Greetings, all!  My apologies again for doing such a bad job of keeping you up to date.  I have been absorbed with my duties as interim development manager for our team, and have not had much time to delve into the various technical things going on in the areas I’m still nominally dev lead for.  (Fortunately, I have great sub-leads that I can delegate most things to.)

 

My stint as interim dev manager has been an interesting one.  I’ve learned more about how decisions get made, how offices get assigned, and how things work at the divisional level.  I even got a tour of the vault where we have all the secrets of bug-free software and cold fusion.  (They wouldn’t, however, let me see Bill Gates’s rumored 30-foot replica of the Great Pyramid made of solid gold bars – I guess you have to make Vice President before you get to see that…)

 

My current challenge is trying to bring Whidbey coding to a close, balancing the pressures of feature requests, bug fixing, resources, and time pressure.  We are also embarking on some incredibly cool long-term efforts, which of course have to be balanced with more short-term needs.  It’s kind of funny, because with all the money we have in the bank you’d think it wouldn’t be a problem for each team to get a few extra people here & there whenever a need arose.  However, having all that money doesn’t mean we don’t need to be efficient and profitable (since all shareholders, which many employees also are, want to see the stock go up).

 

Recruiting has been interesting.  I’ve long done interviewing for Microsoft, and am pretty familiar with it.  But trying to fill multiple open spots within a team is a real challenge.  I have one position, development lead for source control integration and SourceSafe, that oversees some really interesting areas but I haven’t yet been able to fill.  It’s a real paradox that when I write a blog entry that has anything to do with source code control, I get tons of comments & feedback, but when I post a job looking for world-class candidates to lead development of this area, I don’t hear much back – and this when tech jobs in the US are said to be disappearing by the thousands every yet.  I consider myself fairly well-read and current on economic and technical trends, but I cannot figure out this contradiction!  If you’re qualified for and interested in this position, send me e-mail.

 

One interesting thing has been that of “politics”, which someone at a dev manager is supposed to deal with a lot.  Interestingly, there really hasn’t been any of the political stuff I expected – there’s no one person that you need to be afraid of or suck up to.  Instead, I’ve found that it’s simply a challenge getting multiple organizations to agree on anything, especially when they are driven by different pressures.  Then when you add that certain individuals are stubborn (or downright annoying), that’s when you start to get frustrated and feel like things are “political”.  But I’ve found that if you argue your case loudly & long enough, you can actually make things change.  So I’ve actually found this process-intensive and technically-hands-off position more of an interesting challenge than I expected.

 

Thanks for stopping by! -Chris

 

Disclaimer: There is some intended humor in the above blog entry.  There is really no vault with the secrets of bug-free software or cold fusion, and there’s no 30-foot solid gold pyramid.