement code quality gates that check the quality and maintainability of your code using the code analysis tools in Visual Studio IDE.



  • Implement test quality gates that check the functionality and performance of your code using the testing tools in Visual Studio IDE and Visual Studio Test Professional.



  • Implement deployment quality gates that check the reliability and security of your code using the release management tools in TFS or VSTS or Visual Studio Release Management.



  • Implement feedback quality gates that check the satisfaction and usability of your code using the feedback tools in TFS or VSTS.



Collaborate and communicate




Collaboration and communication are crucial for continuous delivery. They enable you to coordinate with your team members, share information and knowledge, resolve issues and conflicts, and align with your stakeholders. You should collaborate and communicate in your software development process, such as:


  • Collaborate with your team members using the collaboration tools in TFS or VSTS, such as team rooms chat rooms dashboards etc.



  • Communicate with your stakeholders using the communication tools in TFS or VSTS, such as email notifications alerts reports etc.



Learn and improve




Learning and improvement are vital for continuous delivery. They enable you to measure your results, identify your strengths and weaknesses, learn from your mistakes and successes, and improve your processes and practices. You should learn and improve in your software development process, such as:


  • Learn from your data using the data analysis tools in TFS or VSTS or Visual Studio Application Insights, such as charts graphs metrics etc.



  • Improve from your feedback using the feedback analysis tools in TFS or VSTS, such as feedback ratings feedback comments feedback suggestions etc.



What are the challenges and solutions for Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015?




Continuous delivery is not without challenges. It requires a significant amount of effort, investment and change in your organization. You may encounter some challenges when implementing continuous delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015, such as:


Technical challenges




Technical challenges are related to the technical aspects of your software development process, such as code quality test coverage deployment frequency etc. Some of the technical challenges you may face are:


  • Lack of skills and knowledge: You may not have the skills and knowledge to use Visual Studio ALM 2015 effectively and efficiently.



  • Lack of tools and resources: You may not have the tools and resources to support your continuous delivery process, such as hardware software network etc.



  • Lack of integration and compatibility: You may not have the integration and compatibility between Visual Studio ALM 2015 and other tools and systems that you use in your software development process, such as third-party tools legacy systems cloud services etc.



Some of the solutions you can apply are:


  • Train and educate: You should train and educate yourself and your team members on how to use Visual Studio ALM 2015 effectively and efficiently.



  • Invest and upgrade: You should invest and upgrade your tools and resources to support your continuous delivery process, such as hardware software network etc.



  • Integrate and adapt: You should integrate and adapt Visual Studio ALM 2015 with other tools and systems that you use in your software development process, such as third-party tools legacy systems cloud services etc.



Organizational challenges




Organizational challenges are related to the organizational aspects of your software development process, such as team structure project management stakeholder involvement etc. Some of the organizational challenges you may face are:


  • Lack of alignment and agreement: You may not have the alignment and agreement among your team members and stakeholders on the goals, requirements and expectations of your software project.



  • Lack of coordination and collaboration: You may not have the coordination and collaboration among your team members and stakeholders on the tasks, roles and responsibilities of your software project.



  • Lack of trust and transparency: You may not have the trust and transparency among your team members and stakeholders on the status, progress and quality of your software project.



Some of the solutions you can apply are:


  • Align and agree: You should align and agree with your team members and stakeholders on the goals, requirements and expectations of your software project.



  • Coordinate and collaborate: You should coordinate and collaborate with your team members and stakeholders on the tasks, roles and responsibilities of your software project.



  • Trust and transparent: You should trust and transparent with your team members and stakeholders on the status, progress and quality of your software project.



Cultural challenges




Cultural challenges are related to the cultural aspects of your software development process, such as values beliefs attitudes behaviors etc. Some of the cultural challenges you may face are:


  • Lack of mindset and attitude: You may not have the mindset and attitude to embrace continuous delivery as a way of working, such as being agile being flexible being customer-centric etc.



  • Lack of culture and environment: You may not have the culture and environment to support continuous delivery as a way of working, such as being collaborative being innovative being transparent etc.



  • Lack of feedback and improvement: You may not have the feedback and improvement to sustain continuous delivery as a way of working, such as being responsive being adaptive being learning-oriented etc.



Some of the solutions you can apply are:


  • Change your mindset and attitude: You should change your mindset and attitude to embrace continuous delivery as a way of working, such as being agile being flexible being customer-centric etc.



  • Create your culture and environment: You should create your culture and environment to support continuous delivery as a way of working, such as being collaborative being innovative being transparent etc.



  • Seek feedback and improvement: You should seek feedback and improvement to sustain continuous delivery as a way of working, such as being responsive being adaptive being learning-oriented etc.



Conclusion




```html to deliver software faster, better, and cheaper. It involves building, testing, and deploying software in small increments and with high automation, ensuring that the software is always in a deployable state. You can implement continuous delivery using Visual Studio ALM 2015, a comprehensive toolset that supports the entire software lifecycle. You can also follow some best practices, overcome some challenges, and achieve some benefits with continuous delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015.


If you are interested in learning more about continuous delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015, you can check out the book "Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015" by Mathias Olausson, a Microsoft MVP and a leading expert on software development and DevOps. In this book, you will find detailed guidance and practical examples on how to implement continuous delivery with Visual Studio ALM 2015. You will also learn how to apply the concepts and techniques of continuous delivery to real-world scenarios and projects.


Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it useful and informative. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you.


FAQs




What is the difference between continuous delivery and continuous deployment?




Continuous delivery and continuous deployment are related but not identical concepts. Continuous delivery means that your software is always ready to be deployed to any environment at any time. Continuous deployment means that your software is automatically deployed to the production environment whenever a change is made. Continuous deployment is a subset of continuous delivery, but not all continuous delivery projects use continuous deployment.


What are the benefits of continuous delivery?




Continuous delivery can bring many benefits to your software development process and your business outcomes, such as:


  • Reducing the time-to-market of your software products



  • Increasing the frequency and quality of your software releases



  • Minimizing the cost and risk of software changes



  • Enhancing the feedback loop between developers and customers



  • Adapting to changing requirements and customer needs



  • Improving your team collaboration and productivity



What are the challenges of continuous delivery?




Continuous delivery can also pose some challenges to your software development process and your organizational culture, such as:


Lack of skills and knowledge: You may not have the skills and knowledge to use the tools and practices that support continuous delivery.</l


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