Crosslake Staff

26th Apr 2012

Smoke tests vs. BVTs

Lately, I have seen some confusion at the level of testing that should be done when a daily build is generated. How do we know that the daily build is ready for general consumption? Although general definitions vary throughout the industry, below, I will provide our definitions of “smoke test” and “build verification test,” which … Continued

27th Apr 2012

Classifying manual tests in Microsoft Test Manager

Automated tests in TFS have a very helpful method of categorizing tests. With the addition of a .NET attribute on the test method, you can add categories to your tests such as “unit,” “BVT,” “smoke,” or any string you can envision. As this MSDN article describes, you can do this via the UI in Visual … Continued

07th Jun 2012

Come see Crosslake at Agile 2012!

James Waletzky of Crosslake spoke at the Agile 2012 conference in Dallas, TX on Thursday, August 16 @ 3:30pm. The talk was entitled “Slow Down to Go Fast: Lessons Learned Shipping Bing Voice Search on Xbox : James Waletzky, Randy Santossio” and covered some best practices for Agile teams working in an enterprise environment. Hear … Continued

10th Jul 2012

Importing source code into TFS

Summary  In this video, we discuss some of the challenges of migrating source code to TFS and how we approach these conversions. Also, we discuss our approach to branching source code during the migration to TFS. And finally, we will demonstrate a source code import into TFS using a custom application that we wrote. Importing source … Continued

13th Mar 2013

TFS source migration opinions

We are often asked about source migrations that we have done for other teams. Below is an answer we posted to a thread on LinkedIn. We hope this helps you if you are considering migrating from another version control system to Team Foundation Server. Our team has done numerous source migrations in the past. Our … Continued

14th Mar 2013

TFS areas and iterations

Setting up areas and iterations in Team Foundation Server is often confusing to many teams, particularly around best practices. Here we have laid out a few best practices and how-to procedures to get you going in TFS 2010 or TFS 2012. What are areas? Areas are hierarchical breakdowns of components of the product that allow … Continued

16th Apr 2013

TFS reporting capabilities

We have been getting a few questions around Team Foundation Server reporting as of late. Our good friends at Microsoft (a Crosslake partner) on the ALM side have produced a slide deck that provides an excellent overview of reporting in TFS 2012, including a discussion of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports and Excel reports, … Continued

07th Jun 2013

How to rebuild a TFS Analysis database

Although not a problem we see often, some of our clients run into issues with a corrupt TFS Analysis DB, particularly after an environmental failure of some kind. This doesn’t lead to any permanent damage or data loss but needs to be addressed. Here is a set of instructions we developed for this. Note that … Continued

20th Jun 2013

Effective status reports

Status reporting is often a necessary evil in many corporate environments to keep stakeholders up to date on what is happening with a project. In our travels, we see a lot of weak status reports and generally help clear things up. While one could practically write a book on what makes a good status report, … Continued

25th Jun 2013

Documenting the architecture

“There is no documentation in Agile!” Documentation is one of those necessary evils in software development, particularly for teams that use remote development centers and need to rely on written communication more. We periodically hear the excuse, “We are doing Agile — we don’t need no stinkin’ documentation!” This is a misinterpretation of the Agile … Continued

27th Aug 2013

Customizing exploratory testing in MTM

When you create a bug or test case during an exploratory testing session with Microsoft Test Manager, only 10 steps are retained by default. Many of our clients complain that this number is too little. There are two ways to override this limitation — one globally (to the workstation), and one per bug. Global customization … Continued

03rd Sep 2013

Failing tests for minor bugs

Scenario Consider a situation where there is a test case with several steps, and one of the steps fails because a bug is present in the product. However, there is a workaround for the issue, and the decision is made not to fix the bug. The test case in which the bug is encountered, however, … Continued

18th Sep 2013

Source control folder structures

We have spent a lot of time lately talking to clients about how to structure their source control system. There are lots of documented branching strategies (we can talk about those some other time), but not a lot of discussion on how to structure folders, particularly how they relate to branches. A couple of options … Continued

