Why do the WSS/SPS teams seem to be so darned tight-lipped about futures?
You may have noticed this blog’s byline,.in which I refer to myself as “sharing whatever he can get away with” about developing with SharePoint Products and Technologies. Those words were very carefully chosen.
Microsoft is not a monolithic group of assimilated drones operating in Borg-like synchronization. Microsoft operates very much like a federation of diverse cultures that work together for their common benefit.
SPS is developed within the Information Worker division (Office, in other words). So is WSS, although it’s distributed through Windows Server and therefore takes extra steps to meet its responsibilities as an operating system technology.
Our division’s preference is to wait to disclose information until we’re very, very confident about it. We have multiple audiences in addition to developers: business decision makers, technical decision makers, IT professionals, and end users. Many of them consider advance information to constitute a promise, and we’re very mindful of that. When we do talk about futures, we like it to constitute all but a promise as well. Holding back until the point one can do that, admittedly, has its challenges.
Consider the opposite extreme, though. Look at what happened with “Jupiter”. I love the BizTalk team and the work they do, but communicating too much too early has its own risks and disadvantages.
Swinging to the other side, consider Apple’s policy of never disclosing anything until the day it ships. Now that’s tight-lipped.
I love the inroads the developer division is making toward collaboration and transparency, and I’m hoping that it’ll serve as a guide for the rest of the company. But it won’t happen overnight.
There’s a happy medium to be struck, and we’re moving in that direction, albeit very gradually. I can say that you’ll know a lot more about what we’re doing within half a year’s time. I can also tell you should have plenty of time to start planning, prioritizing, and learning.
In the meantime, I’ll hint as much as I can and recommend as much as I can. Watch this space.