Scope creep

Anyone who has ever developed a software product knows the term.  Nearly anyone who has ever been responsible for project planning understands the term.  People who work with other people to define a set of requirements for a contract understand it's extremely difficult to have the magic crystal ball with pure clarity of vision at the get go.

So for those of us mere mortals, we must live with the ever changing environment to survive.  Very few of us have the ability to think through problems and really visualize an end result completely.  Coders tend to think about the paths that are possible.  But it's really hard to pivot on all of the possibilities to understand the scope, or more accurately the amount of rope you just used to hang yourself with.

We're working on some screencasts for the Windows Server 2008 team.  We're going to do at least forty of them on various dimensions of the product.  I've already done a few and you've seen the Windows Server virtualization (WSv) 10 Minute Tour I did a few weeks ago.

So when Chris Henley said he needed help, I of course volunteered.  He has this spreadsheet where he has outlined the "Fab 40".  It's a rough outline.  Heck, it's not even an outline, it's really just general topic names.  So I looked down the list of topics and penned my name next to the "Core" topics.  I figured I'd done this before so how hard could it possibly be?  Shoot me now...  I'm kidding, I actually dig Core.

The only reason it's hard is because I'm one of those people who really wants to understand a lot about all of the possible paths.  It probably has something to do with the fact I was a professional developer for years before settling into the IT Pro career space.  So the scope creep in this case is self induced. 

jack I decided to take a different approach to this round of screencasts I'm recording.  I still haven't completed the vision but it is starting to gel.  I'm testing a few things along the way.  So the scope creep is creeping in from two directions, and it's all my fault.

First, there's the technology aspect of Windows Server 2008.  Setting up and running a Core server is pretty easy, but the hard part is learning all of the command line syntax, figuring out all of the new deployment methods, building a test environment, testing, writing some demos scripts,  re-testing, recording, re-recording all of the takes, taking snapshots along the way, etc.

The second part is the post production work.  This is Keith Combs Studios.  Meaning... I do the entire enchilada.  And this time I'm going to add myself to the screencasts.  I'm planning three things.  I'm going to show you the golden baked chicken as I pull it out of the oven.  Think of this video as the Technical Overview of what we are trying to accomplish with Windows Server 2008 Core.

Then I'm going to show you each step of how we got there.  The steps will be accomplished two different ways.  I'll give you a whole bunch of individual demos that are short clips of about 5 minutes each.  I'm also going to wire all of those demos into a full length video with slides and videos in between.  Think of it as the feature film.  I have no idea how long it's going to be yet, but my vision says about 40-50 minutes long.

The little clips I mentioned will have blog postings and links.  That way, if you want to reference something particular like Core networking, you don't have to fast forward because you can go right to the blog post and video.  I think you'll like the full feature if I do it right since I'm planning to add narrative between the demos in order to add context.

I have a significant amount of the pre-production work done.  I've recorded close to half the videos and will be recording another twenty five percent or so Monday.  The biggest challenge is coming.  The biggest challenge is deciding how big of a scope do I take on for Core deployment.  Most likely I will simply run out of time and have to cut back on this area.  That's ok, we can do a whole series just on deployment.  At the very least we'll check out some of the new tools and get you thinking about the possibilities.

So as you can see, we have a bunch of new content and information coming.  We'll be publishing the goods through several vehicles including blogs, newsletters, and a some other surprises we'll announce mid November.  So stay tuned.  Lots of Windows Server 2008 information coming, assuming I can keep the creepy scope critter at bay until after all Hallows Eve.

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