10th Apr 2014

BOOK REVIEW: TFS 2013 Customization

We were asked to submit a book review of “Team Foundation Server 2013 Customization” by Gordon Beeming. This book provides a useful reference for anyone getting familiar with customizing TFS. Although not quite everything it could have been, the book acts as an excellent introductory guide to customization. Our full review is below. More details … Continued

23rd Apr 2014

BOOK REVIEW: ReSharper Essentials

We were asked to submit a book review of “ReSharper Essentials” by Łukasz Gąsior. This book provides a useful reference for anyone starting out with ReSharper or creating plug-ins. Our full review is below. More details on the book can be found here. “ReSharper Essentials” provides an excellent introduction to the world of ReSharper, from configuring … Continued

15th Feb 2016

Common Agile snafus

Things not going quite right with your Agile implementation? Want to learn about some common Agile problems before you get started? Crosslake has collected years of experience on Agile anti-patterns and collected them in a short eBook entitled “Agile Snafus”. Learn how to resolve common issues such as lack of management commitment, the supporting quality … Continued

18th Feb 2016

Technical due diligence checklist: Why acquiring firms need it

Technical due diligence is a highly recommended component of the technology company investment cycle, whether you are a private equity firm, investment bank or acquiring a company. Find out why, as well as some of the mandatory areas to explore with this technical due diligence checklist. Would you buy a new home without having it … Continued

15th Sep 2016

SAFe RACI matrix

The Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe, is a complex beast with many roles and activities strewn throughout the model. Our clients have told us that it is difficult to keep everything straight and that the learning curve for what happens when is steep. In fact, some have asked us for a roles and responsibilities matrix … Continued

28th Nov 2016

Maintain control, clarity and confidence through transformation by enlisting the help of an experienced partner

Transform. That’s a big word unless you are Optimus Prime. The term strikes fear into the most courageous leaders. Moving to Agile development or migrating a software system from on-premise or hosted deployments to Software-as-a-Service are Big Hairy Initiatives (BHIs). Often these BHIs need results swiftly, which is a difficult problem given the everyday challenges … Continued

19th Dec 2016

Considerations for addressing legacy code

The elephant in the room for many technology companies is their legacy software. Revenues are reasonable, but there is lots of potential for growth. The problem is that the elephant prevents further growth at an accelerated pace. Replacing a legacy product or service is no easy task. To replace or not to replace is often … Continued

24th Jan 2017

Successful distributed development — what you need to know

Distributed development is very much a reality as companies continue to get acquired and divested, and because costs and skill sets vary around the world, it’s also a necessity. The benefits include access to a larger pool of talent, the ability to increase the diversity of your team, insights into foreign markets and the potential … Continued

24th Feb 2017

Seven ways Agile leads to cost savings

Agile and Lean software development is a proven and effective model for software creation. Millions of software engineers understand and have seen the benefits of developing software in this way. Agile has advantages of increased collaboration, higher quality and improved morale, to name a few. For less technical people, however, what does this mean to … Continued

30th Mar 2017

Maximizing value using PaaS

Many companies are looking to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) infrastructure, to enable faster, standardized and more cost-efficient software development across their organization. Yet, some organizations get stalled shortly after implementation. At Crosslake Technologies, we have seen confusion at many companies who have implemented PaaS solutions, struggling with the question of “Now what?”. In this post, we review … Continued

31st Mar 2017

PaaS case study: Membership management software goes cloud-native

In an earlier post, we discussed how PaaS can help companies to enable faster, standardized, and more cost-efficient software development. In this post, we examine how one company set out on their first native cloud endeavor and what they learned with that first experience. This software company runs a broad-scope set of CRM SaaS applications … Continued

28th Apr 2017

Seven warning signs for how PaaS facilitates data migration

In recent years, a large and successful software-as-a-service (SaaS) company experienced tremendous growth, and with that growth, expanded its software development organization rapidly (~300% in 18 months). To enable the fastest growth possible, the company adopted a distributed development stance that saw code development functions and staff spread across multiple countries on three continents. Distributed … Continued

