What the Visual Studio ALM Rangers “voiced” in the FY11 Satisfaction Survey

For those that are following the Visual Studio ALM Rangers you are well aware that quality, transparency, collaboration, community and family are key words in the Ranger vocabulary. There are countless initiatives (Ruck, Hosted TFS, Rangers Talk, etc.) with which we have and are continuing to improve the challenging Ranger ecosystem and uniting Rangers within Microsoft and outside of Microsoft into one seamless and effective community.

In this post I will share the statistical results (which Robert MacLean loves), examples of candid feedback and the first action items that evolved in my mind to provoke some “collaboration” by you Smile

Statistical Results

Response Rate


We maintained a good (60%) response rate for External Rangers and managed to attract a greater number of Extended Ranger feedback.

SAT Scores


Looking at the scores above and the chart below, we can see two clear messages from the Rangers:

  1. We are improving in terms of the program, the solutions, and the selection of projects and most importantly with collaboration.
  2. We still have dissatisfaction (drop by 8 points) for the ALM Rangers Infrastructure, which services Rangers working in less than ideal distributed and virtual team environments.


Guidance versus Out-of-band Solutions


One of the two new SAT score we introduced in this latest survey is the importance of out-of-band versus guidance projects, whereby many of the current and planned Rangers projects are a combination.



The second new SAT score we introduced was a health check to see how many Rangers would recommend the Rangers solutions.

“Candid” Feedback Examples

As part of the survey we selected two lucky winners randomly, who included their alias and shirt size as part of the survey … the two Rangers who will be receiving a new Visual Studio ALM Rangers shirt are:

As part of the survey we asked how the Visual Studio ALM Rangers have changed since the days when we were known as the VSTS Rangers. Here are a few candid examples I selected from the pool of phenomenal and candid feedback. I bolded areas which I will cover under proposed action items at the end of this post.

If you notice your comment and a Star next to it, then please get in touch with me as soon as possible, because you are the winner of a Visual Studio ALM Rangers shirt.

Have we changed? … 7 examples

  • More Visibility, More outcome, less personal
  • Great progress! Even though dog fooding often introduces instability and inconsistency, we have a great infrastructure that is encompassing all Rangers and promotes the transparency ... looking forward to continued evolution 🙂
  • Significantly better. Shipping more, communicating more, starting to have a brand.
  • A more mature although dynamic approach. Bandwidth is a big issue and working with such a limited resources team is a big challenge, mainly for you guys in the management team.
  • It has become more structured, while at the same time following a more regular pace (before you can call it "hectic")
  • A lot more organized. Clear rhythm, project initiation, project management... this all makes contributing less vague and more predictable/plan-able.
  • Quality has been better for recent. Overall still skeptical about the program having participated in projects now. Still several issues around a lot of noise that drowns everything out even though there are tags. Meeting requests are added frequently to the calendar that have nothing to do with what we're actually participating in. It is a fire hose that doesn't provide much value which is the difference between the other distribution lists.

General comments … 5 examples

  • Projects tend to go dark and it is strange that after a long phase of high-priority effort, projects fall into a black hole before shipping.
  • Star The only suggestion I can make is to possibly improve the opportunities for engaging on a Ranger Project for people like myself. There are periods of time when I have a large amount of bandwidth. Others where I have none [I am currently working >90 billable per week]. I hesitate to take on commitments that run for a long time, because I don't want to end up in a "situation". Although, many times I would prefer to be working on a Rangers project, there are others who need me to be working on a paying gig. (And it would be nice if my wife saw me occasionally...but that's another story).
  • Star Great work this year guys.. The technology and infrastructure for external people could be improved. Maybe get them "-" accounts might help. Example of this is Lync specifically when using to for meetings etc. It was quite difficult at times to organise calls with them. The other suggestion would be to link the TFS Server and the Rangers SharePoint sites into the one. We could then use the power of the Dashboards to help gain visibility into the projects. The other thing which was a definite improvement on this year was the time zone management 🙂 However, to streamline it a little bit more next year, it would be good for people to understand each other’s time zones when they are signing up for work. This can help them select groups which are near them.
  • Love everything I've seen so far. This is a great program and I'm proud to be a part of it. Everyone so far has greeted me with open arms, and I really love the collaboration with people doing this in the field vs. Internal MS where I am. Can't wait to do more with the Rangers moving forward.
  • Star The rangers program is providing a great way to provide best practice information for TFS ALM. My only concern is that from external view it might 'appear as part of Microsoft'. I am not even sure this is an issue to anyone. I have certainly recommended the branching guidance to clients using SVN so the material, though TFS specific, can often have good information for others. I suppose this is a question of external ranger brand awareness

Action Items for FY12

These are the first of probably many action items that are emerging out of the satisfaction survey feedback, which will become part of our FY12 planning. I have added some of my personal thoughts, questions and requests in italic.

  • Stabilize and improve the Rangers infrastructure
    • Are there any rangers (especially external Rangers) who are interesting in joining a small working group to discuss and address infrastructure challenges?
  • Streamline the Ruck process to reduce black-holes and release delays
    • We are looking at parallel, rather than serial, phases for analysis, design, development, review and sign-off.
  • Find ways to maintain the transparency requested by most Rangers, while reducing the fire hose syndrome
    • Has anyone got any ideas how we can maintain complete transparency, yet reduce the fire hose effect?
    • Make membership of collaboration DLs optional instead of default?
    • Create focused DLs for collaboration, projects and meeting invites?
  • Nurture the Ranger quality to be collaborative and candid
    • Why are Rangers not taking advantage of Ranger Talk sessions to raise their concerns and questions?
    • How can we ensure that Rangers feel comfortable to be candid at all Ranger sessions?
  • Nurture the personal Rangers family mantra
    • Are we big enough or too big? Share your thoughts with us!
    • How can we ensure that the Rangers community maintains a personal and family feel?
  • Nurture the Rangers Awareness program and dismantling of barriers between external and extended Rangers
    • Do you still see blatant and unnecessary barriers?  If yes, talk to us!

Contact me direct, by email here or start a discussion thread on this post by giving us candid feedback!

Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous Chicken says:

    "Maybe get them "-" accounts might help"

    What is a "-" account?

  2. A "-" account could be a contractor (v-) or business guest (b-) account at Microsoft.

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