Australian ALM (Appliction Lifecycle Management) Conference

I spent the day at the inaugural Australian ALM conference today. Here are some impressions from the sessions I attended:
 
VS 2010 launch – Microsoft
 
VS is maturing a lot as a testing platform (automation, bug tracking), and this was featured in both Sam & Tanuj’s portions of the launch. The launch event was free, and had a lot more attendees than the later conference portion. Handouts include a neat pack of planning poker cards with Microsoft branding.
 
Keynote – Dr Ivar Jacobsen
 
I’ve written before about Ivar’s comments on Method Needs Theory, and it was great to hear him talk. His recent work on Essential Unified Process is available as a VS 2010 process template, with Use Cases, Use Case Modules, etc. It is a good reminder to hear from one of the earlier pioneers of iterative and other best practices just how long these concepts have been around, and the need to be aware when concepts like agile become overloaded with hype.
 
Personally, I prefer the structure that Use Cases give, compared to ‘epics’ and ‘themes’ in the User Stories world, particular the early focus on system boundaries, stakeholders and goals to give meaningful context. Like any other methodology UP (Unified Process) can be easily abused, e.g. hundreds ‘use cases’ instead of the 10-12 that a typical system should have.
 
VS2010 IDE Enhancements – Alex Mackay
 
A grab-bag of some of the new features in VS, with some quirky examples of extensions. Fairly limited in what you can get through in 1 hour, but plenty of good practical examples. The session was presented well, and the audience seemed to like it a lot.
 
Sketchflow – Mitch Denny
 
In the first half Mitch used an interesting presentation tool, Prezi, that I hadn’t seen before. I worked kind of like a mind-map, drilling down into different ‘slides’ as necessary. The second half had plenty of demos, but it might have worked better with more switching between slides & demos, rather than two separate halfs.
 
I very much like Sketchflow, especially using sketchy styles for prototypes, but I don’t know how well it will grab on as a separate tool. Hopefully it will gain traction in the designer community, but the interface is quite different for someone used to a coding tool like VS.
 
Introducing Agile: Microsoft Developer Division – Sam Guckenheimer
 
An old presentation (although I hadn’t seen it before), mostly on the use of agile practices to deliver VS 2008. It did seem a bit dated, but had a good chunk of information (but no demos — nothing really relevant to demo). Definitely more ALM than VS.
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