Michael Earls sparked quite a debate with his posts over the last couple of months about asking Microsoft bloggers to blog more about the present, because although the future is interesting and good to stay on top of, it’s not applicable to daily life. Of course, most of the blogs he’s probably referring to focus on development technologies rather than IT/end-user like I do, but it’s still a good point.
First off, I think any Microsoft employee should be capable of taking feedback such as what he wrote and figuring out how to change things for the better, or at least clear up any misconceptions. If anyone reacted to that feedback by yanking Microsoft employee blogs entirely, that would be a horrible thing, and I’d like to think that there’s no one here who would ever consider that. We get feedback all the time, much of it negative, and part of working on a software product is being able to turn feedback, positive or negative, into something constructive – better documentation, improvements in the product, improvements in processes like product support, etc.
One interesting thing I have garnered from this discussion (see the above entry for links to other blog entries from Michael and Dare and others that discuss this) is that, in addition to helping promote the existing blogs that focus on the current version, we should also encourage our product support engineers to blog. Most folks on the product team (and many folks with titles like ‘evangelist’) spend their days working on the next version, but PSS is focused almost entirely on the existing version (and probably one or two versions back). Heck, most PSS engineers for Exchange know more about the product than I do. I can go deep in a few specific areas that I helped design or have worked with a lot, but many PSS engineers have such a broad base of knowledge across the entire product, it’s mind boggling.
And on that note, I’m working on organizing a group blog for the Exchange team, to launch sometime in February. Several PSS engineers will be participating in the blog, as will program managers, developers, testers, documentation/sdk writers, etc. I’m really excited about this opportunity to put human faces on the people that make Exchange happen. If this sounds interesting to you, keep an eye on my blog (or the other excellent Exchange blogs such as http://hellomate.typepad.com) and I’ll announce it in a few weeks.
P.S. I was thinking about not mentioning the plans for the Exchange blog so that I could announce it when it’s already up rather than risk promoting what might seem like vaporware… but then I realized that one of my goals in blogging is to be more open about our plans, and so I decided to ‘scoop’ myself.