30th May 2017

How PaaS facilitates data migration: A path to implementation success

Recently, a SaaS company within the financial technology industry acquired a competitor and launched an initiative to merge both companies’ critical customer-facing applications and data. This was the latest in a series of acquisitions, leaving the company with several platforms that needed migrating. In this post, we will explore the problems that hampered the company’s … Continued

21st Jun 2017

The adversity of training

Training is one of the least effective ways to change behavior. “But wait,” you may say. “Training is everywhere! When my team needs additional skills, training is the best option and readily available. There are thousands of training organizations and lots of places to get training online!” While debatable in modern times, the 70-20-10 learning … Continued

15th Aug 2017

Making DevOps work for you

Making DevOps work is one of those things everyone wants. Out with the old and in with the new. But what drives that demand and how obtainable are the benefits? To deal with those, it’s worth establishing some kind of exact definition as to what DevOps actually is. Wikipedia comes to our rescue here and … Continued

04th Sep 2017

Why innovative businesses are migrating to microservices

To keep pace with changing market demands and competitor landscapes, as well as innovations from industry leaders like Amazon, Google, and Netflix, businesses of all sizes need to continuously modernize and (at times) re-invent their services and business models. This requires engineers to gain agility in their design, development and deployment processes in order to … Continued

12th Sep 2017

Comparing 3 major modernization strategies for legacy code

Having helped many clients on their journey to next generation technology, we often tackle the issue of modernization strategies for legacy code and platforms. From our experience, we typically see three options under evaluation: a complete code rewrite; doing nothing; or gradually refactoring / replacing code. In this post, we provide our view on each … Continued

29th Sep 2017

Using Docker containers for microservices

This article gives insight and analysis regarding container usage for dev pipeline of a software product built using microservices architecture. Innovative businesses are using a microservices approach because it enables the introduction of new applications that are independently deployable without disrupting the rest of the company. Context The microservice architecture provides excellent benefits for the … Continued

12th Oct 2017

How to structure an Agile software development contract

How do you structure a contract for the development of software in a world that has learned valuable lessons from Waterfall? It’s a challenge. From the perspective of a customer, the following guarantees are desired: A fixed set of functionality A fixed cost A fixed date A fixed (high) quality bar Unfortunately, fixing all of … Continued

27th Oct 2017

Will this scale? Part 1: Evaluating software architecture for scalability

Perhaps the most common question we get at Crosslake when performing technical due diligence on a company is, “Will this thing scale?” After all, investors want to see a return on their investment into a company, and a common way to achieve that is to grow the number of users on an application or platform. … Continued

28th Oct 2017

Will this scale? Part 2: Evaluating infrastructure for scalability

In Part 1 of this post, “scalability” was defined and scalability issues with the software itself were described. In Part 2, we look at evaluating infrastructure for scalability (i.e., anti-patterns that commonly affect scale). The scale is primarily accomplished vertically Because of anti-patterns previously discussed, adding new application or database servers may be difficult. If … Continued

22nd May 2018

How to measure R&D effectiveness when you're not technical

At Crosslake, we often get asked by people who do not have a deep technical background, “How do I measure the effectiveness of our software development team without understanding the technical details?” Investors acquiring software companies (e.g., private equity firms) and other less-technical leaders in a software organization often don’t know where to start. In … Continued

05th Jun 2019

Crosslake Technologies recognized as Amazon Web Services (AWS) Select Consulting Partner

Crosslake Technologies, a leading software consulting firm, today announced Select Consulting Partner status within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network. APN Consulting Partners are professional services firms that help customers design, architect, build, migrate and manage cloud solutions built on AWS. Select Partner Status represents a high level of expertise and engagement with AWS, … Continued

11th Jun 2019

VIDEO: How Crosslake helped to bring financial services to the "underbanked" in Africa

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation set out with an ambitious goal: to change the way the world’s unbanked communities access money. Current digital payment systems exclude those in developing nations and those living in poverty without bank accounts and smart phones. The foundation engaged Crosslake to lead a team of developers from four separate … Continued

23rd Sep 2019

Understand your risk — how protected are you?

