I’m most of the way through “Leadership” by Rudy Giuliani and wanted to share two of my favorite excerpts so far. Read to the end to get a glimpse into how I see us applying the fundamental vision that could be extracted from them.
First, He talks about using transparency in the Citywide Accountability Program to make city agencies more accountable for the results they needed to achieve. There were four parameters that had to be met by each agency. The first three were focused on collecting data, establishing performance indicators, and making the leaders have to present/defend the results regularly. The fourth is explained in this quote:
“Ten or more representative performance indicators that the agency wanted on it’s page of the city web site must be submitted. Putting the information online held the departments feet even closer to the fire. The citizens and the media could hold the agency accountable at the same time the agency did… it would also be hard for whoever replaced me to remove the indicators once they were up there, lest he appeared to be covering up. That reinforced the idea that it was not only about answering to whoever was above you in the organizational chart, but about answering to the public as well.”
Second he talks about the importance of communicating your message honestly and directly with your customers.
“When you run a large organization there will always be a bias toward presenting you in a negative way… Probably the majority of those who cover any government and most corporations – have a bias against the organization. Their instinctive reaction is to assume, in any instance that’s open to interpretation, that you must be doing something wrong, taking advantage somehow. You have to find some way to offset this bias. One of the best is to communicate your true message directly, without spin, spokespeople, focus groups, or teleprompters… The more you explain things, the more people will understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Just let people hear what you have to say, because you’ve good reasons for what you are doing.”
These two quotes support the vision of transparency Microsoft needs to continue latching on to. These blogs have been a great resource for the leadership and the leaf node employees to communicate directly with customers. The momentum there doesn’t show much sign of slowing, but I feel we still have a long ways to go toward being accountable to our customers. With that in mind here is a glimpse into the future.
https://channel9.msdn.com/MSBuild/ is the brainchild of Alex Kipman. There are three things about this page that I love. 1. The guys in the “meet the team” section are the people building MSBuild. 2. The feed on the page is actually an amalgamation of feeds that cover MSBuild. You’ll even see posts from early adopters about the technology that don’t work for Microsoft. And #3. The wiki:
There isn’t anything special about a wiki really, but what is special is that this is now the MSBuild team’s wiki. They took their internal wiki and moved most of the content wholesale externally including the FAQ they built up doing internal deployments, their specifications, and the community wish list. The tables turned here. Instead of saying “What should I share with customers?” and picking a handful of things, Alex and his team said “What are the few things we shouldn’t share with customers”. I’m not kidding! Those few things stayed on the internal wiki and the rest now live here externally. We absolutely need to do more of this “inverse” thinking as we wrap up Whidbey and start working on Orcas. Thanks for being the first to step up to the challenge Alex.
https://channel9.msdn.com/DevDiv/ is a resource we’ve set up to “open the door” a little on our progress. The intro post I wrote sums up the mission and one indicator we track can be seen in the first post about bug resolutions that I test piloted on my blog here a while back. To be honest, I think we’d still be falling short of the Guiliani “ten indicator” requirement, but this is a start and I’ll be looking at more indicators we can track publicly over time. For now enjoy the two videos. We’ll have more soon. What would you like to see us publicly accountable for as we develop the product?