ALM in Action

Watch the Case Study of how one of SSW Scrum teams did a website upgrade for the National Australia Day Council:

How SSW improved ALM process in China

Lei Xu and Dan Zhang, worked for CMHIT to improve their ALM process. They successfully:

  • Consolidated 3 process templates into one
  • Extensively customized their TFS 2013 process template
  • Deployed a high availability TFS 2013 platform (SQL Always On, 2 App-Tier for TFS, 2 App-Tier for SharePoint 2013, 2 App Tier Project Server 2013)
  • Performance Testing
  • SQL Reporting Customization
  • Adopting Automated Testing and migration (from MicroFocus Test Partner) to Microsoft Test Manager

CMHIT is a large Chinese based company. They are an information technology solution provider specializing in the port, terminal and logistics industry. The Company provides customers with high-quality products and services with their practical experiences in marine logistics IT service.


SSW has been developing software since 1990, and has perfected the art of delivering shippable code on budget and on time using Agile techniques.

We use Microsoft’s Visual Studio ALM tools (was Visual Studio Team System) to provide the backbone for delivering software continuously. SSW can help you leverage the power of these tools to make your developers, testers and analysts work efficiently together. We also use TFS (and a dash of Octopus Deploy) to fix your deployments and improve your testing lifecycle.

In our experience the adoption of ALM occurs through a number of stages. Each stage adds another level of software maturity.


Source Control and Branching

Source Control is a fundamental part of modern software development. Whether you have one developer or hundreds it is imperative that you can protect your code from mistakes and loss. TFS provides this with a comprehensive version control and branching system that stores all of its data in SQL Server. More about Source control and Branching…

Project and Process Management

Getting your process right could be the difference between a successful project and one endlessly spinning its wheels. When your project is in trouble your customers become unhappy and costs can spiral out of control. However an efficient process can help your team work together efficiently and produce that shippable unit of work you are looking for. More about Project and Process Management…

Building Quality Applications

Low quality software costs the economy billions annually. This is due to poor productivity and wasted resources. There is no single silver bullet, but organizations can help themselves by using tools and processes that give themselves the best chance of project success. SSW can help you implement an effective team development strategy to maximize your development team’s productivity. More about Building Quality Applications…

Test and Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance test professionals have two key goals: to validate the quality of an application and improve software. Yet testers often seem like an island apart from the rest of your team. To be effective, their work should be integrated in the same ALM processes and communication workflows as everyone else. They need to collaborate closely with developers and provide the rich information needed to resolve bugs fast. They also need to communicate their progress to non-technical stakeholders with easy-to-understand reports. More about Test and Quality Assurance…


Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS)

Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Team Foundation Server (TFS) is a team collaboration platform that combines team portal, version control, work-item tracking, build management, process guidance, and business intelligence into a unified server.

  • TFS is free if you have an MSDN Subscription, WebSpark or DreamSpark
  • TFS can be used with SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012 or SQL Server 2012 Express.

If you are a SourceSafe user, you know VSS is an easy-to-install and easy-to-use source control system. TFS gives you a much more powerful system including not only version control but also work item tracking and build support.

TFS Editions

TFS Is available in 3 editions to suit any size or scale of development team. SSW can assist in migrating between any of these editions.

Team Foundation Server 2013 Express (previously TFS Basic)

This free edition supports up to 5 developers and provides all the essential lifecycle management features such as source control, work item tracking and build automation.

Team Foundation Server 2013

The full on-premise edition of TFS giving you full features and complete control of your platform and data.

Team Foundation Service

This cloud-based edition of TFS is free for up to 5 users or anyone with the following MSDN subscriptions:

  • Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Premium with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN

This is great choice for anyone looking to leverage the full power of TFS without the need to provision your own servers.

Visual Studio 2013

Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 can come with the following flavours of MSDN:

  • Visual Studio Pro 2013 with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Test Pro 2013 with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Premium 2013 with MSDN
  • Visual Studio Ultimate 2013 with MSDN

All of these include a TFS CAL. For “Backlog Management” and “Sprint Review” features you need “Visual Studio Test Pro 2013 with MSDN” or higher

Lab Management

Visual Studio 2013 Lab Management is an integrated solution to give you all the benefits of virtualization for application lifecycle management. It extends the existing VS ALM platform to enable an integrated Hyper-V based test lab, allowing you to automate your testing process, on a variety of environments that can be setup to your needs.

Lab screenshot
Figure: Using Lab Management in TFS 2013 you can automate your testing process


With the addition of Visual Studio 2013 Team Explorer Everywhere you can now connect most development platforms to TFS 2013.


“We had Adam Cogan in at Vertigo who delivered great TFS 2010 training. TFS is a very powerful product that can make your software organization immensely more efficient. To get the best out of it, training and implementation is best left to experts. SSW certainly has such experts.”SCOTT STANFIELD, CEO OF VERTIGO SOFTWARE, INC.

“We had Adam Cogan and Martin Hinshelwood as TFS insiders. They had access to early builds of TFS 2010 and gave lots of feedback to make the product better. TFS 2010 is our best version yet and software teams step up to the next level if they use it well. I recommend Adam and his team for training and implementation.”BRIAN HARRY, TFS PRODUCT UNIT MANAGER

“While many people have ideas for process improvements, it’s usually best done by those who have done it before. Having worked in one organization that Mark Hetherington transformed with a thoughtful implementation of JIRA, I sought out his help for another. Twice proven, I cannot recommend Mark enough.”ANDREW SKINNER, TILEFILE LIMITED (SYDNEY) AND INAGO INC. (TOKYO)

Related services offered by SSW

  • Implement TFS 2013
  • Branching Consulting
  • Migrate/upgrade from TFS 2005 to TFS 2008 (discontinued)
  • Migrate/upgrade from TFS 2005 to TFS 2010 (discontinued)
  • Migrate/upgrade from TFS 2008 to TFS 2010 (discontinued)
  • Migrate/upgrade from TFS 2005 to TFS 2013
  • Migrate/upgrade from TFS 2008 to TFS 2013
  • Migrate/upgrade from TFS 2010 to TFS 2013 * Popular *
  • Migrate/upgrade from VSS 2005 to TFS 2013
  • Migrate/upgrade from VSS 2012 to TFS 2013
  • TFS Integration Platform
    • JIRA
    • Oracle Agile

Additional services offered by SSW:

Common Questions:

How many developers do I need before I need TFS?

The short answer is: one. Whether you have one developer or thousands, TFS will scale to your needs with an excellent pricing model that competes with VSS. If you already have MSDN, you can use it with no extra cost.

I use free Open Source products so I don’t need TFS, do I?

If you add up the cost of managing and maintaining the many products that you use to provide a similar solution I think you would be shocked. Usually it is your developers who absorb this cost making it difficult to quantify. With TFS all your support comes from one company and with prices starting from free (with MSDN) and unmatched scalability there really are no competitors up to the job.

Migrating and Syncing

Migration from:

We use the TFS Integration Platform to get your assets moved over. Be aware we can sync (not just migrate) an on-premise TFS to TFS Service.

Note: We expect the TFS team to improve this soon.
E.g. Have TFS Visual Studio expose an option “Download a zip of last night’s collection backup”
So the collection can be attached to an On-Premises server

And then later…something like detach on premise collection, zip a backup of the database and use an “import” procedure on TFS Service.