On 29th of February, for the 1st time in our history, the Visual Studio ALM Rangers sim-shipped a dozen projects to Codeplex in conjunction with Dev11 beta. These projects deliver technical readiness content to the Microsoft field and external MVPs who leverage this content in their customer engagements. If a project includes features or tools, the source code is included in the download to support customization. See more details on our Rangers blog.
Who are Rangers?
Visual Studio ALM Rangers mission is to provide out of band solutions for missing features or guidance. Rangers are from Microsoft Product Group, members of Microsoft Services, Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVPs) and technical specialists from technology communities around the globe, giving you a real-world view from field practitioners. Rangers are distributed across the globe and have typically higher customer priorities. Usually, they work on Ranger projects in their private free time.
Our biggest gig ever!
70 volunteer Rangers worked together with product group members to create 20 Ranger solutions. This number broke all our past records and is the best example of what my manager calls “the Ranger muscle”. Additionally, this entire effort was time constrained between //build/ and Dev11 beta.
This is the list of projects which sim-shipped with Dev11 beta. The links take you directly to the Codeplex project site.
The following projects are almost ready and will ship in the next few weeks. Our strategy is to keep the excitement up by delivering a new project every week.
Content Production engine
Rangers create content just like any other engineering project. We use TFS and work item tracking for every Ranger project regardless of the content type. Our production process is RUCK which is loose Scrum. Our requirements engineering uses Epics, User Stories and Standard Personas to exactly specify what business value and production improvement must be delivered. These detailed user stories are then converted to HOLs (Hands On Lab) which in turn are leveraged as tests. To summarize, we construct guidance as an end2end engineering process.
Rangers and TFS Preview
Rangers were the 1st TAP customer who adopted TFS Preview across the board. We joined the TAP program but quickly moved to production after moving all current 20+ Ranger projects to TFS Preview. Just as a side note, we dog-fooded our own TFS Integration Platform to migrate our projects to the new environment.
Why beta sim-ship?
We heard from the field that readiness content and practical guidance always comes too late and mostly with low quality. With the Dev11 Readiness projects, we addressed both issues head-on. For our primary target group, ALM delivery experts, as technical field or as MVP, the primetime starts with beta. And of course for Rangers, that is the best way to deliver our mission statement which is all about accelerating adoption of Visual Studio.