Understanding the Visual Studio ALM Rangers (aka.ms/vsaraboutus)

Understanding the Visual Studio ALM Rangers (aka.ms/vsaraboutus)

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The Visual Studio ALM Rangers provide professional guidance, practical experience and gap-filling solutions to the developer community.


Core values

As a team the ALM Rangers have come to value the following:

Razor sharp focus on quality and detail on the work we do

  • Favor simplicity and low tech over complexity
  • Expect and adapt to change, delivering incremental value

Accountability and commitment

  • Actively manage the project triangle attributes: features, bandwidth and cost
  • Never go dark … always share the good, the bad and the ugly with the team

Non-stop and unrestricted collaboration

  • Empower the ALM community
  • Embrace open communications

Global transparency and visibility through collaboration and shared infrastructure

  • For all initiatives, track and publish status on a timely basis
  • Access to everything for everyone

Empathy, trust, humility, honesty and openness at all times

  • No one knows everything; as a team we know more
  • Learn from and share all experiences

Regular dogfooding of Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management tools

  • Improve productivity of ALM Ranger teams
  • Gather and share real-life experiences

Who are we?

We are a group of around 150 part-time volunteer engineers with 2 full-time Ranger PMs (Anisha Pindoria & Willy-Peter Schaub), and we are scattered across the globe.

What do we do?

We are focused primarily on the delivery of out-of-band tooling and practical guidance to remove adoption blockers in real world environments. Typically an ALM Ranger solution is a hybrid of practical guidance and supporting out-of-band tooling and sample code.


Why do we do it?

We do what we do, to help accelerate the adoption of Visual Studio ALM. We gather actionable product feedback from real-world situations and customers and relay this to the Product Group, as well as identifying gaps in the product and filling them!

Typically, the ALM Rangers spend their personal hours to do the Rangers project work, and, not just anyone is invited to participate — Rangers need to be knowledgeable about Visual Studio and ALM, have the desire to strengthen the community, and contribute regularly.

Our history

The Rangers program began in March 2006 as a joint venture between the Visual Studio Team System team and the Worldwide Communities program, part of the Office of the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) in the Microsoft Services organization. A couple of years ago, we renamed our program to the Visual Studio ALM Rangers.

Frequently asked questions

How do I contact you?
  • Preferably, contact your favourite and regional ALM Ranger from aka.ms/vsarIndex.
  • Alternatively contact us here.
How do I join the ALM Rangers?
  • Please contact your regional ALM Ranger and request him/her to submit your nomination to Anisha Pindoria or Willy Schaub.
  • Submit the following information as part of your request:
    • Overview
      • Why do you want to join the ALM Rangers?
      • Short and crisp bio, answering the common 5 index questions. See aka.ms/vsarIndex for examples.
      • Who you are?
      • What makes you “tick”?
      • Where you live?
      • Optional, if applicable
        • Why are you active in or with the Rangers program?
        • What is the best Rangers project you worked with and why?
    • 1-3min video of you with a quick intro, for example, covering answers above.
    • One or more non-IT (business) photo which includes you.
    • Contact details, including MSA (LiveID) account, contact email, postal address, and telephone number.
Renewing membership?
  • To remain an active ALM Ranger you need to be actively involved in the ALM Ranger community.
  • Renewals and special awards, such as distinguished or champion Rangers, are based on feedback from your peers.
How do I recommend a new/upgrade project idea?
  • ALM Community, MVP:
    • Add your idea to Visual Studio UserVoice with as much supporting information as possible.
    • Encourage your communities and peers to vote for your idea, as project idea triages are based on strategic value, community value and number of votes.
    • Information needed:
      • What is the goal?
      • Why is it important?
      • When is a solution needed by?
  • MSFT
    • Contact the ALM Ranger PMs.
    • Information needed:
      • What is the goal?
      • Why is it important?
      • When is a solution needed by?
      • Who are the SMEs to contact for more info?
      • Who is the product owner?
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  • Please add 1 and 5 and type the answer here:
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  • I was hoping your site would have some guidance on best practices for work items in TFS ALM in general or in certain process templates, but I have not found any.  Do you know of any good articles, guides, or blog posts on this?  Mostly, I am looking for guidance on how to work with the TFS ALM paradigm instead of against it.

    I am formulating some notes for my company, with guidance such as "DO NOT nest work items of the same type--DO NOT create a hierarchy of work items of the same type.  DO change your work items' organization to fit the built-in hierarchy of TFS: Epic > Feature > User Story > Task. "

    Anything out there that can help us learn from other teams' experiences would be appreciated.

  • (continued from previous) please reply if you can to pszalapski@gmail.com.

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