Visual Studio ALM Rangers – Tackling Lab Management a la “Ruck”

On 19th August we started a new exciting Visual Studio ALM Rangers project which is aiming to deliver both an out-of-band solution and guidance for the Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management product. To promote our usual drive for transparency, I will share a bit of the project vision, the proposed feature areas, the players and the “Ruck” aspect of the project.

The Vision …

Provide practical and scenario-based guidance, backed by custom VM Template automation for reference environments!

The Feature Areas …

The project feature areas show the main areas of focus on scenario based practical guidance, as well as the overlap with the VM Factory, which will be delivering the out-of-band solution.

  • Planning and setup user stories ... Setting up Lab Management
  • Lab maintenance stories ... Maintaining Lab Management environment with evolving projects
  • Test environments guidance ... Using Lab Management
  • Manual and automated testing guidance ... Effective testing with Lab Management
  • VM factory ... Golden template creation

The players …

We have a core team that is driving the project, as well as a number of competent and passionate feature area leads, contributors and reviewers from Microsoft product teams and services, as well as from the Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVP) and other technical communities in the field.

… the core team.

The rest of the team will be introduced shortly.

Ruck … huh?

As introduced by Brian Blackman, our Certified Scrum Master, the project will work in the spirit of SCRUM, Agile, and MSF, even though the rangers environment introduced unique challenges and constraints, such as dispersed geography (see Rangers Index for a map of where some of the Rangers reside), time zones, skills and most importantly the constraint of most Rangers having a day job to contend with.

The goals of cherry picking features from the various methodologies and frameworks and evaluating and testing them with this project, is to find a repeatable Ranger process and uncover best practices for use in future Ranger projects.

The focus is on collaboration, working within our constraints and challenges, and successful execution of the overall project.

We are currently referring to our process as “Ruck”, which in the game of Rugby, is a loose Scrum.

The Codename

We have codenamed the project “African Hawk Eagle” … AHE in short …which is the family name of the Eagle "Nicola" we adopted in South-Africa for our late son Alexander. The Eagle resembles the razor sharp focus of the Rangers and the importance of this project.

How can you help?

We would appreciate any feedback we can get from the field if you have interesting questions and/or experiences from the Lab Management field that we can or should consider as part of this project. There are many “lab rats” that have implemented this product and have gathered invaluable experience for this initiative.

If you are interested in future news on this new project, please keep an eye on this blog post, using the TFSLM tag.

Comments (1)

  1. Allen Feinberg says:

    Definitely interested in this project. Please create screen casts/vides and a detailed hands on lab format.

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