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Trust and the Marble Jar

by Angela 28. July 2017 18:40

I am a big fan of Brene Brown and her work around vulnerability, shame, and trust. At first it was something I was spending time on with my own coach as a self-improvement project, then, over time, I started to connect with it again as a coach and mentor to others. And the more I talk about it, the more it’s clear that I’m not alone. I went off in search of some good resources on building trust and transparency, and unshockingly I ended up once again taking advice from Brene Brown. 

Today I watched this video of hers that digs in on the subject “the anatomy of trust”, and admittedly I found myself questioning my interactions with people, my reactions to difficult situations, and I was pretty sure that I was coming up short. Trust is integral to building long, lasting, and meaningful relationships, both personally and professionally. Trust is a tricky thing. Tricky because it can be fragile, emotional, and so hard to build and earn, especially if you’ve lost it or had it broken. Do people trust me? And who do I *really* trust myself?

I don’t have the answers just yet. And since I am pretty sure I am not alone in these doubts, I wanted to share some of my takeaways from the talk. Here are some things that really stuck out:

Brene describes trust as a marble jar that fills slowly until it’s full enough that trust is established. Others fill our marble jars and we fill theirs. Marbles can also be taken out through little “betrayals”. What kinds of things can you do for others to fill the marble jars so that they trust you?

  • Being genuinely interested in people’s lives, the good and bad
  • Asking for help when you need it
  • Attending funerals
  • Sharing your hardest stories (a.k.a. showing vulnerability)
  • Choosing to connect when opportunities arise

Trust also requires validity and reliability.  Validity was fairly straightforward, but reliability caught me off guard. It made me realize that it’s something I try to pride myself on but as of late have struggled with incredibly. Reliability means we don’t take on so much that we can’t follow through on our commitments. GUILTY.AS.CHARGED

Breaking commitments is an example of a small deception that removed marbles from our trust jars. And it’s not just breaking work commitments, those hollow offers of “oh my gosh we should have lunch soon, I’ll be in touch”, and you know it’s never gonna happen. We’ve likely all done it, and as well intentioned and harmless as it seems to just say, it erodes trust.

Trust is choosing to make something important to you, vulnerable to the actions of someone else. ~Charles Feltman, from “The Thin Book of Trust: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work” (I’ve already ordered a copy of that book)

Trust is built in small moments, over time. A lot of time.

BRAVING connections requires Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-judgement, Generosity. FWIW I might do a separate post on BRAVING but it’ll take some time.

“Beware the naked man offering you a shirt” ~African Proverb. I couldn’t resist a little humor because this post was getting awfully heavy. But honestly, it begs the question: Do you trust yourself? If not, how can you ask others to trust you?

This of course makes me start to think about how so many of the teams I work with are struggling to be successful in an agile environment, and an environment that 100% relies on trust and transparency to thrive requires an immense amount of trust. What things are teams doing that are blocking their marble jars from being full?  Are they braving connections? Definitely gives me some interesting new discussion points and analogies.

Tags:

Agile | trust | vulnerability | teams

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VS Live is Coming to Chicago in 2017 and I have a $400 discount to share with you

by Angela 20. July 2017 17:38

Hey friends! In case you haven’t heard, I’ll be speaking at Visual Studio Live in Chicago this year! ::cue massive Imposter syndrome episode::  Smile

Not familiar with VS Live? Visual Studio Live! provides you with immediately usable training and education that will keep you relevant in the workforce.  You’ll hear from Microsoft folks and industry experts about the latest news, new developments in tools and processes, and get some awesome networking opportunities. The conference is happening September 18-21, so sign up soon and get that time off requested before it sells out.

I am really excited to have the chance to share some of my experiences with you at the following sessions this year:

  • Getting Your Agile Team Unstuck! Tips and Tricks for Blasting Through Common Setbacks
  • Improve Your Retrospective Outcomes with Agile Kaizen

Now for the part you really came here for – I have been extended a special offer to share with you.  As a speaker, I can extend $400 savings on the 4-day package. Register here: http://bit.ly/CHSPK08home, the special discount code (CHSPK08home) should pre-populate for you.

