Welcome to blog week!

While this will not surprise my regular readers – some of you will be interested to know that blogging is usually only a very small fraction of my job.  My official title is “Program Manager Lead” which means that my responsibilities roughly break down into the following buckets:

  • Getting to know our customers and competitors really well
    • This involves meeting with customers regularly, doing phone calls, attending trade shows, hanging out on forums, doing online chats, reading blogs, etc…
  • Making sure we are actually building software that works for our customers / is competitive
    • Here I am writing documentation, reviewing and triaging bugs, and spending time meeting with developers and testers on the team.
  • Ensuring that we actually get the software shipped at the end of the day
    • Lots of status meetings and paper work to make sure that everything comes together at the end of the day.
  • Managing my team of program managers
    • As a lead I manage a number of other program managers, and need to work with them to ensure that they have everything that they need to do their jobs.

As you can see – that is a lot of “non-blogging work”.  The truth is that I started out blogging mainly as a way to ensure that I used my own software on a regular basis – but it has come to be something that I really enjoy doing.  Most of my blogging is actually done after hours (and often on a Sunday afternoon).  The average blog post takes ~1 hour to write (I have a strict policy of only blogging about things that I have personally done, so that I know that there will not be errors in my information) and I aim to have 5 blogs each week (though I often fall short of this goal).

One of the interesting side effects of blogging, for me, has been that it has helped with getting to know my customers.  These days I get so much feedback from you all that there is no way for me to keep up with responses.  So while I apologize to everyone who has emailed me through the blog, and has not heard back – know that I do read every email, and I respond when I can.  All of this information gives me a very good indication of what is going on out there.

With all of that aside – back to the topic at hand “Welcome to blog week!”

Thanks to a combination of having just got back from TechEd China (lots of fun – but now I am quite jetlagged) and being without an office (due to my current office being moved to a new building) I have arranged to cancel most of my meetings / responsibilities for this week – and just focus on the blog.  I have a number of activities planned for this week.  In no particular order they include:

  • Scrubbing old blog posts
    • At the moment I have 877 blog posts made over the last 4 years.  During this time I have used different blog themes, and different blogging tools.  As such you can see stylistic and formatting differences over the years.  I would like to try and clean this up to make it consistent across all posts.
    • Is that URL link in a post from early 2006 still valid?  I have no idea – but I intend to find out.
  • Overhauling my tagging system
    • My current tagging system has grown organically – and it has some significant short comings.  The biggest one is that it does not differentiate between versions of products.  If you pull up a random post from my site about Virtual PC – it is hard to tell if I am talking about Virtual PC 2004, Virtual PC 2007 or Windows Virtual PC.  It is also hard to tell when I am talking about a beta release or an RTM release.  I really need to fix this.
  • Tweaking the overall style of the blog
    • I would like to refine the current theme a little (add a bit more definition).  I would also like to add a dedicated “Links / Resources” page.  There are some other miscellaneous changes I would like to make.
  • Getting back to unresolved comment threads
    • Yup, I suck.  There are many posts out there where people have asked questions – and I never got around to answering them.  I need to get back and make sure the answer is there so that new people to the site can benefit from knowing the right information.
  • Tackling some big posts
    • There are a number of blog ideas in my notebook that have been there too long – because they will require a couple of hours to research and write up.  Hopefully I can get some of these done this week.
  • Building up a queue of new posts
    • I have a holiday coming up (four weeks in Australia) and I have always dreamed of being able to go on a holiday like this, while having blog regularly going live because I have been diligent and written them all up ahead of time.  This has never happened.  Maybe this will be my chance to change that.

Now I have some questions for you:

  • Are there any topics you really want to see me write about?
  • Is there anything you would like changed about my blog?
  • Should I open up old posts for comments?
    • At the moment comments are disabled on blog posts automatically after 60 days.  I can disable this – but the chances of me being able to reply to new comments will likely go down as a result.
  • Is there anything that you think I should be doing that is not on my list?

So as not to spam my own blog, I will be posting status updates on what I am working on to Twitter.