Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

August, 2013

  • Brian Keller

    New Lab: Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with Team Foundation Server 2013


    When we shipped the Visual Studio 2013 ALM Virtual Machine earlier this month we were still in the process of finalizing one of the hands-on-labs / demo scripts. This work is done and you can now access Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with Team Foundation Server 2013.

    If you are not yet familiar with the agile planning tools introduced in Team Foundation Server 2012, you should start with Exercise 1 of this lab. In this exercise you will learn how these tools can be used to help a small team manage their backlog, break work down into iterations, and track this work using a task board.

    Exercise 2 introduces the new agile portfolio management capabilities introduced in Team Foundation Server 2013. These capabilities allow you to “scale agile” across your entire organization by providing you with a hierarchy for your backlog. This means that I can have several smaller teams sprinting together to achieve related objectives, and I can track that work in either a top-down or bottom-up manner.

    Finally, Exercise 3 will show you a few of the ways that Team Foundation Server 2013 allows individual teams to maintain some autonomy in the way they work without requiring core process template changes on the shared team project that you might be using across the entire organization. Features such as the Kanban board and work item tags can be customized on a per-team basis to adapt to the individual needs of those teams.


    We hope you enjoy this new lab, and as always your feedback is welcome.

  • Brian Keller

    Register Now For Team Foundation Server 2013 Upgrade Weekend


    In my job, I get talk to people every day who are excited about the new and improved capabilities of Team Foundation Server 2013. I have talked to several organizations who are already running Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview in production, which is great. But for some organizations, upgrading to pre-release software on their production servers can be a bit scary. If you are interested in upgrading to Team Foundation Server 2013 and you don’t want to wait until RTM, we are here to help.

    Team Foundation Server 2013 Upgrade Weekend is happening September 13-15 (Friday – Sunday). During this weekend, Microsoft experts will be standing by after hours to provide no-charge assistance for Team Foundation Server 2013 installation, configuration, and upgrades. If you are interested in taking advantage of Upgrade Weekend, please visit This brief survey will pre-register you to take advantage of the Upgrade Weekend offer and will help us to appropriately staff engineering and support resources. If you don’t yet have a profile on Microsoft Connect you will need to complete a brief Connect registration profile prior to accessing the survey. This survey will remain open until September 6th.

    Here are just a few reasons to consider upgrading to Team Foundation Server 2013:


    Of course, you don’t have to wait until Upgrade Weekend to try Team Foundation Server 2013 or any of the rest of the products in the Visual Studio 2013 family. You can download previews of these products today from All of these products have “go live” licenses which means you can run them in production and perform your day-to-day development activities with them. You can also contact Microsoft Support if you need assistance.

  • Brian Keller

    Visual Studio 2013 Application Lifecycle Management Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs / Demo Scripts


    September 19, 2014 Update: The VM and corresponding hands-on-lab / demo scripts were updated to Visual Studio 2013 Update 3. This includes several fit and finish releases across the hands-on-lab /demo scripts in addition to several improvements in the underlying virtual machine itself (including an upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2). A detailed changelog is available.
    The Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 ALM Virtual Machine is available for download along with 25 hands-on-labs / demo scripts which introduce you to many of the ALM capabilities which have been included in this release.

    You can download and install Visual Studio 2013 (including Team Foundation Server 2013, .NET Framework 4.5.1, etc.). But if you would like a faster way to understand what is new for application lifecycle management in this release, this virtual machine is pre-configured with all of the necessary software and sample data for you.

    Some important notes about this virtual machine:

    • This is a Hyper-V virtual machine and works with Windows Server 2008 x64, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8 (with SLAT-capable processors), Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. The import procedure for this virtual machine is slightly different than for previous versions. Please read the “Working with…” document for detailed instructions.
    • Windows is configured to set the system clock to July 9, 2013 every time you start this virtual machine. This is to support the project management hands-on-lab. If you want to work with this virtual machine beyond the specific hands-on-labs scenarios, you may need to disable the Set Date and Time task (Task Scheduler -> Task Scheduler Library -> Set Date and Time -> Right-Click -> Disable).

