As application lifecycle management continues to become a more integral aspect of general business operations, many companies have started to turn to tools that help to comprehensively drive efficiency and efficacy in these procedures. Developers who have been in the game for a while, as well as project managers who have been closely connected to the general stages of ALM, know how much time can be wasted when the right solutions are not in place.
Microsoft Office continues to be one of the most widely used solutions among enterprises and small businesses today, and certain aspects of ALM are directly tied to the various programs therein, including Excel, Word and Outlook. With the breakthrough Team Foundation Server and myriad solutions available that are compatible with this Microsoft offering, applications management is becoming more intuitive than ever before.
An inside look at SmartOfficeTFS
Brian Harry, writing on his Microsoft Blog, recently explained some of the more specific aspects of Smart Office4DevOps, specifically Smart Word4DevOps and Smart Visio4DevOps. According to the expert, the general suite can be best described as a way to bridge the gap between stakeholders, customers, vendors and other parties who need documentation from the developers who are managing ALM in the Azure DevOps Server.
Harry first dove into the specifications of Smart Word4DevOps.
“Smart Word4DevOps allows you to export Azure DevOps Server work items/requirements into document templates, update edit those documents and publish updates back into Azure DevOps Server,” he explained. “It enables full round tripping. This enables you to produce standard requirements documents from data in Azure DevOps Server and author Azure DevOps Server requirements online or offline. Meanwhile, you get all the capabilities with MS Word – like SharePoint workflows for review and approval processes.”
With respect to Smart Visio4DevOps, Harry noted that this solution is specifically advantageous for teams that are working with diagrams, as it will automatically generate test cases and process flow diagrams. Again, as many developers and project managers already know all too well, the time it takes to report and manage these requirements, not to mention distribute them in an accessible fashion to other stakeholders, can be enormous.
With Smart Office4DevOps, the process is substantially streamlined, reducing the amount of time it takes for the application to get to the consumer.
Broad benefits of these solutions
Since Harry wrote this piece, Smart Office4DevOps has released its SmartExcel4TFS and SmartOutlook4TFS, which come with similar benefits but for different functions. The SmartOutlook4TFS is a Microsoft Outlook plug-in that helps to integrate outlook with the Azure DevOps Server, leading to much more seamless conversions of emails, meetings and tasks to work items.
From organization and work item management to email integration, SmartOutlook4TFS can yield substantial time savings that boost the overall efficiency of ALM-related projects.
As many small and medium-sized business owners know, anything that can drive down operating costs and inefficiencies are welcome in their operations. With the Smart Office4DevOps suite yielding the savings and enhanced ability to work through the ALM process that are critical to maintaining the most effective overall strategies in the lifecycle.