MOC 2631 Beta is over

The MOC 2631 Beta is over.  Whew!  What an experience!  Lots of excellent lessons learned. 

  1. Boeing and Safeco (our guinea pig companies) have some great employees!  Some good developers, architects, testers and project managers. 
  2. Many of the students really GOT Team System.  They saw how it could work in the team.  But almost everyone wanted to see more.  Both deeper content in their roles, and also more about how the other roles were using Team System.
  3. Beta attendees had some really strong feelings on how VSTS should be taught.  There are two schools of thought (roughly): Some attendees wanted to work with all of the roles, so they wanted to walk though an entire dev project acting as each role in turn.  Others wanted to stay in a single role, and work as part of an overall team.  This course was designed for the second group of folks, since we work with a team with many roles, each one working as part of the dev lifecycle, until a final project is built and deployed. 
  4. People are VERY patient with Beta software and beta courseware.  We had several problems, some of our causing (the courseware) and some not.  Everyone was very patient, very helpful, and full of good suggestions.  My faith in humanity is restored!
  5. Microsoft needs to spend some serious time explaining the difference between a MOC course and a MOC workshop.  In a course, the instructor teaches about 50% of the time, and labs reinforce the learning.  In a workshop, there is very little teaching.  Only the bare minimum is explained and attendees are expected to learn through self-discovery.  This throws people, both attendees and instructors, to no end.  Very few people ‘get’ it before having lived it at least once.  Most hard-core folks love it after a couple days, but some people prefer passive learning.  It’s tough to build a course for everyone, and workshops are an extreme example of this.
  6. Unless you’re doing a demo, try not to run TFS inside a VPC.  It has issues.  Our TFS had trouble holding up to the 11 student load and crashed at least once a day when load was high.  (It appears that having more than one or two people creating projects at the same time was enough to bring it down.)  Now, don’t get panicked.  We were running in a VPC.  Specifics: Host was a 2.8 GHz processor with 3 Gig of RAM.  We gave the VPC client 2.3 Gig of RAM.  We thought that might be enough to host 11 heavy users, but it couldn’t quite hold up.  Now, MS dogfoods Team System with thousands of users, so I’2013-08-28 13:50:17’m confident this is a configuration or VPC issue.  Still, we’ve followed all the set-up guides and tips and tricks we could find.  (And, yes, if we put VS2005 directly on the image and run it as an all-in-one VPC, everything works fine…  with a load of 1 person…)
  7. Still several user interface bugs in VS2005.  We’ve run into a reproducible error that drives us batty.  We have a web service project open that was checked out from source control.  We create a test by right clicking a method in the Web service.  Test creation fails.  If we close VS2005, and reopen it and reload the project (with the project already checked out from source control), it will create the test just fine.  This is just one of them.  We’ve run into lots!  (See the blog.)
  8. We love Team System.  Despite its bugs, performance issues in a VPC and a tendency to be a bit counterintuitive in the UI, both Rich and I love Team System.  Once the issues start getting solved and bugs fixed, this is going to be one very useful tool — one that I won’t want to be without!