Amplify your knowledge at Visual Studio Live! Chicago — bring the issues that keep you up at night and prepare to leave this event with the answers, guidance and training you need. 

Tags:

VS Live | VSTS | TFS | Agile | Scrum | Continuous improvement | DevOps | ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | appl

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ThatConference Game Night update! Boardlandia Returns

by Angela 28. June 2017 17:51

2016-08-08 20.45.10

As you may or may not know, I was one of the masterminds behind #ThatGameNight at ThatConference. My husband and I are huge fans of board games and it felt like a great way to get people together for a night of fun! It’s become an extremely popular event attended by hundreds of campers and their families every year, and to help us keep the momentum going we have established a partnership with a great, local board game shop. In case this is all news to you, a little background…

ThatGameNight is a free, social event open to all ThatConference attendees and their families on Monday night of the conference every year. ThatGameNight will be happening during and after the Monday night Happy Hour, so grab some refreshments and head on over to the gaming areas that night, we’ll have a lot of activities setup so you’ll have a blast even if board games are not your thing! The event begins at 6 pm and continues until midnight, and the schedule is flexible, so feel free to stop by at any point during the event and stay as long as you like.

Boardlandia is once again partnering up with That Conference to supply a free library of games for all ages to borrow and play while at That GameNight. As a special perk to all That Conference attendees, you can also go to their website to check out their full catalogue, and if you see something you like, they are offering an option to pre-purchase games and accept delivery at That GameNight – just use the "Free Pick up at That Conference 2017 Game Night" option when you place your order.  Pre-ordering will end on July 31st.

You can also bring your own games if you like, but be sure to take advantage of the Boardlandia game library if you can. It will be a great chance to discover new games, and meet new people!

We're also going to have a Pinewood Derby track set up at ThatGamenight. Come on out with your pre-built pinewood derby car and challenge your fellow campers to a race for bragging rights. Old and young alike can use the track, so use those engineering skills to build your best car and bring it out to trounce the competition!

Tags:

ThatConference | boardgames

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Chicago Suburban SQL Server User Group - June 2017 Meeting Announcement

by Angela 6. June 2017 15:54

Just wanted to share an event that I’ll be speaking at later this month, it will be my first time ever with this group so I’m excited to be able to meet a bunch of new tech-minded folks in the Chicago area! I’d love to see some familiar faces as well, and who among us doesn’t need better database skills? Polaris Solutions is also sponsoring this meeting, so dinner is on us Smile

Chicago Suburban SQL Server User Group
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DATE:

Tuesday June 20, 2017

AGENDA:
5:30PM - Doors Open
6:00PM - Meeting Start with Dinner, Networking, & Open Q&A (bring your questions!)
6:30PM - Announcements, Sponsor Presentation, & Main Presentation

REGISTER:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chisub-ssug-june-meeting-tickets-35162771797

TITLE: Fear and (Self) Loathing in IT – A Healthy Discussion on Imposter Syndrome
ABSTRACT

Many of us feel nervous or fearful about raising our voices or speaking our opinions out loud - whether at a business meeting, a team retrospective, a conference, or even from your cubicle chair. We sometimes feel hesitant to fully engage with our team and be ourselves lest we be “found out” as someone who really doesn’t belong, isn’t smart/experienced enough, or who doesn’t deserve to be there. If you’re wondering what Imposter Syndrome is, or how you would even know if it affects you or a team mate, think about the following questions:
* Do you feel like no matter how much you study or prepare for a new challenge, that you’ll just never be ready for it and that people are crazy to even trust you with real responsibilities?
* Do you panic at the idea of asking for help when you get stuck on a challenging problem because everyone will think you have no idea what you’re doing? 
* Do you continually beat yourself up about minor mistakes that likely no one else even remembers, or noticed in the first place?
* Are you constantly comparing yourselves to peers, friends, or event Twitter followers and finding that you just never seem to stack up?
If you answered yes to any (or maybe all) of these questions, you might be experiencing Imposter Syndrome. You may even recognize some of these behaviors in loved ones, coworkers, and friends. And it’s not silly, trivial, or something you’ll “just grow out of”. Many people have been experiencing Imposter Syndrome since childhood. But when does this anxiety become unhealthy? Is Imposter syndrome something we really even NEED to cure? I’d like to share some of my own adventures in embracing my fears, learning to trust myself and others, getting comfortable with asking for help, and developing shame resilience. I’ll also talk about the unexpected and very positive outcomes that followed taking the leap to embrace my “phoniness”.
So whether your roles in life include team lead, manager, scrum master-in-training, tester, project manager, significant other, and/or parent - recognizing Imposter Syndrome in yourself and others and knowing how to thrive with it is an important skill to develop!


