(If the tone seems a little strange it is because this was an update to the VSTS Team)

Last week one of the VSTS MVPs (Ed Blankenship) went WAY beyond the call of duty and spent his vacation time and frequent flyer points to fly himself to Redmond to spend a week on campus to deliver a VSTS community project(s)!  The three projects Ed was looking to tackle were: 

1. Package the Microsoft Process Template we use internally with TFS to the world via codeplex..

2. Create a set of “on boarding” content for Visual Studio Team System 2010 for the User groups to redeliver.

3. Go through Team Lab “Walk through” document in preparation of releasing to the community.

From the outset there was never any expectation delivering all of these projects but by the end of the week Ed had finished both: The packaging of the Microsoft Process Template* AND the Tech Review of the Team Lab document.   The only reason multiple projects were even chosen was in the off chance one became blocked /or finished before the end of the week. 

Overall both Ed and I felt the experience was very worthwhile and will be looking forward to doing it again.   (And yes I have already had a couple requests to do this by other MVPs and influentials.)

Highlights

While the delivery of the Microsoft Process Template to the community will be a great win, I feel the highlight of the week was having one of the MVPs, own and deliver a Microsoft project through Microsoft’s processes/channels– and well worth the estimated ~6 hours it took of my time to make this happen.

On a personal note Ed will be the fourth MVP we have had stay with us at the house since we have moved back to the USA (Tiago Pascoal, Grant Holliday and Anthony Borton were the first three). I must admit growing our ever expanding extended family since returning has been nice and they have been a good surrogates for our foster children in Australia.

Low Lights/Lessons Learned

The largest challenge we faced was the 5 day time constraint of Ed’s visit– we had all the time commitments of a starting a new CSG employee: creating contracts, getting a new badge, allocating an office, getting a network account plus all the tax associated with kicking off three new projects.  So what would I do differently next time?

1. Decrease the administration setup time.  Ed didn’t get his Cardkey until Thursday!  I NOW know it is ONLY a TWO step process getting an MVP started.  ( I went through several different forms/process to figure this out)   

    • · Microsoft E-Mail/Network Cardkey Access Agreement (ECA).  –Takes 1 business day to process (Could have been done before Ed arrived….)
    • · Headtrax Business guest account.  Takes 2 business days to process this after the ECA was FAXED in. (Again could have been in place before Ed arrived…)
  1. If possible extend the duration the MVP is here…in Ed’s case it wasn’t until Friday that he was driving his own schedule, scheduling meetings, finding meeting rooms working his way through bugs etc.
  2. Decrease the number of projects being worked on to just two.  While it was nice to have a two backups trying to kick off three projects pretty much guarantees too many meetings to get a lot of work done in a normal 8 hour business day for the first couple of days.