TechEd is coming. That’s one of those conference thingy-ma-bobs that some of you attend to find out what I’ve been working on for the last year. Let’s admit it. It’s all about me. And I mean the collective ‘me’ for sure. I would not want to be stealing credit from anyone else. You pack up, kiss the kids good-bye and board a jumbo-jet heading for the Promised Land, with a smile on your face as big as Nebraska because you know there are some goodies waiting for you, waiting like a birthday gift wrapped and ready.
Your spirits are at an all time high, as you brush off every small inconvenience, the excessive taxi fare, the rude stewardess, the loudmouth sitting next to you, the coffee spilled on your lap, the child poking your ear from behind, the food that tastes like plastic, your bags arriving dead last, your rental at the far end of the lot, small and cramped with only an AM radio, the snooty hotel clerk, your missing reservation, the rattling air-conditioner, the orange and avocado décor, the cashews missing from the hospitality bar, and through it all you retain your honest smile, your vigor and relentless good nature.
Which is what we are counting on. And I don’t mean Microsoft, exactly, I mean us developers stuck back here while you’re all there partying it up like it was 1999. You see, happy conference goers make happy PM’s, and so that’s what this conference thing is all about really. Program Managers at Microsoft are the group of individuals that like to smile a lot, shake hands and hear themselves talk. You’ve probably seen people like that before. If you are going to TechEd you will certainly meet, greet and attempt to retreat from quite a few. Go easy on them; they actually think TechEd is all about the message, delivering the news to the likes of you.
But you see that’s not the reason for it at all. It was us developers that set the whole thing up in the first place, years ago, just as an excuse to get the PM’s out of the office for a while. “Sure, head on out and have a ‘conference’, take the whole week.” That way we can actually get the real work done. With the PM’s gone, that sort of frees us from the restrictions placed on what can and cannot get into the code. We don’t need no stinkin’ DCR’s. We don’t need no WAR committee deciding what feature is and what feature is not, no check-in policy, nothing. It is pretty much torture to wait the whole year for the opportunity to check-in changes with wild-abandon, but the pleasure is all worth it. And its definitely hard to let the PM’s go out carrying the ‘Beta 1’ version to all the customers, with all its squeaky clean ‘beta 1’ features; as if that was ever good enough.
Fortunately, we’ve also convince the PM’s there is this other thing called Beta 2. Can you believe it, ‘Beta 2’? Like, what’s that? But they took the bait; hook, line and sinker. “It’s an opportunity to take the customer feedback and work it back into the product before RTM.” Like that’s ever happened before.
Just thought I’d let you know.