SPEAKER BIO:
Angela Dugan is a Principal Consultant for Polaris Solutions, a software technology and agile/DevOps process consulting firm based in Chicago. Her focus as a Principal Consultant is supporting her clients in increasing their agility and improving their DevOps capabilities through training and coaching their people, streamlining their processes, and implementing modern automation and collaboration tools. Angela has been in the software industry since 1999, is an active tech community contributor, and organizes a number of local meetups and conferences including IAMCP Women in Tech, Chicago Code Camp, ThatConference, and St. Louis DevUp. She is a Microsoft ALM MVP, a Certified Scrum master, and a SAFe Program Consultant.
Outside of wrangling organizational transformations, Angela is an avid board gamer, an accidental Crossfitter, an aspiring crafty diva, and a Twitter addict. She is constantly working on her 1910 house in Oak Park with her husband David, where they raise two ornery chickens Betsy and Gertrude and a rambunctious GSP named Sadie.

Tags:

SQL Server | Imposter syndrome | SQLPass

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MTM 2017 and the End of the Desktop Tooling? Yes, Please

by Angela 6. June 2017 15:36

So if you’ve installed and started playing around with the latest version of Visual Studio Microsoft Test Manager (MTM), you might have noticed this “Warning”: “Consider using the Test hub in web access instead of Microsoft Test Manager”

image

::gulps::

Now, for those of us who have been using MTM and web access for years, we saw this coming a while ago, it’s no secret that Microsoft has been putting a TON of effort into making the web testing experience first class! And truth be told, I have some concerned customers. And heck, I was a curmudgeon at first too

:: bah, in my day we used clunky old desktop tools that hogged all of our CPU and memory and we LIKED it! ::

I’ve spent a lot of time building out complex test plans, do I lose all of that?

Absolutely not, it is all still there. And I’d even argue that it is more intuitive to find what you need on the web!

But what about my rich exploratory testing experience complete with data collection?

OK, fair, it’s not *quite* all there just yet, but it’s getting closer, and what it DOES have is what 90% of my customers use on a day-to-day basis anyway.

What about those nifty built-in reports that I rely on?

HA, there are much BETTER reports today, including some nifty dashboard widgets to make it so that everyone can see the reports, not just MTM users. 

What about some of my advanced features like cloning test cases, suites, and plans?!?

OK, you got me, not everything exists on the web yet, but you do still have the ability to use the desktop tool while you’re waiting for more advanced options to become available on the web Winking smile

So fear not, loyal MTM users! MTM is not dead, yet, but the writing is on the wall. While you may not see 100% of the features from MTM in the web based tooling today, as in right this second, it gets closer to feature parity with every update so wait 5 minutes and hit refresh. This is especially true especially if you’re connecting to Visual Studio Team Services instead of TFS on-premises. VSTS gets updated every 3 weeks, while on-premises and client based tools get updated closer to once a quarter.  And MTM, well my friends, it’s not getting much love these days so I’ll be honest, you should start transitioning soon!

Looking for help updating your environment or getting trained on the new system? Give me or any of my fellow team members at Polaris Solutions a buzz!

Tags:

VSTS | TFS 2015 | TFS 2017 | TFS Service | TFS | Visual Studio | Visual Studio Team Services | Microsoft Test Manager | MTM | Manual Testing | Microsoft Test Professional | Software Testing | Test Case Management | Testing

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re-BUILD 2017 Comes to Chicago on June 1st

by Angela 26. May 2017 21:22

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It’s a new age, a new era, where Microsoft is leading the Open Source revolution.

