Inside the Chocolate Factory

What would you like to know about Microsoft? I mean, is there anything about what we do that seems mysterious? Or really stupid? Have you ever asked yourself: "How the heck do they do that?" Or: "Why did they do it that way?" Maybe: "What's a typical interview like?" Are you curious about how we gather our software requirements? Or maybe what we do in our usability labs? Have you wondered what it takes to pull off an event like TechEd, PDC, or MIX? Or perhaps you want to know what a PM actually does in their day-to-day job. Or how we put together a developer lab. Who knows?

Well, I'd love to know. And although I'm all about transparency, I'm afraid I have to be a little opaque about why I'm asking this least for awhile. But, you have my promise that it's for a good reason. So, feel free to reply to this post with a comment, or contact me via e-mail. And if you have any friends or family who might also be curious (especially if they don't work in the computer industry), I'd like to hear from them too.


Comments (4)
  1. mitch.wheat says:

    Hi Michael

    I like to know how Microsoft does the following (2 of these you already mentioned as examples):

    1) How does MS gather software requirements?

    2) A week in the life of a Product Manager

    3) A week in the life of a Program Manager

    4) How does MS move Research ideas into products? Or more importantly, plan the research program, so that it generates applicable results?

    5) How does a developer go about working for Microsoft?

    6) What does the career ladder look like at Microsoft?

    7) What have you done with Charlie? 😉


    Mitch Wheat

  2. Bruce says:

    I think the main thing many of the IT folks around me wonder is just how what I/we do compares with how Microsoft does it.  Like how do you run projects (e.g. Agile/Waterfall), what are the roles, test-driven?, how are builds done (continuous integration?), how do you do design (what patterns are popular), version control, defect tracking (products and processes), managed vs. unmanaged code (when/why), are the rumors about interviewing at Microsoft really true? etc.

    What I hear from friends and family usually surrounds the OS, Office or XBOX 360, such as What does $400 for a new OS/Office pay for, how much testing has it gone through, is it secure, why would I want it, does Microsoft use American workers or Offshore most of the work, how much can I trust such a big company, when will Halo 3 come out :-), etc.

    If I think of something more specific I’ll send it, but these are the major themes.

  3. Alex Danvy says:

    Hi Michael,

    I wonder how Microsoft manage bloggers like you. I mean, like every company, you have different access level for informations. Now that Microsoft employees are encouraged to blog how bloggers know that they can talk ? How Microsoft control bloggers ? How bloggers know that they do not cross the line ?

  4. Mitch Wheat says:

    Hi Michael, did anything come of this? Alex Danvy’s question was a good one.

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