Team Systems Piloting

I am leading a pilot currently of the new development platform, Team System, at work. We are currently only running the pilot with a single small team. It's too early to tell yet how succesul this pilot will be or what the overall challenges we'll encounter, however, so far I think the biggest item that seems to be a struggle is education.

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Customizing Team Foundation Process Guidance

Today I was considering writing my own editor for the Process Guidance files that are used to load up Team Foundation Server with custom process guidance templates (Work Item Types, Sharepoint documents and templates, Reports, Work Item Queries, Classifications, Groups and Permissions, and Version Control settings). It's basically a bunch of Xml configuration files along with some queries and Reporting Services reports, but mostly Xml configuration.

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Personal Knowledge Management

I read an article the other day that talked about the concept of "Personal Knowledge Management". I had been a casual OneNote user in the past as I like the idea of having all of my thoughts from meetings, brainstorming, etc. full-text searchable. This article inspired me to take a much more dynamic and rigorous approach in "managing my knowledge".

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Defining Enterprise Architecture

There are many challenges to getting an Enterprise Architecture group off the ground at an organization, especially one that is trying to mature after running in "startup" mode for so long. Also, since the idea of architecture in technology is a relatively new discipline many managers and stakeholders just don't understand what architecture means, what the role of the architect is, and most importantly what the benefits are of having a solid architecture group or team.

What is Enterprise Architecture?
Enterprise Architecture is a discipline that relies heavily on mid to long term strategic vision that is driven by the goal of aligning IT with business. It value to the company cannot be realized on a quarter by quarter basis but rather on a year to year basis. A lot of times this value realization is not directly apparent. However, the value is usually significant impact on an organization beyond what any single or group of traditional projects could accomplish. For example, items like developer morale and productivity, harmonization of IT and business, business leaders able to make better strategic decisions, a solid platform enabliing better performance, more reliable security, and forward proofed designs, etc., are things we all agree are wonderful making IT more cost effective and better able to provide services to the business but are rather hard to measure and attribute 100% to the architecture group or team. However, it is a rare case indeed to find these things without people dedicated to focusing on architecture for the enterprise.

What is the role of an architect?
Many times the great architect was also a great technologist or developer, however, the great technologist or developer do not necessarily make a great architect. This is because the skillsets needed to be that great developer are only a small fraction of what the architect needs to call upon in the course of their duties. A large portion of the architect's trade must rely on good organizational politics, meaning that he has got to be able to sell his or her ideas to both the deeply technical as well as executive management. He has to play a leadership role without any organizational authority so it is required of the architect that he is well respected and can motivate the necessary people to follow, and to do so with enthusiasm. In addition, he or she must be able to be adept at thinking strategically and critically about long range technical direction.

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Cropper Plugins

Recently, I jumped back into developing some plugins for Brian's Cropper screenshot tool. For a while I was using the built in capture tool that comes with OneNote since I am a heavy OneNote user, however, since I upgraded to dual monitors, it's fairly sluggish. It works fine, just a little sluggish for when I want to take quick shots and am not interested in journaling about them in OneNote (it automatically creates a Side Note entry with the capture).

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Community Server 2.0 Beta 2 Upgrade

I decided to take the plunge and to upgrade my CS 1.1 site to the 2.0 Beta 2 release. Looks pretty solid for a Beta release, however, I am having trouble with my "articles" showing up even though I can get to them in the admin interface.

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Delicious .NET API

I have recently become a fan of the social bookmarking site, Delicious. I started thinking of all the ways it could be useful to be able to capture links or query the Delicious database for links from within other apps and plugins. I noticed that Delicious exposes a web based API via query string parameters. However, I could find no .NET library out there that wrapped the the web request calls up for me in a nice neat little class library so this weekend I wrote my own. This is a rough and dirty 1.0 version so please let me know if you find any bugs. One bug I found with the Delicious API/site is how it stores URLs. If you store a URL that is just the domain name, with no query strings or files (e.g. default.aspx), it will always store it with a trailing "/" no matter if you stored it with a slash or not. If you go to query the Delicious API without a trailing slash, it will not return any results. This could easily be fixed in my API by just doing some analysis of the URL string before sending it along in the query to Delicious, however, it has not been implemented as of yet.

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Delivery

I ran across a poem in a John Maxwell book that I am reading entitled The 360-Degree Leader, that Maxwell attributes to Walt Whitman. Further research seems to indicate that the poem was actually written by Walt Mason. Either way, I absolutely love the statement that is made through the well written verses.

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Escape that Cubicle!

I can't remember how I stumbled upon this interesting podcast called The Cubicle Escape Pod, but I am glad that I did. More good brain food and motivation for the commute. It's a show, typically lasting between 10 and 20 minutes in length, that discusses the ins and outs of starting a business. If you have ever desired or dreamed of launching a startup, then I think you will love listening to this show for ideas, advice, and just plain motivation because these guys are excited about what they are doing and it's infectious.

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FeedBurner RSS Migration

I have just migrated all my RSS syndication over to FeedBurner. If I did this correctly, you should not have to change anything in your RSS feed readers. However, please let me know if anything breaks for you.

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