//BUILD is the Microsoft Developer event of the year where we learn about the strategy and direction that the technology will take. Join us for the Best of Build, a half day developer focused event that will take you thru the latest features and share what's compelling and exciting. Explore the possible at Best of Build 2017.

The schedule will cover:

  • Build 2017 Keynote Highlights
  • Mobile Center
  • Going Serverless with Azure Functions
  • Hackfest/Pizza Party

 

REGISTER now to secure your seat!

Where and when

Thu, June 1, 2017
8:30 AM – 1:00 PM CDT

Microsoft Office - Chicago/Downers Grove
3025 Highland Pkwy
Suite 300
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Not in Chicago? No problem, this roadshow is traveling the country. More scheduled cities are listed below with more coming soon!

Tags:

Mobile | Mobile development | Azure | Cloud Computing | //BUILD

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Managing your Infrastructure as Code with Azure and VSTS–Chicago Agile and DevOps Meetup on May 23rd

by Angela 9. May 2017 19:24

In order to be successful in today's global marketplace, organizations are moving to a more agile approach to software development. In order to be competitive, organizations must look to reduce lead times from years to weeks. One of the barriers to this are the lead times of provisioning infrastructure. Enter DevOps. And what is one way DevOps can accomplish such a herculean feat…Infrastructure as Code!

Infrastructure as Code is all about automating the work of IT Operations and treating it like application code. This session will be jam-packed with Visual Studio, Git, VSTS, PowerShell, ARM, Azure, OMS, DSC and more as we show how we can automate the provisioning and management of our infrastructure…all as code.

How are your environments provisioned today? Are you still racking servers, managing environments on a spreadsheet or deploying infrastructure with "Next…Next…Finish"? If so, this session is for you!

Attendees will learn the following objectives:

  • What Infrastructure as Code is
  • How Azure can help automate the process of environment provisioning
  • Create a full end-to-end solution of automating infrastructure and operations

 

Dinner will be provided for all registered attendees!

 

Agenda

6:00PM: Dinner and networking

6:30PM: Presentation begins

8:00PM: Closing remarks

 

About the speaker: Christopher Mank is the Co-founder and Chief Technologist at White Ficus and a Cloud and Datacenter MVP with a focus in ALM/DevOps and automation. He engages with customers to understand how they plan, build, test, and release software today and help them do it better with automation across the entire lifecycle.
Christopher has technical expertise in Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), TFS, System Center, .Net, PowerShell, SQL Server, Azure, ARM, Azure Automation, DSC, OMS, and Application Insights.

 

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VS Live Chicago 2017

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Special Announcement and discount code for Polaris event attendees:

Visual Studio Live! is coming to Chicago this Fall!

Visual Studio Live! (VSLive!™) is thrilled to be returning to Chicago, September 18-21 at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile! Developers, software architects, engineers and designers will be on a mission to code during four days of unbiased and cutting-edge education on the Microsoft Platform. Cruise through the hottest topics, jam with industry and Microsoft insiders and let loose with your peers -- all designed to give you the best in independent training to help make you a coding rock star!

Exclusive savings: register with priority code CHUG04 to save $500 off the standard 4-day rate! More info: http://bit.ly/CHUG04home

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Tags:

Azure | DevOps | VSTS | Visual Studio Team Services | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2017 | Powershell | git

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Dinner with Aaron Bjork from Microsoft on June 8th in Chicago: Building an Agile Culture that Scales

by Angela 3. May 2017 16:42

image

 

In June we have another great opportunity to talk to someone at Microsoft who has walked the path that many of us are looking to walk. Please join us in hearing from someone who knows how rocky an agile transformation can be, particularly in a MASSIVE company like Microsoft.More about Microsoft's agile and DevOps journey can be found on their website.

Dinner will be provided.

Description of the talk:

Everyone accepts that agile methods and practices work… but how do you apply them at scale without stifling the creativity, autonomy, and energy of your teams? Listen as Aaron Bjork describes how Microsoft has undergone radical changes in recent years to build a culture of “Aligned Autonomy”. Aaron will share stories from before and after, and talk about some of the key changes that have contributed to the new Microsoft

Agenda:

6:00pm: Grab dinner and a seat!

