I want to take a bit to describe one facet of working with partner teams. This type of activity happens very frequently and is critical to getting Office, as a suite, ready. There is not much technical detail here and I want to focus on the process.

One of our partner teams (teams that integrate with OneNote in some way - think Outlook or IE or similar) contacted us today about a bug they had noticed. This bug is currently - with our internal builds - causing a crash and blocking them from some testing tasks. There has been a bug filed against this crash and they wanted to get an update on when to expect a fix.

This is very reasonable and substitute a few nouns in the paragraph above (maybe a car shop needs new brake pads from a distributor to get a customer's car fixed) and you can see there not much specific about software development.

So what we do is this:

  1. Verify we have the priority of the order in which we work on bugs correct. In this case, we already had this bug near the top of our list so we did not need to bump it up the list.
  2. Ensure the bug has all the tagging properly set in our database. This becomes trivia unique to our tracking tools but we still want to make sure all partner teams that may be directly affected are notified and let them add this to their list of bugs and work items they are tracking.
  3. Send a quick email to the interested folks to let them know what the current status is. This just assures everyone that we saw and responded to the request.
  4. Then work on and fix the bug. When a fix is proposed, both test teams will be looped in to make sure the fix is proper and works for both teams, perform code reviews, and there are no regressions, etc…
  5. Finally, we have a team we call "triage" that will approve the bug fix to be checked in. All partners get notified at that point.

Again, this is mostly process rather than technical depth but it serves us well and keeps all teams on the same page. It has worked well over the years and while it may sound like it results in a little bit of extra overhead, it works out to be lightweight in practice. And effective, too!

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,

John