Since we introduced the Visual Studio 11 Readiness on the Visual Studio ALM + Team Foundation Server Blog, as part of the Learning about the Visual Studio ALM Rangers and how they embrace products announced at //BUILD/ post, we have received a number of questions which I would like to answer in this post.

image Please refer to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=244348 for the latest release news of the “GIG” for the BETA, RC and RTM releases!

When did the Rangers start with the initiative?

We have been discussing the feasibility, pains, motivation, vision and benefits for some time, but officially “kick-started” the initiative on August 31st.
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Why are we doing this gig?

Definition of Gig according to http://definitions.dictionary.net/gig: A job for a specified, usually short period of time.
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We are responding to many of your pains:

  • Readiness content is often available too late
  • Focus of content is often on what are the feature, not scenario based how to use them
  • Know-how is often scattered all over the web
  • Nobody builds readiness content for your role’s special needs

This literally translates to: It is hard to impossible to adopt new technology and get ready in time! … and we are planning to change this with this Gig!

This is our biggest Gig ever, which explains both the excitement and stress that you will notice in the eyes of many Rangers Smile

Which projects are included and what are their objectives?

We introduced the projects and their respective leads in a series of blog posts, but here is a table with the twenty candidates and their proposed objectives:

Project

Objective

ALM Assessment Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for measuring ALM maturity and recommendations for planning and implementing ALM.

Branching and Merging Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for branching and merging strategies on Team Foundation Server.

BRDLite Reference Templates

Reference templates for the Build Customization Guidance.

Build Customization Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for the use and customization of Team Foundation Build.

Coded UI Test Automation Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for CodedUI testing, using maintainable and automated tests.

Microsoft Test Manager Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for Test Manager and extensions supporting instrumentation using Intellitrace and CodedUI test development.

Practical Kanban Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for the use of Kanban in Team Foundation Server.

Practical Ruck Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for the Visual Studio ALM Rangers Ruck process.

Rangers Personas and Scenarios

Common definition of personas and scenarios used in Visual Studio ALM Rangers guidance.

Requirements Management Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for Requirements Engineering (RE), which addresses people, process and technology for Team Foundation Server.

Team Foundation Server Azure Practical Guidance

Practical guidance on using TFS Azure, based on the TFS Hosted Technology Preview and the use thereof by Rangers.

Team Foundation Server Integration Tools

The Team Foundation Server Integration Platform and Tools facilitates the development of tools that integrate Team Foundation Server Integration with other systems.

Team Foundation Server Process Template Customization Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for Work Item Tracking (WIT) and Process Template customizations.

Team Foundation Server Team Project Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for the implementation of Team Foundation Server.

Team Foundation Server Upgrade Guidance

Practical guidance for the upgrade scenarios and post-upgrade issues for Team Foundation Server and associated technologies.

Test Case Branching Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for branching strategies for test cases and supporting tooling.

Visual Studio Architecture Tooling Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance for the Visual Studio Architecture tooling.

Visual Studio Lab Management Guidance

Provide practical and scenario-based guidance for Visual Studio Lab Management, backed by VM Factory automation.

Visual Studio Quick Reference Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance and an overview of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server in the form of compact quick reference sheets, allow users unfamiliar with Visual Studio to get a “quick” overview of features, value and associated Rangers guidance.

VM Factory Guidance

Practical and scenario based guidance and a reference implementation of a software solution that automates the creation of Microsoft environments, in particular Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server.

The solutions are predominately guidance focused, with a pinch of out-of-band solutions and tooling in some of the solutions such as test Case Branching Guidance, Architecture Tooling Guidance and the VM Factory Guidance.

The graphical version of the above table is:
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As shown by the illustration the Rangers readiness is referencing and building on other content, for example the phenomenal Brian Keller’s VM and associated hands-on lab content.

Who is involved with the initiative?

At the time of chiselling this post, we have 110 Visual Studio ALM Rangers who are committed to this initiative. These Rangers are members of one of the Microsoft groups (product group, services, user education and evangelism), one of the ALM communities or are from our family of ALM Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). This results in Ranger solutions that include a combination of unique vision, technical expertise and in-the-field (real world) experience.
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If you are wondering what a Ranger is, then try this recipe:

  1. Take a subject matter expert
  2. Add a huge portion of passion for technology
  3. Add a huge portion of passion for the ALM community
  4. Add a sprinkle of commitment, personal time and creativity
  5. Shake (not stir) the ingredients
  6. Place the mixture near adoption blockers or missing features and watch the Visual Studio ALM Ranger materialize
    :)

Why is it a big deal for us?

The Ranger community typically delivered 4-6 solutions per year … with this initiative we are working on delivering 20 solutions in less than half a year. This required us to reengineer our infrastructure and processes such as Ruck, supporting scalability, smaller teams and agility. We have lots to dogfood, lots to learn and this “Gig” will probably become an interesting showcase for virtual teams.

Brian Harry recently announced the Team Foundation Server on Windows Azure: A Preview is available! The Rangers have been dogfooding the environment for some time and with this initiative, or gig, we are literally banking our initiative on the TFS on Azure environment. We are not only continuing our active dogfooding with more than 20 team projects, but compacting our learning's, experience and guidance in the Team Foundation Server Azure Practical Guidance project mentioned above.

How can I join the initiative?

To join the initiative you have to join and commit to the Visual Studio ALM Rangers. But how … ?!?
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  • Microsoft FTEs need to apply for membership to the vstser group
  • ALM MVPs should contact the Rangers
  • Everyone who does not fall into either of these categories need to be recommended by an existing Ranger

Please visit Everything you ever wanted to know about the Rangers for more information on the Rangers.