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Learn Agile Project Management with Azure DevOps

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DevOps has emerged as a revolutionary technology well-known for enhancing the pace and agility of software development processes. It works by uniting people, processes, and technology for building an efficient and evolving software development lifecycle. While considering the rise in cloud services, DevOps has also switched to cloud offerings. This article discusses one such DevOps cloud service, called Azure DevOps.

What is Azure DevOps?

What is Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps is a Software as a service platform offering a set of complete end-to-end tools needed for developing and deploying software on the cloud. Earlier, known as Visual Studio Online (VSO) or Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), this Microsoft offering is a centralized service that can be used for any software project.

The software development teams can leverage Azure DevOps to design projects using a single platform via Agile methodology. The several functions achieved by Azure DevOps are work item tracking, code management, applications deployment, tests management, running builds, and visualization.

Is Using Azure DevOps for Project Management Worth?

If you are looking to learn agile project management, Azure DevOps seems to be the best choice. It allows choosing from a wide option of Azure Board’s planning tools that are perfect for agile project management. So, if you want to shift from traditional project management to an agile approach, DevOps with azure is the best option. The planning and portfolio management of the Azure Board enables the user to plan swiftly and track all work across the entire team. Major features that altogether help the project team track their workflow throughout the development cycle without any hassles are:
Is Using Azure DevOps for Project Management Worth_
Users if paired with a project and portfolio management platform i.e. PPM Express can easily connect to Azure DevOps within a single system. This will provide clear visibility of project-related information across groups, systems, and portfolios.

Feature of Azure DevOps Project Management

Azure DevOps comes embedded with integrated features which are accessible either via IDE or web browser. The prominent features available with Azure DevOps include:
Feature of Azure DevOps Project Management
Azure allows you to connect with your Azure Active Directory. Plus, it establishes a synchronization with on-premises AD and can even help invite guests. However, certain access rules are applicable to users, restricting them from watching certain elements. But, when users are allocated to teams, they become capable of accessing code, evaluating work, and colluding with others.
This feature provides you the flexibility to invite guests from other institutions to join the team simply by entering their mail id.
Under group management, this attribute allows adding members to the pertinent group on the organization setting page. Further, permissions on a group are also configurable for a project.
This lets users be delegated to one or more teams. This, as a consequence, restricts users to see only what is permitted by a particular team.
Azure DevOps comes with pre-made customized templates. The four common work item templates offered by Azure DevOps include Basic, scrum, agile, and CMMI.
Backlog is nothing but a place where you can monitor, plan, and organize your projects. Generally, there are three basic backlogs in Azure DevOps which include the Portfolio backlog, Requirement backlog, and Iteration backlog.
Boards offer an intuitive interface to manage and organize your work. All your work items are placed in card format and arranged according to their latest status for easy understanding.
It is used to assign work items to time intervals and is also known as sprints.
These find utility in breaking down work in a logical sequence, coordinating it with functional areas, and building websites for varied business segments.
Send alerts to keep your team notified of every important task. Whether it’s a work assignment or activity failure/ success, you can always send alerts as and when needed.
Construct your own dashboard for varying purposes based on your team members’ demand, work item criteria, and other attributes as deemed appropriate.
Azure Repos refers to a set of version control tools that allow developers to monitor changes in coding over time.
Leverage Azure DevOps’s built-in analytics features, such as cumulative flow diagrams, control charts, and burn charts to get real-time updates on your workflow patterns.

How to Use Azure DevOps for Project management?

How to Use Azure DevOps for Project management

Users can set up one or more projects, create teams, and add users to teams. These users can be put together into groups that can permit them to perform certain things such as approve builds, update code, alter the deployment process, or generate and run tests.

A project employs a process template to indicate the organization of work items. They can be placed into areas on one dimension and iterations on another. Areas are used for dividing the work logically, while iterations are for planning purposes. Once the work item gets completed, a developer will commit their code. This result triggers a build that indicates that the latest code will compile or will get prepared for deployment.

Deployment can be done either manually or automatically to one or more environments. The pipeline then runs tests automatically or manually moving to the next stage. As pipelines are completely configurable, you have the freedom to either include manual steps or automated steps depending on your organization’s specific requirements.

Why Azure DevOps?

Why Azure DevOps

Requirements management using Azure DevOps can easily be performed because of its following benefits:

Thus, to achieve this, Microsoft Azure consulting services are envisioned to help companies ensure fast cloud-native development, Azure migration, and high Azure environment optimization. It helps businesses to adopt and use efficient Azure cloud services.

