The 100 hour work week: believe it or not?

So how much and how hard do you have to work at Microsoft to be successful? I was asked this question by a graduating student who has an offer from Microsoft to be a software design engineer. Actually the question was “do I have to work 100 hours a week to be successful?”I went back…

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Release timing and Office products — how fast is fast enough?

I’ve been asked quite a bit by people interviewing at Microsoft about “software release”.  This post will talk about our strategy around product releases for Office products, since we have been pretty consistent over the years and this represents a balance between some competing interests. The topic comes up because there has been a lot…

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Bureaucracy. Threat or menace? Either, both, or neither? Or it depends!

bu·reauc·ra·cy  a. Management or administration marked by hierarchical authority among numerous offices and by fixed proceduresb. The administrative structure of a large or complex organization   I was able to spend the day today with students at Harvard Business School.  I was fortunate enough to meet a number of second year students and was invited…

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What do managers do and how big should my team be?

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.Butcher, in Shakespeare’s King Henry VI The first thing we do, let’s fire all the managers.Just about every employee at one time or another since the 1911 release of Frederick Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management Today I thought I would talk a little about a topic…

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More about learning from the past — Office Assistant

The past couple of weeks have been busy as all the interns moved on (yippie we have more parking) and we’re gearing up for the Fall when we visit lots of college campuses around the US, Canada, Mexico (Europe is later).  I’m planning on visiting a few schools in October so I hope to see…

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Registration time — what courses should I take?

As one of the interns was heading off for his final year, we talked about what courses he is taking.  There’s a general question of “what computer science courses best prepare you to be a professional programmer [at a place like Microsoft]”. I admit to having strong views on this topic because I think that…

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Chrysler has interns redesign the Jeep

I was just reading a WSJ article (WSJ subscription required) on Chrysler asking interns to design the Jeep of the future.  This is most certainly a cool intern project in that you get to be as creative as you can be and one that has clearly not been a challenge met by the full time…

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Learning as an engineer — rising from the ashes of failed projects

Recently a senior program manager asked me for some reading suggestions and I wanted to share a book that had a big impact on how I view projects that I have worked on.  The book is called “To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design” by Henry Petroski (I have no connection…

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Thoughts on the first few years of a new hire at Microsoft

I wanted to write some thoughts on career progression for new hires at Microsoft.  Up front I should probably say that I am not trying to sell folks on Microsoft, but trying to tell it like it is.  Folks who know me often accuse me of being too honest.  What I would say to people…

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