Introducing the Visual Studio ALM Rangers – Kevin Mack


Who are you?

My name is Kevin Mack, and I’ve been working in the software industry for 12 years, only the past 6 months have been with Microsoft.  At Microsoft I am an Application Development Manager with Premier where I help customers with a variety of software projects including ALM guidance, coaching, and the use of TFS / VSTS to support their development lifecycle.  Prior to being at Microsoft I was a Solutions Architect for new projects for a company called CAI, and also provided support and guidance to completely reinvent their ALM processes from strictly waterfall to agile and incorporating TFS work item tracking, MTM, Build and release management.  Outside of that I blog at MackBytes (https://kmack.azurewebsites.net) and TotalALM (https://totalalm.azurewebsites.net) and one of the creators of the git hub TotalALM VSTS Tasks (found here).  This is a github of custom tasks for Release Management vNext, which are built around extending the use of VSTS to include things like Tokenization, Zip / Unzip, Code Analysis, and other tasks.  I also recently was on DotNetRocks as a guest discussing Release Management vNext and VSTS (episode will air 3/8)

Additionally I also speak at user groups / code camps (Harrisburg Dot Net User Group, and Philly.net).  And for 5 years (until recently) taught at Harrisburg Area Community College as an adjunct professor, teaching Developer Fundamentals.

When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife, my kids (Daughter and son), and our two dogs.  I am a well-documented nerd, and a bit of a comic book fan and movie buff.

What makes you "tick"?

When I was teaching I got asked this question a lot, and my answer was always the same “Where else go I get paid to build and solve puzzles all day”.  What I love about this job is two-fold, technology is everywhere and our job as developers is to find ways to learn about a business and build solutions to make that business better.  Which to me is just a great challenge.  We are one of the few industries in the world where all of our missions should be to make the world a better place, and in most cases we don’t have to look hard to really see that impact in a real way.

And what I love about ALM / Dev Ops, is that I’m coaching and taking steps to make that value realization faster, and better.  So by helping developer shops see better practices and options we are creating a situation where they are quickly and reliably delivering more value faster to the business.  To go inline with Satya’s “Do More” philosophy, I love that we are seeing an era where IT is no longer this necessary evil, but seen as an agent of changes to improve the world and make user’s lives easier.

Where you live?

I live in Mechanicsburg PA, about 20 minutes south of Harrisburg.

Why do you want to join the ALM Rangers?

Like I said above, my passion is all things software and ALM.  And I welcome the chance to continue to grow in that capacity.  Two best pieces of advice my father ever gave me where “Career’s are like sharks…if they aren’t moving forward, they die”, and “When you find yourself being the smartest person in the room…find a new room.”  And while I don’t think I’m the smartest guy in the room, I took that to mean find new ways to challenge yourself and find new directions to contribute to the world around me.  So I am definitely interested in the idea of becoming part of a community that remains on the cutting edge of ALM, and will continue to tackle and address new challenges that the software developers of the world continue to face.

Twitter:  @KevinDMack

This post is part of an ongoing series of Rangers introductions. See Ranger Index (Who is Who?) for more details.

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