It is important that security program objectives and controls are supported by the company’s leadership, business units, peer groups, partners and personnel from the top down. Business processes exist to drive revenue-generating activities. Applications are used to reduce the level of effort and mistakes associated with repeatable tasks, and these applications and supporting infrastructure must … Continued

15th Oct 2019

Cybersecurity's mental illness

Our profession can be a little crazy. We sometimes do things that fit the definition of insanity by dooming ourselves and committing the same mistakes again and again. We make it worse by allowing others (and ourselves) to believe the world is over because a breach occurs while mumbling to ourselves, “breaches will always happen, … Continued

18th Oct 2019

Collaborating to deliver open-source software for digital payment systems to benefit the poor

Those of us in developed countries have difficulty imagining what it would be like not to have access to a bank account — or any of the other benefits and security provided by basic financial products and services. For those in developing nations, it means they’re not able to save money or build credit. A … Continued

28th Oct 2019

Crosslake showcases client success with the journey to the cloud at Private Equity International

It’s no secret that the migration of enterprise applications, databases and workloads to the cloud is accelerating. The benefits of the cloud can’t be denied. From faster provisioning of resources to rapid application development and lower costs, the cloud is the future and the future is here. From outlining the business case to providing a … Continued

12th Mar 2020

Top books every CTO should read

A CTO’s job is never finished. In a rapidly evolving industry, it is challenging to stay on top of the latest information. Between leading teams and hitting deadlines, keeping up with the latest technological trends and leadership methodologies is difficult. While reading blogs and newsletters can help, they provide high-level information without the depth needed … Continued

23rd Mar 2020

Remote ramp-up — tips & tricks

With the recent unprecedented work environment most of us are in, we’d like to start an open discussion on how to go about your workday safely, efficiently and most important, successfully. Remote work is not the future of work for Crosslake, it’s the present. With close to 130 Crosslake certified practitioners across the globe and … Continued

07th Apr 2020

Pivoting to new realities with cost optimization and digital revolution: Unveiling quick savings and wins

We have all been thrust into a new reality that has forced change into hyperdrive.  This new and unexpected disruption is accelerating the need to think through our cost structures and develop and adopt more innovative digital solutions.   Our systems need to do more. Connect faster. Be more reliable. All at a reduced cost. … Continued

05th Nov 2020

Cloud cheat sheet

Considering a move to the cloud? It’s hard to make it through a day in life without hearing about the cloud. From news to product announcements, conferences, social media and articles, such as this one right here, cloud technologies are one of the constants in our lives. All of the major companies are utilizing cloud … Continued

07th Jan 2021

Falfurrias Capital Partners invests in Crosslake Technologies

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (January 7, 2021) – Falfurrias Capital Partners (FCP), a Charlotte-based private equity firm focused on growth-oriented, middle-market businesses, today announced it has made an investment in Crosslake Technologies. Crosslake Technologies performs technical due diligence work on behalf of private equity firms and supports portfolio companies after an investment to enhance technology-related processes and accelerate growth. … Continued

11th Jan 2021

Built In honors Crosslake Technologies in 2021 Best Places To Work Awards

Built In today announced that Crosslake Technologies was honored in its 2021 Best Places To Work Awards as one of the Best 100 Midsize Places to Work in Seattle. The annual awards include companies of all sizes, from startups to the enterprise, nationally and in the eight largest tech markets. “It’s an honor to be … Continued

19th Jan 2021

Falfurrias Capital Partners adds to Crosslake with acquisition of Corsis

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Falfurrias Capital Partners (FCP), a Charlotte-based private equity firm focused on growth-oriented, middle-market businesses, today announced the merger of Corsis, a provider of data-powered technology due diligence services, with its newest portfolio company, Crosslake Technologies. Corsis brings a consistent, data-driven approach to technology due diligence assessments through their … Continued

