I'm overdue for a blog post that explains my new job. I'm still a "community stick weilders" in the Developer Division, but my role has been expanded to include both Self Sustaining Communities (think MSDN Forums) AND Developer Solutions (think Developer Powertoys).
Really its all about making our existing customers more successful with released products. Communities cover one end of the solution spectrum, but some pain points just can't be addressed with simple Q/A. That's where the Powertoys part comes into play. We're still busy putting together a great team of developers, PM's, and testers (see below, we are hiring) but that hasn't stopped us from making forward progress on 1st party powertoys for Visual Studio 2005.
The first three tools you'll see from us include the MSBee tool that allows for .NET 1.1 compilation from MS Build, a TS Administration tool that will allow you to more easily manage permissions on your Team Foundation Servers, and a “managed stack explorer” to examine running processes and get more detailed debugging information.
If you have any questions about the work we are doing feel free to post them in our new forum. It's been an exciting last few weeks and I love the team that we're putting together. The best part is that several team members are blogging. Craig (Dev), Kennan (Dev), Joe (PM), and as of today Sara Ford (PM) are all very passionate about making you more successful as a customer and will probably be talking about their work in real time!
I had a great time releasing the Powertoys for VS 2003 as part of my old teams "20% time", but that's nothing compared to what we'll be able to accomplish in the months to come with full time resources dedicated to the space. Does this show that you can follow your passion at MS? Is this evidence that 20% time here can turn into real shipping code? I guess the existence of our team is living proof.
FYI - If this sounds like fun to you feel free to check out our open job descriptions. I'll post some Dev and test openings soon as well.