It has been several months since I last posted. I have spent that time transitioning to a new role in Office sustaining engineering. I am the proud owner of a new title, I changed my office, my boss, my commitments, bought a mini-van and played 30,000 more songs on my Zune.
My new team is responsible for Office updates (in many, many different forms.) Comparing this to my prior role, which was more about developer audience management (or "marketing" if you prefer a poorly descriptive shorthand), there are interesting similarities.
As an audience manager we typically address problems at a segment level, enabling communities of people to be successful in more or less a programmatic fashion. We learn a lot about communities by engaging their members; you learn a lot in conversation with customers, as I did in engaging Office developers and by engaging executives in our customer briefing center.
In my new role there is little difference; we are engaged frequently by our customers with feedback. Some of those discussions are about bugs, some of those discussions are about product changes, some of them are about support policy needs, etc. In the end, both the marketing discussion and the sustaining engineering discussion serve the same end – ensuring our customers have the best experience possible with our products.
And it is for this purpose that I re-direct my comments on this blog. The quality of software should improve over time. This is an interesting aspect of our industry which separates us from manufacturing durable goods or textiles, and makes us more like health care or financial services. We are a service, we take pride in the work, and we’re here to ensure that our customers can utilize the service to their maximum advantage.
I’m still me, and I reserve the right to point out things, but I probably won’t dedicate too much time to the file format conversation in the future. I'll also confess to not being in love with the look and feel of the new blog. The platform changed while I was away, and I haven't caught up enough to update the site template. I'll get to that soon enough, I care enough about typeface/color/layout to do it in my spare time between diaper changes.
I look forward to sharing some of the more interesting tales about providing service to our customers. I am enjoying my new role, I have a great team and a worthy charter.