How the Office 365 Developer community can work with us

I’m currently in week number 10 at Microsoft, working as a Senior Product Manager in the Office 365 Division focusing on the Professional Developer Audience.
For those who’ve followed me prior, I was an architect in the Product Management division at AvePoint Inc for three years and a SharePoint Development Consultant in Australia since around 2006. Before joining Microsoft, I was also recognized as a SharePoint MVP for my work in the community mainly around my blogging, speaking at conferences, social engagement and open source contributions.
The reason I point this out, is that I’ve been in your shoes…not being behind the curtain and trying to find answers whatever way I can. Google/Bing was, and still is, my best friend when it comes to finding my answers! Most of these come from the MSDN Library, Blogs and StackOverflow.

One of the biggest long term gripes I had with Microsoft and especially the Office division over the years was that “they never listened” and “when they did listen it was always too late as it was ready to ship”.
In the last year or so I witnessed a change in the Office division, and Microsoft at large, around their listening skills and opening channels that they were listening in.
We simply don’t have the luxury of a three year ship cycle and have to get feedback a lot quicker and feed it back to engineering, content publishing and marketing. Our team is here to help developers build on the Office 365 platform. Without your feedback, we have no way of measuring how successful we are being.

Scaling

One thing with us all listening is SCALE. I was a little over eager when I started handing out business cards with my e-mail on it. Over the last 5 weeks I’ve been encouraging people to ask questions in the areas listed below. This is mainly because if I’m too busy, someone else from the Office Division will most likely be able to respond…or even more epic…someone from the community such as an MVP.

E-mail is simply the wrong place to reach out to me…so is Facebook or Twitter wall comments or private messages…even Yammer private messages…the reason being, we want the questions to get the widest exposure we can and also the answers too. Absolutely @ mention me on a Yammer thread to get my attention, but at least there everyone can see it and also respond in more than 140 characters ;-)

Response Times

All I ask is, please be patient with our response times…sometimes your curly questions take a while to find the engineer/SME who is responsible for it and get an answer from them. I’m learning to just give updates on open threads so you know there is some progress on your question. We have some tools coming that will allow us to better track the status across these various networks and also more importantly track ownership.

Where to engage

So if you want to be part of the conversation, the best places for you to join in are:

My Focus

Chris Johnson, my manager, wrote a great post yesterday on what our team is up to. Personally I’m working on building out a whole bunch of new learning material for Microsoft Virtual Academy around developing on Office 365. I will be sharing the plan for this publicly in coming weeks.
If you are migrating Full Trust Code to the App Model or VSTO/VBA to the App Model…I want to hear from you too. I’m working closely with our Patterns & Practices team (Steve Walker, Vesa Juvonen et al) who have been busy putting together a whole heap of samples to get you going here. I want to hear what works and doesn’t work for you.
You’ll also notice I’ve been focus a lot of rallying up big scenario code samples and publishing them on GitHub too. There are lots more we are just putting together too, which I really hope will help give you real world examples that you can tear to pieces to learn how things work.
On Thursday, the debut of the new Office 365 Developer Podcast will go live on http://blogs.office.com/dev. If you’d like to be on the show, please reach out in the Dev Podcast Yammer group.

So if you have feedback on the above or ideas, please post it in the O365 Dev Yammer groups and lets start a conversation!

Wrap Up

Every day is a new challenge and that is what I love about working with you and the rest of the Office 365 community every day! So please engage with us and help us to help you!

2 thoughts on “How the Office 365 Developer community can work with us”

  1. … Definitely … already we are noticing a change regarding the feedback and updates prior to a couple of years ago… keep up the good work guys! And thanks you’re making our job a little bit easier :)

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