28th Apr 2021

Crosslake Technologies appoints Barr Blanton Chief Executive Officer

Former CEO Russ Albright to serve as Senior Advisor and on Crosslake’s Board of Directors. Former Corsis CEO Gregg Alwine to serve as Crosslake Chief Operating Officer. Crosslake Technologies, a leading provider of tech due diligence and advisory services to private equity firms and their portfolio companies, recently announced the appointment of Barr Blanton as … Continued

10th Jun 2021

Crosslake launches podcast

The Creating Value Beyond the Deal podcast, hosted by Jeff Chavez, Crosslake’s value creation expert, serves as an entry point for investors, deal teams and tech company professionals in the private equity space as they look to maximum the value of their technology investments. Each episode of the podcast will include best practices and insights on technology … Continued

24th Jun 2021

PODCAST: Unlock the Value of Cloud and Drive Enterprise Adoption

The cloud has become integral to modernizing IT environments and enabling the digital transformation of companies, large and small. A large-scale move to the cloud isn’t a simple lift and shift of applications and data from between platforms. It’s a complex endeavor that requires companies to build new capabilities. Listen to the podcast here.

07th Jul 2021

PODCAST: Considerations for Effective Buy-Side Diligence

M&A transactions take significant focus and resources. An efficient buy-side diligence evaluates the people, processes and technology of a target company to highlight untapped opportunities for growth, reduce risk and maximize the value of the deal. Before realizing any benefit, there are many critical considerations — from strategy and diligence to integration planning and execution. … Continued

12th Aug 2021

PODCAST: Demystifying Cybersecurity — Tips, Trends, and Strategy

Over the last two decades, private equity firms have doubled down on their cybersecurity investments, and it’s easy to see why. Last year broke all prior records related to data loss and cyberattacks. In addition, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have upped the sophistication of threats. From costly data breaches to paralyzing malicious … Continued

17th Aug 2021

Crosslake Technologies on Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies

Inc. Magazine today revealed that Crosslake Technologies is ranked 1,623 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. “We couldn’t be prouder to be recognized by Inc. alongside some of the most successful companies in the country,” said Barr Blanton, Crosslake CEO. “That said, this is solely a reflection of … Continued

08th Sep 2021

PODCAST: Maximizing ROI with Exit Prep and Sell-Side Due Diligence

According to Refinitiv data, the total value of pending and completed deals announced in 2021 has already touched $3.6 trillion year-to-date, surpassing the full-year tally of $3.59 trillion in 2020. The high volumes of transactions — 24% higher, year over year — shows private capital funding is flowing toward companies of all sizes. Strategic investors … Continued

23rd Sep 2021

PODCAST: Enabling People, Processes and Product Development

Did you know that over 95% of new products fail? Building a successful product is more than just designing it. It is important to consider the product’s competition, relative position and the product business model to create a comprehensive go-to-market plan outlining what to build and when. Join product management expert and Tachyon Solutions Founder … Continued

04th Jan 2022

Falfurrias-backed Crosslake Technologies acquires Renna Partners

Second acquisition in less than a year further promotes Crosslake’s leadership in data-powered technology advisory services CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (Jan. 4, 2022) – Crosslake Technologies, a leader in providing data-driven technology advisory services to private equity firms and their portfolio companies, announced it has completed its second acquisition in a year with the purchase of … Continued

09th Mar 2022

Meet Donell Peters, one of Crosslake's Women in Technology

Crosslake Certified Practitioner, Donell Peters, has been a woman in technology for more than 30 years. In honor of International Women’s Day, we asked her for a brief glimpse into her career working in senior positions at Adobe, First Republic Bank, Ripple, Autodesk and multiple startups. Here’s what she had to say: How did you … Continued

15th Mar 2022

Crosslake Technologies recognized on Inc. 5000 list of Mid-Atlantic's fastest-growing companies

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 15, 2022) — Crosslake Technologies was named to Inc. Magazine‘s third annual Inc. 5000 Regionals: Mid-Atlantic list, the most prestigious regional ranking of the fastest-growing private companies. “We are honored to be recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies. This accomplishment is a direct reflection of our global … Continued