Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes on 9 - Managing People (and wisdom with Chris Sells)

August 08, 2009 Comment on this post [35] Posted in Microsoft | Musings
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image An email went out to our organization (Server & Tools Online) by one of our GMs that had a bullet (it was bullet #2 I believe) that said:

As community engagement and quality of resources are key goals for STO we are broadening the responsibility of the community PMs who today report to Simon Muzio by creating the STO Community Team led by Scott Hanselman. Tim Heuer, Joe Stagner, Jesse Liberty and Rob Conery will report to Scott, and in addition to their strategic roles of spreading the good word about the latest developer division products and platforms with our customers and the community at large, they will help STO understand how to interact with the community, drive buzz, interest, and excitement around Microsoft technologies. The team will also broaden its mission by taking on accountability around Developer Compete technologies. We need to engage the community in an effective real conversation at the competitive level and decide which competing technologies and communities to engage with.  The team will also pilot a set of globally scalable approaches for community content contribution. This is about transitioning from Microsoft being the major content contributor on our sites to a community content contributor model. 

This means I now have a team of 4 people and, as an aside, I've got reqs (requisitions or "headcount") for possibly two more. There's no extra pile of money for me but they do tack on "Lead" at the end of my name, I think. Or "Group" at the front. I'm still not sure which, but one of them.

I have called myself, both internally and externally, and only half-joking, "The People's Programmer." I have said "Developer Liaison" and "Community Concierge." They're all fun titles, but they are all true.

Our team's job is to make sure that you're having a good time developing with Microsoft tools. I want you to feel empowered to make cool stuff. If you're not, we'll try to make it better through articles, tutorials, walkthroughs, videos, presentations, books, and more. We're worldwide multimedia professors, but we're learning from you as much as we're teaching.

Now that we've got some autonomy, we're also going to try to figure out how to reconcile all the different kinds of community people there are at Microsoft (there's lots) and how we can best work together.

We also feel that there's a lot of great content out there that's been written by you, Dear Reader, that Microsoft doesn't promote or make easily available. I want to get your content on MSDN, on ASP.NET, on Silverlight.NET. If you've got good content, we're trying to understand what roadblocks at Microsoft are making it a hard for you to contribute.

I hope you've figured out by now that I'm open to feedback. A lot of you have commented here or emailed me and I hope you've seen how we try to advocate for you. ALWAYS feel free to talk to me or *ahem* my team (that'll take a while to get used to) if you have feedback on anything we do.

Thanks for being here for me Dear Reader, I really love being a part of this community.

-- ScottHa

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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August 08, 2009 8:44
Congrats Scott - This seems like something right up your alley.

Personally, I hope Chris is wrong that you won't have time for (quality) blogging anymore :)
August 08, 2009 8:46
I have that TPS cover sheet ready for you ... SIR.... and I'll be sure to have your "lozenge" ready next time you cough. Do I really need to call you "sir"? Simon said I did...
August 08, 2009 8:59
Rob's got the right attitude! ;) "Yeeeahhh Rob, I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday."

Congrats Scott! I'll be sure to refer to our portal as "Mr. Hanselportal" from now on. :)
August 08, 2009 9:01
Congrats, Scott!
August 08, 2009 9:06
"Scott, what we'd like to do is put you into position to have as many as four people, working right under you. This is a big promotion Scott."
August 08, 2009 9:13
"Deploy on classic ASP? Uhmm, yeah... I'm gonna have to go ahead and sort of disagree with you..."

Congrats, Scott!
August 08, 2009 9:28
Congratz Scott!
August 08, 2009 9:30
Congratulations Scott, they have a apt leader for the position.
August 08, 2009 9:46
Loving Rob Gibbens' comment. If only he had signed it as Peter Gibbons though. :) Congratulations, Scott!
August 08, 2009 9:50
Congrats, Scott!
Thanks for posting that clip with Chris Sells. I thought he made a lot of insightful comments.
Love you blog! Tons of useful info.
August 08, 2009 10:11
The Hanselleader is assembling his Hanselteam. When can we expect world domination?

Congrats, Scott!
August 08, 2009 10:51
Congrats Scott. Been very impressed with all you've accomplished at Microsoft and the years before. Best of luck.
August 08, 2009 17:24
SH: I'll be boss
CS: you'll be one of the senseless, needless overhead at Microsoft

There is no "I" in "team".

Them that can do. Them that can't teach.
Them that can't teach, teach gym.
Them that can't teach gym, administrate.
Them that can't administrate become politicians.

Scott, don't be a "them" ... you're not!

CS: the other half of my time is spent dealing with my employees

With only the recent exception that I took to a choice SH made
that comes to mind, I am a Scott Hanselman fan. Please keep
that in mind as you read the rest of my comment (assuming you do).

Scott, run. run fast. run the other way. Assuming your Jesse Liberty
is the Jesse Liberty, ask yourself why does Jesse Liberty require
a manager (because he does not). The same for "Spouse you
should learn MVC" Rob Conery. Likely for Tim Heuer too ~~ he's
going to leave you regardless to own his dive shop in Cancun.
Sorry, I don't know that much about Joe.

If you stay (against my sage advice) don't "deal" with your
employees. Empower them. Be their firewall to protect
them from the evil empire's oligarchy. Eisenhower
demonstrated leadership by pushing and then pulling
a string. The evil empire is too big. Leadership at the
evil empire means becoming Borg. Becoming Borg
means losing Scott Hanselman.

