Microsoft blogging: "What do managers do..."

I often cite Microsoft as an example of corporate blogging that seems to really works: If you work with, for, against Microsoft (and who in the computer industry doesn't do one of those?) Microsoft Bloggers will give you a view into Microsoft's thinking, attitude, plans and challenges that is incredibly valuable

You (generally) won't learn any trade secrets. You will hear what you might have heard if you ran into this or that Microsoftie in a Starbucks or at a conference. But few people do

Exhibit #1 is a recent post by Steven Sinofsky, a very senior Microsoft manager, about how Microsoft thinks about management, how it structures its development teams, and what kind of people and performance it values.

"The typical organization in Office development is one where there is a group of about 5-8 developers (we’ll use developers for this post, but the discussion is just points of the dev/test/pm triad) managed by a lead developer.  That is the first level of management called a feature team.   

There are then 3-5 leads that report to a development manager.  That is the second level of management, usually called a group.  The development manager reports to a general manager or an executive manager that represents the place that development, testing, and program management come together.  This structure is matched by development testing and program management (where there are about equal numbers of testers, and about half that number of program managers). 

The general manager or executive is where the product or technology comes together (think SharePoint, or Excel, or the new Office “12” user interface).  In some groups, if there are a lot of products or a very large team there might be one additional level of management. 

I manage these general managers.  My boss manages the overall Office P&L, so marketing, finance, HR, etc. as well as other products report to him." (from What do managers do and how big should my team be?)

If you have ever tried to develop a relationship with a Microsoft product group information like this, basic as it is, is  really important. Check out Steve Sinofsky's blog. It has many other gems just like that one.

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Posted on September 26, 2005 and filed under Life, Technology.