    This virtual machine is configured with:

    • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Evaluation
    • Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2013 Update 3
    • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 3
    • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook)
    • Microsoft Visio Professional 2013
    • Microsoft Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 Update 3
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Standard
    • Sample users and data required to support hands-on-lab scripts which accompany this download and exercise 24 ALM scenarios.


      There are 25 hands-on-labs for you to take a scripted approach towards learning this content. These labs double as demo scripts in case you want to show off these features to others.

      New features in Visual Studio 2013:


      Labs upgraded from Visual Studio 2010/2012:


      Finally, if you want to use this virtual machine with Visual Studio Online, this simple document will detail the special steps necessary to put the virtual machine online:

        If you are looking for even more hands-on-labs and demo scripts, be sure to check out our other ALM virtual machines at

        Links to the files above are included in the download set below, so you don’t have to follow the individual links above if you plan on batch downloading all of the files in this set.

        Downloading the virtual machine and labs:
        I suggest using a download manager for these files since they are very large. My download manager of choice is Free Download Manager. You can use your own favorite download manager, but you may need to adapt the instructions below as appropriate.

        1. Download and install Free Download Manager. This utility provides:
        - Auto-resume support for interrupted downloads.
        - Multiple simultaneous download streams for (usually) a much faster download experience.
        - As the name implies, it's completely free.
        2. Select the URL’s below and copy (CTRL+C) them to your clipboard.
        ###Start - Do Not Include This Line### with the Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 ALM Virtual Machine.docx Planning and Portfolio Management with Team Foundation Server 2013.docx and Running Manual Tests using Microsoft Test Manager 2013.docx and Merging Visualization with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013.docx the Right Software - Generating Storyboards and Collecting Stakeholder Feedback with Visual Studio 2013.docx Discovery using the Architecture Tools in Visual Studio Ultimate 2013.docx to Visual Studio Online Using the Visual Studio 2013 ALM VM.docx with IntelliTrace using Visual Studio Ultimate 2013.docx Issues in Production with IntelliTrace and Visual Studio 2013.docx Continuous Delivery with Release Management for Visual Studio 2013.docx Testing using Microsoft Test Manager 2013.docx Started with Git using Team Foundation Server 2013.docx to Coded UI Tests with Visual Studio Ultimate 2013.docx to Platform Testing with Microsoft Test Manager 2013.docx to PreEmptive Analytics.docx to Test Case Management with Microsoft Test Manager 2013.docx to Test Planning with Microsoft Test Manager 2013.docx to Web Performance and Load Testing with Visual Studio Ultimate 2013.docx Management using Standard Lab Environments in Visual Studio 2013.docx Developers More Productive with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013.docx Collaboration Experiences for Development Teams using Team Foundation Server 2013.docx and Debugging SharePoint Applications with Visual Studio 2013.docx Class Coupling with Visual Studio Ultimate 2013.docx Testing, Code Coverage and Code Clone Analysis with Visual Studio 2013.docx Code Analysis with Visual Studio 2013 to Improve Code Quality.docx the Architecture Explorer in Visual Studio Ultimate 2013 to Analyze Your Code.docx
        ###End - Do Not Include This Row In Your Selection###
        3. Launch the user interface for Free Download Manager (either from the Start Menu or via the system tray icon if FDM is already running).
        4. Click File -> Import -> Import List of URLs from Clipboard.
        5. When prompted for a download group, accept the default and click OK.
        6. You are now free to minimize Free Download Manager while the files download. By default, they will be saved to c:\downloads.
        7. Expand the files and self-extracting RAR set and see the “Working with…” document for more instructions.

        I hope you will enjoy this content as a way of learning how Visual Studio can help you improve your team’s overall application lifecycle management capabilities. If you have suggestions for how to improve this virtual machine and set of demos / hands-on-labs please let me know. Remember to check out our previous ALM virtual machines at to learn about other ways in which Microsoft is delivering tooling for application lifecycle management.

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