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.