The Daily Web

Developer stories, quotes and links by @vestimir

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Lessons learned and/or reinforced while at Microsoft by Doug Seven (Telerik)

  1. Know your customer
    You can’t build inspiring products nor deliver compelling messages unless you know who you’re talking to.
  2. Always have a plan (and a back-up plan)
    Things change quickly around here and your plans have to change quickly as well.
  3. Don’t take it personally
    This is business, and sometimes you have change direction to do what’s right for the business, no matter how personally invested you are in the current Plan-of-Record. Its not about you, it’s about the business.
  4. Socialize ideas frequently
    Figure out who your stakeholders are right away, and engage them early and often.
  5. When in doubt, error on the side of the customer, not the P&L
    If you do what’s right for your customer, the Profit & Loss Statement will be fine.
  6. Seek feedback, and course correct as needed
    There is no substitute for hearing the perspective of others, on both your performance and your deliverables. Seek it out, and adjust appropriately (also reference # 3).
  7. Never stop building your network
    It is amazing how often you work with or for people you have encountered before. Never stop building your network. Go to coffee, lunch, or just stop by to chat. Who you know is often more important than what you know.
  8. Go to events and meet your customers
    Nothing can replace a first-hand experience with a customer. The stories you hear and the perspectives you gain are irreplaceable (see #1).
  9. Don’t lose sight of who you are
    Microsoft was founded as a developer company, with the creation of the BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800 in 1975. Developer technology is in your DNA, it is who you are. Remember, Windows didn’t come along for almost ten years after that.
  10. Don’t unpack!
    You’re likely to move again (I had three offices in Buildings 6, two in 25, and one each in 42, 26, 17 and 18 – nine offices in 7-years)