Notes from April 19th written by Will Kemper
The development Cycle
Guest Speakers Steve Sinofsky and Eric Zocher
Steve Sinofsky, Vice President of Office at Microsoft
SUMMARY (KEY POINTS I TOOK OUT OF TALK):
1) As a product grows you will have to change how it is produced. Once
you get to the point where one person is incapable of overseeing the
entire product it is necessary to divide the product into similar
components (file saving, spell checking etc.) or functional units (Word,
Excel, Power Point etc.) it is a constant struggle to decide which
approach works best
2) The product cycle is not linear! Those who plan new functions may have
to re-plan them once the programmers say how long it will take or the
testers find problems in the programmersU code. Every one is working
simultaneously on different stages of the same product, which works
efficiently at the beginning, but can be difficult to sort out at the end.
3) As many testers as programmers are needed
A Product is not the same as code
What is "traditional," changes. Be ready to change with the times.
It used to be that 1 person could know all and could overlook all aspects
of a product
Now we must specialize
Challenges at Microsoft
1) Make products compatible with old ones
2) Make products useful to all
Bellow are the roles of a product component development team and the #of
Program manager (1) a) Voice of the "future" customer (the customer
doesnUt yet know what is wanted
b) Forecast problems
c) Anticipate changes in technology
a) Write new code
b) integrate old code
c) correct errors from testers
d) forecast time needed (help program manager decide what to leave out)
a) Test new code
b) Develop tests for all future code
c) Anticipate problems
The planners start with the old software and ideas / requests for
improvement and functionality, the programmers start with old code. The
testers start with old tests and problems that new tests to be designed
Other tasks include user assistance, product management and localization
as well as Product Planning looking over the entire product and its
The product cycle is not linear
It is important to have a clear vision to integrate the work of the 3 main
Design for innovation
What will the market needI this is like gambling.
Listen to customer (focus groups, complaints etc.)
Program manager must weigh options
Example given of the desire of a drawing program was stated, but
organizational charts largely satisfied this need.
Microsoft collects months of data from users using its product pre-release
in an effort to see its product through its customers' eyes.
Eric Zocher, Executive Vice President of Go2Net, formally with NetBot and
FocusQDifferences in product development cycle on the web versus
shrink-wrapped product releases.
SUMMARY (KEY POINTS I TOOK OUT OF TALK):
1) On web-sites, the product becomes a service
2) The Internet is deal driven, not tech driven. There seems to be a
sense that a feature you want to add to a web-site is possible, whatever
it is, the challenge is to find the time to do it. Consequently, many
deals are made as companies see time to market as being more important
3) Creating the software is only 1/2 of the work; the rest is a
combination of; technical operations, advertising, commerce, statistics,
and the creation of internal tools.
4) Monitoring the use of every customer is the great advantage (and
burden) of putting programming on-line
Developing Software for the Internet.
Testing and Release
On web-sites, the product becomes a service
The Internet isI
Software and it is universal communication.
1 to 1
1 to many
Or time flexible
Some Internets are media
Others are software
Others are infrastructure
Creating the software is only 1/2 of the work; the rest is a combination
Technical operations, --Buying and monitoring servers
Advertising, commerce, --
Statistics,--server log analysis (who went where)
The creation of internal tools to allow for content changes
The Internet is deal driven!
Software used to be Technology driven, then it came to be product
The results of a deal driven industry:
More AcquisitionsQadd components to site and then adapt the
Partnering and licensing PParts are shared!!
Other features of the Internet business.
Data is availableQyou can increase what gets used develop smoother
You can get a sense of how your competitors are doing if growth
Partial implementation is possibleQdecide if an idea is worth
Can go from concept to idea VERY quickly
Out-sourcing is hugeIaccomplish anything this way
Example given of Iwon.com that outsource entire technical
Internet release (called liquid software) has zero up-front costs
--But familiarity breeds comfort so you may upset
--Therefore beta-sites put up first to ease the
Can tweak the software everyday
At least 3 people approve a change, and then there must be a roll
back plan, incase the change doesnUt work as intended.
ERICUS HINTS TO SMALL COMPANIES:
1) Organize yourselves around skills and weaknesses
2) Theory of appropriate process (make sure you have done enough