K2 provides products that enable technical and nontechnical users to create enterprise workflow applications that automate business processes using visual tools. K2 improved its product development capabilities by adopting Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 as an integrated solution for application lifecycle management, resulting in better visibility into project status, an improved build environment, and more efficient testing.
K2, a Visual Studio Industry Partner, provides products for building business process management solutions based on Microsoft software, including workflow solutions based on Microsoft SharePoint Server. The company’s software development organization consists of some 80 software developers, quality assurance personnel, and other team members, who work at offices in the United States and South Africa.
||By using test recording and replay features together with virtual machine snapshots and IntelliTrace, we’ve improved efficiency with respect to testing and debugging by up to 20 percent.
||Koos du Preez
Chief Technology Officer, K2
As a software company, K2 is always looking for ways to improve application lifecycle management as a means of increasing the output of its product development team, reducing rework during the quality assurance (QA) cycle, and bringing quality products to market more quickly. “As we develop new versions of our software, it’s important that we get the best productivity possible from our developers and get to market as quickly as possible,” says Koos du Preez, Chief Technology Officer at K2. “For example, on the quality front, we wanted to improve collaboration between testers and developers as they work together to find and resolve bugs.”Solution
K2 upgraded from Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite to Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN. The company also upgraded from Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 and adopted Visual Studio Lab Management 2010. Together, these companion products give the company a complete solution for application lifecycle management, including the rapid provisioning of virtual lab environments for testing. The company also adopted Microsoft Test Manager (provided as part of Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and Visual Studio Test Professional 2010) to improve software testing and enhance collaboration between testers and developers.
K2 used its new application lifecycle management tools to deliver K2 Designer for Visual Studio 2010, an extension for Visual Studio 2010 that enables customers to use the integrated development environment to build K2-based applications. In addition, because K2 Designer for Visual Studio 2010 is based on Windows Presentation Foundation classes in Microsoft .NET Framework 4, K2 also was able to reuse much of the same code to update its stand-alone design application and deliver an entirely new designer based on the Microsoft Silverlight 4 browser plug-in.Benefits
By moving to the integrated set of tools provided by Visual Studio 2010, K2 is streamlining application lifecycle management, optimizing team output, and improving software quality.
Better Visibility into the Application Lifecycle
K2 has better visibility into all phases of product development, from requirements to testing. ”Visual Studio 2010 greatly improves traceability and visibility throughout the application lifecycle,” says du Preez. “Project teams are using agile project templates in Team Foundation Server 2010 to build story boards and requirements. User stories are linked to development tasks and test cases, so a story isn’t complete until a test case has been built. The way that task hierarchies are shown as parent-child relationships makes tracking and managing tasks easy.”
Improved Build Environment
K2 created visual build scripts based on Windows Workflow Foundation, which have reduced build environment complexity and maintenance. In addition, the company is taking advantage of gated check-in to validate code before it is added to the build. “Our new build environment is producing much better quality builds, and we expect it to contribute to shorter release cycles,” says du Preez.
More Efficient Testing
K2 is using new technologies such as Microsoft Test Manager and IntelliTrace to streamline testing and improve software quality. “By using test recording and replay features together with virtual machine snapshots and IntelliTrace, we’ve improved efficiency with respect to testing and debugging by up to 20 percent,” says du Preez. “In addition, we have better visibility into code quality through reporting on test case iterations. Looking forward, as we fully adopt automated user interface tests, we expect them to yield a 20 to 25 percent decrease in the work required for regression testing.”
Through its K2 Designer for Visual Studio 2010, K2 is helping customers realize many of the same benefits. “Visual Studio 2010 improves software development in many ways, which we’ve passed along to both our own developers and to customers who build K2-based solutions,” says du Preez. “As customers adopt Visual Studio 2010, they can create K2-based solutions with the same tooling, instead of having to use multiple versions of Visual Studio; and they can easily leverage new capabilities provided by .NET Framework 4 within those applications.”
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