VSTS Rangers … what has transpired over the past 7 months?


Yup, I have been with Microsoft and the VSTS Rangers for just over 7 months now and it is amazing how quickly time flies and how much has changed.

P7040232 On the personal front my boys have all grown by close to the length of two blue badge access cards, my oldest son has accumulated more air miles than I typically gathered in a year of hectic business travels and as a family we have slowly but surely fallen in love with the beauty and security of Canada. My favourite picture of our Canadian collection is still my youngest son enjoying Semiahmoo Bay (10min drive from our home in Ladner), with Mt Baker (volcano) in the background.

On the business front, the adventures includes the MVP Summit and two TechReady events, avalanches of acronyms and TLAs (three lettered acronyms), junk2numerous bus rides between Vancouver and Redmond, tidal waves of new processes, technology and people. I learnt a long time ago, that I literally know nothing … the past 7 months have proven my theory and I will therefore be able to continue on the exciting road of new discoveries, learning and also of making mistakes.  The options and opportunities are endless and the only thing I am actually worried about is not finding the recipe for the 48hour day, because there is simply too much to fit into a standard 24 hour day.

The VSTS Rangers have been in existence for more than three years and Bijan, the founder of the idea and the team, can be truly proud of the teams achievements. In 2007 the VSTS Rangers completed 12 projects, in 2008 completed 9 projects and this year we are looking at finishing 7 strategic guidance projects. The decline in the number of projects is a direct result of the increased complexity and scope of the projects.

As a team we have embraced the passion and experience of Microsoft Software Engineers, MVPs and partners around the world. Most team meetings require excruciating planning, to ensure we are able to accommodate all the various time zones. In addition we have finally introduced the VSTS Rangers home page, we are working on a recognition program to reward our team members for their invaluable efforts, we are working on improving the team collaboration environments, and working hard to raise the level of transparency  in terms of the VSTS Rangers program and the VSTS Rangers projects.

Other learning's I have made is that SDLC and ALM are viable engineering practices … all of those out there with a “we are not sold on it” attitude, make a plan to visit the Visual Studio product team and watch the combination of knowledge, experience, passion, perseverance and solid software engineering practices as the foundation to amazing solutions and quality.

I have also made many mistakes, like including an alias in an email that resulted in thousands of emails, planning too optimistically, forgetting that we only have 8 business hours per day, and more recently creating a poll for the VSTS Rangers to vote for their “champion” and leaving one of the real champions off the list. Oh well, I always tell my boys that making mistakes is a good learning strategy … so I will simply continue on the road of adventure and “learn” 🙂

Acronyms used:

  • TLA … three lettered acronym
  • MVP … Microsoft Most Valued Professionals
  • SDLC … software development lifecycle
  • ALM … application lifecycle management
  • VSTS … Visual Studio Team System

After the first seven months, I cannot wait for the next seven years 🙂

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