Starting Ask Mode!

Check off another mini-milestone for Whidbey! Beta 2 Tell Mode is over, and we started "Ask Mode" today. Over the course of the last week, we finished up a round of what we called “aggressive” integrations of the source code branches and are currently in the process of moving to a single Beta 2 branch (we had a tremendous group of dedicated developers in the build lab all weekend). Once all the labs are up into the Beta 2 branch, we begin the stabilization process there and begin fixing bugs in earnest on the live branches.

To recap our Beta 2 schedule (based on Fridays):

  • ZBB: 11/19/2004
  • Security Push: 11/15/2004 through 01/14/2005
  • Tell Mode: 01/17/2005 through 02/04/2005
  • Ask Mode: 02/07/2005 … until we meet our release criteria, which defines all of the various quality measures for Beta 2.

To be exact, we finished Tell Mode on Friday, but have two teams that need through Wednesday of this week to reduce their bug backlog a little more. So, everyone went into Ask Mode on today except these two teams. We’ll take one last integration of their sources for Beta 2 on Wednesday evening, and then they will be in Ask Mode too.

So starting today, every bug that a team wants to fix for Beta 2 needs to be brought to ship room for approval. The first question asked is “what is the customer scenario?” and if we decide that the benefits sufficiently outweigh the risks, we’ll ask the team to go and check in the fix. Otherwise, they’ll move the bug to the next milestone and fix it in the live trees. We’ll probably batch up a few fixes early this week as we get the Beta 2 branch building. We typically lock the trees from any check-ins so we can stabilize off a non-moving base. Once we open the trees, we’ll take all the approved fixes into Beta 2 and begin building every night. My expectation is that we’ll have solid Beta 2 builds that we can hand off to QA by Thursday or Friday of this week.