Highlights from the ALM Summit

by on November 19, 2010

Just back from the ALM Summit in Redmond and wanted to share some of my takeaways. This was a small conference driven by the Visual Studio team and sponsored by a select group of vendors that sell products in the ALM space. There were approximately 250 attendees, mostly enterprise customers and partners serving in PM and Architect roles.

Key Messages

Here are the key messages and themes I heard throughout the three day conference:

Lean Thinking. Our industry is morphing from IT into what Forrester calls BT (Business Technology) and the concept of continuous delivery of business value which more closely marries developers to operations (a so called Dev-Ops mindset). Can you deliver software every two weeks? Focus on the flow: Transparency, Reduction of Waste, Flow of Value

Betting Big on Agile and more specifically the Scrum methodology. The Visual Studio teams are all using Agile methods in their projects (most using Scrum and the leadership team uses Scrum of Scrums). The leaders firmly believe that Agile is the best way to develop software. We brought in Ken Schwaber creator of the Scrum methodology and founder of scrum.org, on a consulting basis two years ago to assist with the creation of the newly released Microsoft Visual Studio Scrum 1.0 process template for TFS. He and Sam Guckenheimer (VS Product Owner) have also established a Professional Scrum Developer program and network of training partners throughout the world that is fully endorsed by Microsoft. We also worked with Ken on the creation of a CXO Playbook for Adopting Scrum. Our Agile strategy is largely based on the trends seen in Forrester data below:


Autonomous cross-discipline teams work. Top down command and control structures are not working in software development. They are creating rigid organizations that become overly complex and bogged down and cannot adapt to market conditions and business needs. Large silos of single discipline IT departments (PMOs, Dev, Test, Ops) are the antithesis to lean and create more problems than they solve.

Commodity Cloud. Commodity cloud services (email, document storage, CRM, TFS, etc.) will be the defacto choice for CIOs in 10 years due to the cost and waste avoidance of not running one’s own infrastructure.

Visual Studio ALM road map. Brian Harry spoke about the key themes for the next two releases of Visual Studio. (Note: these are long range plans and subject to change due to market conditions, etc.)

Dev 11 (V Next)

  • A great Agile solution included in the box
  • Requirements management and feedback loops
  • ALM in the cloud

Dev 12 (V Future)

  • Ops integration
  • Release management
  • Portfolio management

All in all, it was a great conference and I found the insight into the Visual Studio team’s thinking and planning to be very worthwhile.


November 19. 2010 09:44

Scott Spradlin

Getting to commodity cloud services as the defacto choice for CIOs in 10 years might be a little ambitious.  It'll be interesting to see how far we've gone by then though.  Thanks for the highlights of the summit!

Scott Spradlin

November 19. 2010 10:27

Clint Edmonson

You'd be suprised how many big, big companies have already made the switch. Think about the soda you drink or the batteries you put in your electronics.

Clint Edmonson