Chris Flaat's WebLog

Discussion of software processes and MSFT developer technologies.

  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Building from the command line: devenv /build

    • 23 Comments
    Greetings, dear readers!   Today I want to talk about using devenv.exe to build a solution or project from the command line (as opposed to interactively inside the IDE).   For example, you can say “devenv /build debug myapp.sln” to do a debug...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    VS Core video on MSDN Channel 9

    • 1 Comments
    If you want to see what some of us VS Core and MSBuild folks look like in person, there's now a Channel 9 video of many of us. We each give a brief blurb on what we do. It's about 42min in length, so if you want to be able to skip around, here's how to...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Linked items and SCC integration

    • 4 Comments
    A person named Blair commented on one of my prior entries about using linked files.  They mention that the integration of a project's linked files with source code control has some limitations, esp. when you link to files outside the current project...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    People are not fungible resources

    • 1 Comments
    Hi all – We are currently using both Scrum and more traditional project management on several efforts going on within our product unit, and I thought I’d share some learnings. Something we’re running into is that getting people dedicated to...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Scrum and Productivity

    • 2 Comments
    Hi all – A reader named David Wylie wrote and commented the following (I’m posting his question here with his permission): I am new to scrum, and one of the selling points is significantly increase productivity. Have you experienced this, or is it just...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Trying out pair programming

    • 4 Comments
    Greetings all – My team has been reporting success with pair programming, so I wanted to try it out myself. This week one of my reports and I paired up to do a bit of maintenance work where we’re moving some automated tests around and setting aside...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Trying to tame our estimates

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings all – It would seem that our estimates are slowly getting better with time. When I compare the burndown chart for sprint 5 with the prior three charts, it’s quite good. The first three look like a silhouette of the Olympic mountain range...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Too little sleep, too much caffeine

    • 1 Comments
    It seems like forever since I got eight hours of decent sleep. I love my kids, but it sure would be nice if they would sleep past 6am! My wife is on me for drinking too much pop -- she thinks 4 a day is too many (if only she knew it was more like 5 or...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Managing the Product Backlog

    • 1 Comments
    There was a question from Dave Froslie on what we use to store our Product Backlog. We use an internal wiki page. Wiki's are nice because they're easy to view, easy to edit (not only for the Product Owner but also for people with suggestions who can add...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Question about Scrum, waterfall, and more

    • 0 Comments
    Hi all – A reader named Steve Henke writes with some questions: First, you mentioned your concern about waterfall being used in the next major division release but with even more centralized control than before. Why do you expect more centralized...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Software metrics primarily useful as negative indicators?

    • 4 Comments
    Dear Readers – I was thinking about metrics, and it occurred to me that most of the metrics we commonly use in the industry are really good as negative indicators of quality, efficiency, testing, etc. but lousy positive indicators. That is, most...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 9 complete

    • 2 Comments
    Hi all – Well, we did sprint 9 broken up into two subteams, and it went quite well overall. The tone of the team in the sprint retrospective was generally positive, and the “things that could be improved” were generally focused on the way we were...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Scrum and development methods

    • 1 Comments
    I got a question from René Landgrebe about what development methods we use along with Scrum. He writes: "I wonder what developing method you use in combination with SCRUM. I read about combining XP and SCRUM is very reasonable. So, what combination...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Bridging the Gap, etc.

    • 1 Comments
    Greetings all – My apologies for being behind on posting. Things have been really crazy around here with VS2005 shutting down and work on the next major release ramping up. I’ve been tasked to help out with some engineering improvement initiatives...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Agile 2005

    • 0 Comments
    Hi all - Several people from MSBuild, the Developer Division, and Microsoft went to Agile 2005 last week in Denver . It was very worthwhile. I really enjoyed the keynotes and getting to meet a lot of others at MSFT doing agile methods as well as people...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 5 complete

    • 0 Comments
    Greetings all – Well, sprint 5 ended and yesterday we had the sprint review. Overall the sprint was successful, although we did have one work item bleed over (which we of course disclosed to the stakeholders at the sprint review). We had small...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 6 winding down

    • 1 Comments
    Well, we finally kicked off sprint 6 in June, and it finishes up next week. Being summer, there have been a lot of vacations plus a Microsoft-wide forum that ate up a lot of time. I expect that sprint 7 will have fewer randomizations, esp. since the core...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Pondering next steps

    • 0 Comments
    Hi all - With sprint 5 done, we are now in a quiet period, as we have balanced most of the resources on our project toward helping Whidbey get finished. We will probably pull some resources back soon, however. I have been thinking about how to get...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Solution configurations & project configurations

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings, dear readers!   Today I want to talk about solution configurations and project configurations.   These are important concepts that are essential to understand if you’re trying to do complex coordination of builds using VS, esp...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Comments on first scrum sprint

    • 3 Comments
    Hi all - Wanted to reply to a couple of comments about my prior entry about having completed our first scrum sprint. A reader named Laurent May writes: "What software tools did you use to manage your sprint development methodology? We are are currently...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Command-line build (devenv /build, MSBuild, etc.)

    • 1 Comments
    In the comments about a post I made a year ago about devenv /build ( here ), a person named Peter just a couple weeks ago made the following comment: When we use IDE to build a project, we have the file(s) checked-out, and IDE will build the changes ...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Watson's revenge

    • 12 Comments
    My dear readers, I have a terrible admission to make.   But it's time to come clean with you.  The fact is, of our hundreds of thousands of users, a small number encounter crashing bugs in Visual Studio.   They are working happily along...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Oil and water...chlorine and ammonia...Scrum and big companies?

    • 2 Comments
    Well, my dear readers, I now have a dangerous idea in my head. One of the projects I'm responsible for is a very important but someone obscure effort involving a relatively small number of people. This project has been plagued with many common misfortunes...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Continued use of Scrum

    • 2 Comments
    Dear Readers – We continue to use Scrum on our project, and we’re now finishing our third sprint (numbered sprint 4 to match up with pre-Scrum milestone numbering). It’s been a stressful sprint. We had a bunch of very hard changes which took much longer...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Beginning our first Scrum sprint on Monday

    • 5 Comments
    Well, it's finally about to happen. I did a short presentation to get the team educated about Scrum (they seem excited about it), and we did our backlog selection and sprint backlog planning meetings yesterday. The sprint begins on Monday. I'm pretty...
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