Do not see this as a promotion Scott. It's your death knell you hear.
Learn the Patronus spell before the dementors suck out your soul
and before you in turn suck out the souls of "your team".

Gerry (Lowry)
August 08, 2009 18:07
Congratulations Scott! Well deserved.
August 08, 2009 19:21
Congratulations, very well deserved.
August 08, 2009 19:50
Congratulations on your elevated rank ;-)

August 08, 2009 20:08
Kind of a buzzkill, Gerry, but thanks, I think.

I don't think of this as a promotion, more as a grouping of like-minded people. I'm not going to change who I am, and I'm going to do my best to do the same stuff I do now, no matter what Chris Sells says. ;)

Thanks everyone!
August 08, 2009 20:49
Scott, those 4 people working for you are highly technical, smart and independent people. You won't need to micro manage them, you just need to provide a vision.
August 08, 2009 23:54
Congratulations, they're not wrong. You've never really bored me with a blog post or podcast so far. Keep it up. :)
August 09, 2009 1:14
Agreed with @ELAQM ... I don't think anyone really need to worry about SH stop being SH at all :-) ... It's not like he's got 4 college newhires, they're all seasoned pro!
August 09, 2009 1:23
The man in the middle. You're a projectmanager now..
August 09, 2009 5:30
Did you get permission before posting that snippet?
August 09, 2009 6:12
I'd like to introduce Gerry to this fascinating Wikipedia entry

....just teasing ya' man :)
August 09, 2009 6:43
Hi Scott,

Question. Isn't this initiative what DPE (the Developer and Platform Evangelism folks) does? I've seen those guys at a number of events and their mission, according to them, is the same thing that you describe. Seems like a big duplication of effort to me. What will your team do, that DPE can't/won't do?
August 09, 2009 6:59
Good news Scott.

Here's how to be a good manager:

Tell people exactly what you want them to do. Check on them every few minutes. And if they've deviated even slightly from what you told them, berate them heavily, publicly, and repeat your instructions, slowly and loudly. Fire anyone who challenges you.

Of course, these particular cats don't need to be herded, and I expect you'll demonstrate the right 'light touch'.

Best of luck.
August 09, 2009 7:02
Also, Jesse Liberty's profile at wikipedia is longer and more interesting than yours.
I think you're gonna have to ask him to go ahead and take that down.
August 09, 2009 7:46
Congratulations, Scott. Go and read High Output Management by Andy Grove. It's priceless.
August 09, 2009 17:56
@ SH: you're welcome. I truly am a Scott Hanselman fan.

You earned respect from the oligarchy, the magnitude of which has been shown by their pre-selection of your team members.

Your true measure of respect, however, comes from the multitudes, myself included, who value "Computer Zen" and your other input to our collective consciousness.

A management mantra, for you, if you chose to own it: "a good boss can step on your toes without ruining your shine".

@ ELAQM: SH will not need to provide a vision to his team, rather, SH will need to clone them so that they can become even more able implement their own magnificent cornucopian visions. Chris Sells has it correct: Scott will need (and I know succeed) to shelf his own visions frequently to enable (unblock) the efforts of his team of champions so that upper Borg will not be able to contaminate Team Hanselman's productivity. SH's title is now, or ought to be, "human firewall, protector of free spirits, team enabler".

@ webdev_hb: thank you, Hugo, your teasing welcomed. is well worth reading. As for moi, manual wrapping is hard to break. I like to shape the words on a page. That can drive some people crazy, or at least to deem moi as insane.

I'm now 62. back in Grade 10, having failed Grade 9 shop,
I switched to typing. Sat in the back row and
fearlessly used the only electric typewriter in
the classroom. Word wrap was a large lever
at the left of the typewriter carriage for
manual typewriters. It's so long ago,
my memory is foggy ... on that lone
electric typewriter, there may have been
a carriage return key instead ... today
keyboards label such a key "Enter".

Amazingly, there are people today who
have not heard of this high tech device:
Samuel Clemens, an early adopter,
made a fortune with his typewriter
as author Mark Twain, back when "twain"
did not mean "technology without an interesting name".
August 09, 2009 21:11
Congratulations Scott! Well deserved.
August 10, 2009 1:51
Congratulations Scott! Cheers!
August 10, 2009 16:28
This is a great news, congratulations.

But I wonder how your team's job correlates with DPE, which are the guys that kind of do a similar job ...
August 10, 2009 20:01
This is great news Scott! I know you have always seen yourself as a connection between Microsoft and the community. Hopefully this change means that others in Microsoft are finally starting to recognize how vital that connection is, and will continue to encourage and expand it going forward.

Hopefully your new job does NOT overlap with DPE. We need more people at Microsoft who are listening to the community, not more people telling them what to do :)
August 10, 2009 20:20
Congrats! You have provided a lot of quality content over the years.

Here's a request I have asked for a long time. Please request from the MSDN guys to make the MSDN library available in pdf format so we can use eReaders and unconnected laptops to read the documentation.

I didn't wait for MS so I hired a developer to write me an app which converts any section (by url) of the library to pdf. Works pretty good.

(PS: add an addendum to your tools list with new unique tools).
August 13, 2009 22:24
Well Done!!

You've got your title 'The People's Programmer'.

But what is your team going to be called??

Please say "Hanselborg!!!!"
August 14, 2009 20:57
I've always liked this aspect of development: helping others have fun! Congrats! It gotta be every dev's dream job!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.