Setting up the VS 2010 RTM virtual machine for VirtualBox

As you maybe already know, a new Visual Studio 2010 RTM virtual machine is available, so you can play around with VS, TFS, and the provided hands-on-labs.

There are versions available for Hyper-V, Windows Virtual PC and Virtual PC 2007. But if for any reason you do want to use VirtualBox (I’ll not deal with the reasons for choosing a virtualization platform here 😉 ), you can run into problems when trying to start the virtual machine.

I downloaded the Virtual PC 2007 version with the idea of creating a new VirtualBox machine and attaching the .vhd to it. But after setting up the machine with the standard configuration, during booting process, it a blue screen appears with a “STOP 0x0000007B” error message.

It seems that the issue is related to the fact that the installed operating system is configured for an IDE controller (the one used in Virtual PC 2007), while the VirtualBox configuration wizard leaves the .vhd attached to a SATA controller.

The fix consists simply on taking away the SATA controller and attaching the .vhd to the IDE controller. After doing it, the virtual machine should manage to boot, and from that point you’d be ready to install the VirtualBox guest additions and start having fun!

This is how the working configuration looks for me (Spanish interface here, but it’d be straightforward to figure it out for other languages):



70-512 Exam: TFS 2010 Administration

A little more than two weeks have gone since 70-512 exam is available, which qualifies for MCTS certification in TFS 2010 administration. It’s the successor of 70-510, which covered TFS 2005. In fact, five years and two versions later seem a bit of too much time from my point of view, but at least the exam has been made available short after the new TFS 2010 bits were released. This is an important point, since 2010 means a dramatic evolution from former versions, thus there are many new features in 70-512 that were not covered in 70-510.

Whishing to renew my certification, last June 24th I passed the exam, just after my fellow Ibon who took me over only by a day; as you can see, here at Plain Concepts we’re a bit of impatient, and when we want something we want it delivered right now!!! 😉

The exam was a bit more difficult for me than 70-510, because there’re many more things to take into account, and the time to gain the required experience has been much shorter. But I think it’d be not so difficult if you have been working deploying and administering TFS 2010, and even less if you’ve worked with former versions.

In many aspects, TFS administration has been simplified with the release of tools like the administration console or TFSConfig.exe.

But without any doubt, there are other areas where complexity has grown much more: high availability for application tier, build agents and controllers, process templates changes, and an endless bunch of new details. And even more if you take into account that monster, from the point of view of administration, which is Lab Manager. Of course, all of these things and many more are evaluated during the exam.

Another problem that arises is that, as you can see at the exam’s site, preparation materials are not quite abundant; for example, there’s not any book available, so TFS installation and administration guides are the best tools that you can rely on.

Nevertheless, as I said before, I think that if you’ve been into working with TFS, and giving a thorough read to the administration guide, there’d be not any problem to pass it. So go for it!!!

LEGO + Scrum: freak out!

When I found, while reading Agile Spain mailing list, that someone had the idea of using LEGO as an aid for Scrum Coaching, I thought that it could be a very enjoyable way of reinforcing some concepts that are addressed during the training.

But after using it during several sessions, I only can confirm what I suspected. Not only we enjoyed it like little Childs, but even more, I think that it was much easier for everyone to begin to get in touch with all the learned issues.

 IMAG0076 Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

Simply put, the idea consists on going through a handful of Sprints, where the Team tries to build a LEGO town, committing to a backlog that has been proposed by me (as the product owner), and that has been estimated and prioritized by all the attendants working together (as members of the different Teams). As you can imagine, people gets fascinated when you show them the pile of LEGO bricks and you ask them for getting to work ;-). The process I followed, with some minor modifications, is the one described in the link which I included at the beginning of the post.

 IMAG0073 Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

Following you can find my retrospective, based on the experience gained during several sessions carried out with different teams.

Things that went well

  • You can play the game no matter which is the technology or the kind of projects in which the Team is involved
  • Concepts are quickly settled down because of the practical approach
  • People get involved immediately
  • Lots of fun!!!

Things that didn’t go so well

  • Usually time gets too short to finish it properly
  • It’s a bit confusing to find out the tasks for the Sprint Backlog
  • There are several key concepts in Scrum that you can’t cover quite well, because the lack of time or the difficulty to carry them out; for example, Daily Scrum. But it’s always possible to complement this game with other related ones
  • If you are not careful, sometimes people pays more attention to playing with the bricks than to learning the process

Improvement actions

  • Better adjustment of Sprint length and cadence
  • Include essential Scrum practices not covered yet
  • Buy more LEGO bricks (ok, I don’t really need them, but this is the perfect excuse… you never can get enough LEGO bricks)

 Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2 Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2