The Customer - Mergermarket is a business development tool designed specifically for the mergers and acquisitions sector, providing proprietary intelligence and analysis on corporate strategy before that strategy becomes public knowledge.

Situation - Mergermarket were looking to improve their implementation of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS), with some best practices advice and ALM consultancy.

Solution - Microsoft ALM Gold Partner Black Marble carried out a health check on the TFS infrastructure, as well as carrying out migration work and ALM consultancy.

Benefits - The implementation is now streamlined, working to ALM best practices, with legacy source code control systems incorporated into one TFS implementation with bespoke build and deployment templates all in two weeks.

Business needs

Mergermarket is an independent Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) intelligence service. It had carried out its own implementation of Visual Studio TFS, and was forging ahead getting its team up to speed on the tooling. However, it was keen to bring in an ALM specialist consultant to assist in making sure their implementation aligns with industry standard best practices and help consolidate the ALM tooling they had been using into one platform (TFS). This included merging legacy source code control systems into the new implementation, and away from Visual SourceSafe and Visual Studio TFS 2005 as well as migrating the current build processes from Team City into TFS Builds.


In discussion with the ergermarket team, the following plan was actioned:

  • Perform Health Check on the TFS Infrastructure including Build and Test Controllers and Agents. A number of issues were resolved following the outcome of this health check.
  • Migrate (snapshot) existing source from Visual Source Safe and TFS 2005. This involved a housekeeping process to make sure any redundant source was not migrated and that a new source layout was defined to help assist with branching and maintainability
  • Define a branching strategy for the migrated source. The approach defined for the migrated (legacy) source was a simple development main strategy where the main branch was as is live and development was the current sprint.
  • Review the change control process and management of database scripts in TFS.
  • Re-implement and refactor the existing build processes hosted in Team City into XAML based build templates in TFS. This involved an extensive amount of customisations to the default build template.
  • Workshop on Testing Tools, specifically Test Manager and a brief overview of Web and Load Testing

Mergermarket had previously moved from a manual process for build process, to an automated process for the compilation and archive of source using Team City. They used a set of scripts to manage the automated deployment of the source to an environment. These scripts were typically invoked by a user and not the build.

Black Marble created a bespoke TFS 2010 build template which meant that a build definition could be created on any source branch and automatically deployed to any environment as part of the build. The key enhancements this template had over the Team City build was;

  • A custom solution was written by Black Marble to dynamically calculate changes between source branches to fit the only deploy files that have changed since the last release approach.
  • Streamline the multi technology scripts and re-write them all in PowerShell
  • Option to deploy the source as part of the build to an environment.


  • Resolution of issues found in health check.
  • Removal of source code from legacy systems.
  • Assist with the creation of a branching strategy.
  • Consolidation of source code controls and work item tracking systems.
  • Provide training on Testing Tools.