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    DevOps – A Vital Tool to Project Success

    Hello readers! Looking to learn something new? In this article, I am going to talk about the wonders of a Microsoft project collaboration tool: DevOps.

    Project management can only be successful with the right organization and positive attitude. While a project has many moving pieces there are several resources that can be of great use. One that stands out is VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services), now called DevOps.

    DevOps is a highly useful tool for project organization. The methodical process of DevOps allows project members to have high visibility into all moving pieces of the project from the initial requirements gathering, to design, to formulating testing plans, to the post Go-Live issues that emerge.

    DevOps allows users to enter several different work items and track the items over the project period. What makes DevOps unique is the query functionality that allows the user to generate different visual Dashboards to present to their team.

    So what is a Dashboard?

    When entering DevOps there is a menu that appears on the left of the page.

    Within this menu is the Boards menu option. Click on Boards and there appears several different visual displays representing a variety of different queries.

    This is an excellent presentation tool and resembles a Microsoft Power BI display. Dashboards are a great tool to use to present to the client as it is a visual value add. It is an interactive display that the client can drill into to view the specific work items tied to the unique dashboard. Queries are found within DevOps and can be generated using several different criteria. For example, a client may want to view a reporting dashboard that displays all active issues based on the severity. This can be arranged by generating a query based on those variables.

     

    Dashboards function on the queries that are generated within DevOps. In order to generate queries work items need to be inputted into the system.

    What kind of work items can you enter into DevOps you may be wondering? Anything from entering a bug, to a requirement, to a feature, the choices are endless!

    Each work item contains their own unique fields. A query can contain more than work item depending on the criteria that is entered. During a recent implementation we made use of DevOps to track all requirements gathered in the beginning of the project carrying forward through to the very end with post go-live issues. Work items have the capability to link to other items in parent-child relationships. This gives excellent visibility to the project thought process and which concepts may be tied together.

    For example, while testing during UAT a bug can be uncovered in the system. The user has the option to create a bug within DevOps and add a detailed description of the exact issue occurring. The bug can be directly linked to the Test Plan item allowing for tracking of the bug process.

    Once the bug has been resolved the user can retest and this gives any user full knowledge of what the exact issue is. The items are tagged with an “Assigned to” field as the user who will resolve it or begin the initial triage. The work items can be manipulated to add additional fields other than what is available out of the box. This gives the user the ability to truly morph DevOps into their own project tool.

    Once DevOps has been populated with several different work items queries can be generated to organize the items by “Assigned to,” “State,” “Module,” etc. This allows the client to have a concise front facing view of the progress made during each phase of the project.

    Many of you may have clients that have several phases and DevOps is a perfect way to store requirements from the very beginning of Phase1, carrying onto the next several phases that may come.

    With the technology world always changing DevOps is here to help! The days of using Excel and personally tracking all parts of a project are now long gone. Microsoft has given us, the consultants, a tool which will make our lives more efficient and easier to measure progress.