Build some VSTS muscle!

Like most developers, I've grown quite wild over the years from a lack of formal instruction and code control. I name my variables any way I like, I unit test my code when the mood suits me, and I don't believe in methodologies; there for cone heads! So what do you do if you want to whip you and your development team into shape..? Like, NOW!?

My recommendation has been to start doing some VSTS exercises. The thing about VSTS is it's a beta product, and with the development teams in Redmond working furiously to get the RTM code sound, the software internals are changing more regularly than Longhorns feature list. This can be a real problem if you've already imported all your code into the new SCC system, and have started using the Work Item system to manage your requirements.

I think the best solution is to set aside some time every week as a team and work through a number of developed scenarios (exercises). These scenarios should be based on actual team development requirements, such as "Migrating source from current SCC to VSTS SCC" or "Creating Unit Test Projects". By working through these scenarios as a team, in a repetitive fashion, the team will develop a shared knowledge of the tool and platform, and be confident in their use of the tool when it RTM's.

The key to VSTS isn't in managing your SDLC now with the Beta; it's in being prepared to manage your SDLC when the final product ships in November, 2005. So fire up that Richard Simmons video (that's me on the right of Richard), crank up your VSTS Beta, and work it, work it, work it!