by Matteo Emili, Microsoft MVP

It’s not easy to bring innovation in a field like the Application Lifecycle Management, where you have to deal with several user roles, each with its own needs.

We just left //Build behind us, and Microsoft with the Visual Studio ALM 2013 release- currently in preview - tries to push on the innovation with several improvements to Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server.

The first one is the introduction of Git in Team Foundation Server as a Source Control for those teams which prefer a distributed approach to the Source Code Management. It’s a huge addition, as TFS has always been known for its centralized approach, but this was one of the highest ranked requests from the user base, so they listened at the feedback and – after trialling with the Azure-powered Team Foundation Service for many months – the feature has been added to the on-premise version.

Using GitHub instead of the Team Foundation Version Control is pretty straightforward with Visual Studio, and switching from one to another is very easy.

Another one worth mentioning is Agile Portfolio Management, a solution for letting Agile teams seamlessly interexchange information with the PMOs. Up to the 2013 release the only way to do this was by leveraging the Project Server integration, which meant an overhead and a complexity not suited to every organisation, especially the ones practicing Agile methodologies like Scrum or eXtreme Programming.

With this new feature it’s possible to give different scopes while gathering information on the projects the development teams are working on, so that everybody can get what they need with no fuss.

It’s not just for big teams though, it’s a big help in solving the User Stories breakdown which is often hard to achieve in the correct way.

It’s not just this of course. There’s the new cloud-based load testing feature of Team Foundation Service, the Hosted Team Build servers supporting Windows 8.1 for building apps running on the latest version of Windows, CodeLens, 64-bit Edit&Continue in Visual Studio, and even the possibility of running a pre-configured Virtual Machine running Visual Studio 2013 Preview on Windows Azure are just some of the tons of new features and improvements brought by Microsoft in this new wave.

This new release opens a broad set of opportunities, making the current one an exciting time for being in the ALM space.