6:30pm: The DevOps show begins

PLEASE REGISTER HERE, Aon security regulations require it!

Speaker Bio:

Aaron Bjork is a Principal Group Program Manager working in Microsoft’s Developer Division where drives all investments in work management, agile project management, reporting, and collaboration for Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Services and Team Foundation Server products.

Aaron joined Microsoft in 2002 working as a software engineer and development lead on the Visual Studio product line. Prior to joining Microsoft, Aaron worked for various startups in the Seattle area. Aaron is passionate about Agile, DevOps, and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and has a strong desire to see teams improve their software engineering practices & culture.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Washington. When he’s not writing code or designing new features, you’ll find him doing projects with his family on their hobby farm or working to lower his handicap on the golf course.

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If you are driving to this event, don't forget that you can get great deals on parking using SpotHero!

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VS Live CHicago

Special Announcement and discount code for Polaris event attendees:

Visual Studio Live! is coming to Chicago this Fall!

Visual Studio Live! (VSLive!™) is thrilled to be returning to Chicago, September 18-21 at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile! Developers, software architects, engineers and designers will be on a mission to code during four days of unbiased and cutting-edge education on the Microsoft Platform. Cruise through the hottest topics, jam with industry and Microsoft insiders and let loose with your peers -- all designed to give you the best in independent training to help make you a coding rock star!

Exclusive savings: register with priority code CHUG04 to save $500 off the standard 4-day rate! More info: http://bit.ly/CHUG04home

Tags:

Agile | Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | VSTS | DevOps

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Polaris at the St. Louis Silver Linings 2017 - Where IT is Going

by Angela 25. April 2017 15:30

image

Polaris is a proud sponsor of the St. Louis Silver Linings conference this year, and I wanted to pass on the news about this amazing event in case you haven’t had a chance to check it out.

 
St. Louis Silver Linings is the largest conference in the region covering three big trends in the IT industry: DevOps, Data Sciences, and Cloud Computing.

The event is on May 2nd and kicks off with a keynote from Veronica S. Smith, data scientist and founder of data2insight. Following the keynote, the conference will feature breakout sessions covering topics from data science, big data, machine learning, intelligent cloud, DevOps, tooling, and more! Visit the speakers page to see the list of distinguished speakers already confirmed.


Event Info
May 2, 2017
7:00 AM – 6:00 PM CDT
St. Charles Convention Center
1 Convention Center Plaza
St. Charles, MO 63303

Register Now to reserve your seat!

Tags:

DevOps | Data science | Big data | intelligent cloud

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Visual Studio 2017 - Best of Launch - Downers Grove on April 17th

by Angela 6. April 2017 03:13

In case you hadn’t seen the announcements, there is a great, free event coming to the Chicagoland area to celebrate the launch of Visual Studio 2017! Details and registration link below…

 

Since Visual Studio launched 20 years ago it has evolved to become a favorite IDE of the casual to professional developer. With the launch of Visual Studio 2017 Microsoft has stepped up their game with improvements to make it easier to work with Cloud, Mobile and Web, as well as a number of productivity improvements.

Join us for a morning of exploring the possible with Mike Benkovich (@mbenko) and Mitch Muenster (@mobileRez) as we take a look the latest tools and technologies with Visual Studio, Xamarin and the Mobile Center, and DevOps with Team Services. The day starts at 8:30 and ends with a hackfest/install pizza party.

 

Tentative agenda:

  • 8:30 – Hello Visual Studio
  • 9:45 – Exploring Mobile Stack
  • 11:00 – DevOps, .NET Core, Docker and more
  • 12:00 – Pizza & Hackfest
 

When: Mon, April 17, 2017

8:30 AM – 1:00 PM CDT

 

Where: Microsoft Office - Downers Grove

3025 Highland Pkwy

Suite 300

Downers Grove, IL 60515

View Map

 

Register today!

Tags:

Visual Studio 2017 | Visual Studio | Visual Studio Team Services | DevOps | Xamarin | VS2017 | xa

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