Best Practices to Keep in Mind for Agile Management

Best Practices to Keep in Mind for Agile Management
Based on the deliverables create agile teams. Dedicate a team for each developers group and then, assign scrum masters to handle the consolidation of agile projects.
This includes configuring a sprint cadence team to be used in a specific product group, specifying iterations for future planning, and figuring out the teams will utilize iterations to manage backlog items.
This enables developer teams to focus on a definitive series of tasks. The work designated for a sprint is visible in the sprint backlog of your team. However, sprint backlogs exist only for product backlogs and not for portfolio backlogs.
It makes the process of tracking progress completely hassle-free.You can review the deliverables, check with other teams for dependencies, and monitor sprint progress using the sprint burn-down chart.

Conclusion

conclusion
Hence, with so many features and benefits to offer Azure DevOps is certainly a great tool to be utilized in the Software Development Process. Using it will not only expedite your project delivery but will also ensure to keep up its quality. Hence, this tool provides the best solution to manage the work tasks within a team in an efficient manner.
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Azure DevOps Self Hosted Build Agents

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Agent is a server with the appropriate Operating System and the tools installed and configured.

Azure DevOps Supports below two agents :

  • Microsoft agents – These Agents are totally manages by azure
  • Self-Hosted Agents – These agents are configured by the user according to their needs.

Steps To configure Self Hosted Agents

In this Section We will see how to configure a self hosted agent for Windows And Linux VM

Creating a Personal Access Token (PAT)

Before We start configuring agents we need to create a PAT token.

Step 1. Login to Azure DevOps organization, open user settings, and select “Personal access tokens”

Step 2. In Personal Access Token Page, click on new token to Create the new token

Step 3. Provide the details Name of the token Expiration Date and permissions to this token

Note: Make sure to give full access for pipelines

Step 4. Once the token is generated, save it and use it in configuring agents.

Installing & configuring the agents

We have created the token so now we can start configuring the self hosted agents

Below are the steps to create a self hosted agents

Step 1. Navigate to the organization setting and then click on Agents pools.

Step 2. Select the Default Pool or You can create your own pool By clicking Add Pool

Step 3. Now Click on new agent and follow the steps mentioned in that

Step 4. You can select the desired operating system also

Windows Installation

Step 1. First Download the agent it will create a zip file

Step 2. Now extract the zip file to the target location( it is recommended to save in C: drive)

# Create directory and navigate to the directory

New-Item -Path “C:” -Name “agents” -ItemType “directory”

Set-Location -Path “C:agents”

# Extract the downloaded zip file

Add-Type -AssemblyName System.IO.Compression.FileSystem ; [System.IO.Compression.ZipFile]::ExtractToDirectory(“C:vsts-agent-win-x64-2.195.1.zip”, “$PWD”)

# Verify the extraction

Get-ChildItem

Step 3. Start configuring the agent by below command

.config.cmd

It will ask you some question which are mentioned below

  • Enter the URL: https://dev.azure.com/{your-organization}
  • Enter the authentication type (press enter for PAT) – Press enter for this step.
  • Enter personal access token. – Paste the PAT generated earlier
  • Enter Agent Pool – Press Enter if you are creating an agent in the default Agent pool, otherwise, provide the name of the Agent Pool
  • Enter Agent Name – Provide the Agent Name
  • Enter run agent as Service – Press Y for this in order to install & Run the Agent as a service in the Virtual Machine.

Step 4. Now Go back to the agent pool and now you can see the agent under the pool

Linux Installation

Installing and configuring the pipeline agent in Linux is similar to Windows. So, here we can see how to install Linux Agent

Step 1. Download the agent

wget https://vstsagentpackage.azureedge.net/agent/2.195.1/vsts-agent-linux-x64-2.195.1.tar.gz

Step 2. Create a folder and extract the downloaded tar.gz file.

# Create directory and navigate to the directory

mkdir agent

cd agent

# Extract the downloaded zip file

tar zxf ~/Downloads/vsts-agent-linux-x64-2.195.1.tar.gz

# Verify the extraction

ls

Step 3. Start configuring the giving below command

./config.sh

Similar to Windows configuration, the users will be asked to enter the server details, authentication type, and the authentication token we created earlier. Then configure the agent details, and finally, the user can start the agent by running the run.sh script.

Step 4 (Optional). You can configure the agent to run as a system service using the svc.sh script located in the agent directory. Specify the user and use the install command to configure the service.

sudo ./svc.sh install [user name]

sudo ./svc.sh start

Step 5. Now go back to the agent Pool and under this pool you will get the agent running

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