I returned to work this week from 4 weeks on the road (one week was vacation) and man I am glad to be back in sunny Redmond! I did this road-trip as part of a training class of sorts. The idea, as Josh says, is to get folks that are designing and building software at Microsoft out into the field to see how it is really used. Now, of course, this is far from a scientific data gathering exercise (Microsoft has access to plenty of “market research”), this experience was about getting visceral, tangible pulse of our customers and the Microsoft employees that server them most directly.
So was it worth the 3 weeks of time away during at critical period where we are locking down Whidbey Beta2 and the WinFX CTP? Yes! I learned a ton… and have several ideas for how to improve the product going forward. I am sure things will sink in deeper as I continue to share my impressions with my co-works here in Redmond, but here is a summary view of what I have learned. Notice there is no earth shattering revelation here.. at some level or another none of this is new, but I definitely have a deeper more tangible appreciation for these points.