Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects

Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Online pdf

Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Online

Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects – With this ebook, the ALM Rangers share their best practices in managing solution requirements and shipping solutions in an agile environment, an environment where transparency, simplicity, and trust prevail.

The ebook is for Agile development teams and their Scrum Masters who want to explore and learn from the authors’ “dogfooding” experiences and their continuous adaptation of software requirements management.

Product Owners and other stakeholders will also find value in this ebook by learning how they can support their Agile development teams and by gaining an understanding of the constraints of open-source community projects.


The ALM Rangers are a special group for several reasons. Not only are they innovative and focused on the real world, providing value-added solutions for the Visual Studio developer community, but they live and work in all four corners of the globe. The ALM Rangers are a volunteer organization. Talk about dedication! When we were offered the opportunity to write a foreword for this book, we knew we’d be part of something special.

The ALM Rangers don’t pontificate that they’ve found the one true way. This is practical advice and examples for producing great software by those who’ve done it and–most importantly–are still innovating and coding. Readers will find that they have virtual coworkers who share their experiences with honesty and humor, revealing learnings and what has worked for them. This doesn’t mean that this book lacks prescriptive guidance.

The Rangers have embraced Visual Studio Online as their one and only home. They are evolving with the product, embracing open source software in GitHub to learn how successful OSS projects are run there and what the community values most. They’ve created an ecosystem that identifies the “low hanging fruit” and tracks it from idea to solution, and they never fail to recognize the Rangers and the ALM VPs who dedicate their personal time and passion to their OSS projects.

The extensive guidance shared here is not an end-to-end plan for everyone, although it could be used as a definitive guide for some teams. One of the many assets of this book is its organization into practical walkthroughs of typical ALM Ranger projects from idea to solution, presented as an easy to consume reference. Other bonuses are an appendix to quick-start your own project and reference checklists to keep you on track.

Among the authors, this book was called the “v1 dawn edition.” True to their core value of “learn from and share all experiences,” the ALM Rangers are always mindful that producing great software means continuous refinements from new learnings and feedback and that there will be more versions of this book. But first we invite you to immerse yourself in Managing Agile Open-Source Software Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio Online.

In the true spirit of Agile, ongoing innovation,

Sam Guckenheimer
Clemri Steyn

This book assumes that you have at least a minimal understanding of Agile, Lean, and Scrum development concepts and are familiar with Team Foundation Server (TFS) and Visual Studio Online (VSO). To go beyond this book and expand your knowledge of Agile practices or Visual Studio technologies, MSDN and other Microsoft Press books offer both complete introductions and comprehensive information.

This book might not be for you if …
This book might not be for you if you are looking for an in-depth discussion focused on the process, development, or architecture of software requirements, tooling, or practices.

Similarly, if you are looking for source code or guidance on ALM, DevOps, or proven and official frameworks such as Agile, Scrum and Kanban, this book will not be fully relevant, and we recommend that you consider these publications instead:

Organization of this book
We divided this book into four chapters and two appendixes, intended as easy reading to get you started and later as an invaluable reference as you, your team, and your process mature in a complex environment.

The appendixes focus on technologies, checklists, and supporting guidance. Chapters 1 through 4 take you through a practical and simple lifecycle that starts with triaging ideas and moves to getting ready, building the solution, and raising the quality bar, with a focus on requirements management, not tooling.

Chapter 1, “Triage of ideas” We describe our use of Visual Studio Online (VSO) to drive the requirements, prioritization, ownership, and management concepts. Every working solution starts with a great and neatly pruned idea!

Chapter 2, “Getting ready” As part of training-research-planning (TRP), we gather as a team, understand the why and the what, and agree on the how. Looking back at a number of projects tackled by our geographically distributed, volunteer, and part-time teams, it is evident that this phase is pivotal.

Chapter 3, “Building the working solutions” We switch from planning and enter the development phase, where the rubber meets the road—executing our plan, implementing features and their associated value, and shipping working solutions quickly and often.

Chapter 4, “Raising the quality bar” We complete an adventure by raising the quality bar and planning the future. This is an opportunity for the team to innovate, plan, and reflect on the project and the overall process to support continuous improvement. It provides the time to complete activities often forgotten or postponed during critical development and testing phases, especially with geographically dispersed and part-time project teams.

Appendix 1, “Supporting toolbox” A collection of templates, checklists, and gadgets that can be used for quick reference and for enabling teams to get started in a consistent way.

Appendix 2, “Eating your own dogfood is key” A collection of proven technologies and techniques we have used 24/7 on our projects. We share our cherry-picked and tailored framework and learnings, allowing everyone to reflect, discover possible improvements, and continuously improve the way they work.


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