Visual Studio ALM Rangers – Roles … dusting off some cobwebs and uncertainties

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As outlined in we have completed a large number of successful Rangers projects, have just started some new ones and will shortly send out invitations to new Rangers projects.

In all of these invites and associated kick-off meetings we talk about personas such as Core Rangers, Core Members, Feature Area Leads, Contributors, Reviewers, Subject Matter Experts, etc. … huh? To make an informed decision and ensure that you end up in the right role, we should probably dust off the cobwebs, the uncertainties and summarise the roles and expectations.

… in a nutshell …

Type of Rangers

At this stage the Visual Studio ALM Rangers have three types of Rangers:

Core Ranger A ranger who has successfully shipped a Rangers solution, as development lead.
Extended Ranger A ranger who is employed by Microsoft, typically in the product group, services, DPE or UE.
External Ranger A ranger who is not employed by Microsoft, typically a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional or Community Lead.

Acronyms: | DPE – Developer and Platform Evangelist | UE – User Education |

Ranger project roles

  Definition Expectations

Program Manager (PM)

This could be a thesis … in essence a PM assembles a team, aligns the team around a product idea and “ships” the product.

Product Owner (PO)

Owns the product developed by the Rangers and often acts as an interface between the Rangers and product team.

  • Passion, ownership, commitment … euphoric about product

Development Lead

Leads, guides and supports the project team, taking responsibility for product quality, team infrastructure and addressing team impediments.

  • Passion, ownership, commitment … lead by example, not chatter


Reviews content developed by the project teams.

  • Critical and candid feedback at all time
  • Bandwidth crunch is often encountered late in the project, when reviewing Alpha, Beta, Release Candidate and Maintenance releases


Contributes content to the project team, such as guidance, hands-on-labs or programs.

  • Takes ownership and responsibility for own action items
  • Never go “dark”
  • Bandwidth crunch is early in the project

Feature Area Lead

Works with development lead, taking ownership for a specific and focused feature area within the project.

    • Typically feature lead and a contributor
    • Coordinate contributors
    • Deliver status to dev lead regularly
    • Cannot go “dark” ever!!!

    Subject Matter Expert

    An expert who lives and breathes in the topic area addressed by the Rangers project.

    • Support the team technically
    • Passion and experience in technology

    In each Rangers project the Core team consists of the Product Manager, Product Owner, Development Lead, Feature Area Leads and optionally a Scrum/Ruck Master.

    Hope this helps …

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