This morning I saw an article indicating that the head of the Server and Tools business – Bob Muglia is moving on to greener pastures during this year. Not as well publicised however is the fact that within the Windows Home and Small Business team they’ve had a few changes in the recent months as well. Now change can be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing too if not handled correctly. Change inevitably leads to loss of knowledge within any team. That is something I fear the most. Few members on the SBS team have been there as long as I’ve been involved in the product. In fact Paul Fitzgerald – one of the Program Managers within the team is the only one that I can think of that has been on the team since the SBS 4.0 days. Sean Daniels would be the next longest player and I believe he’s been around since the SBS 2000 days. Here’s my concern… during my life as an MVP, I’ve provided loads of input based on both my own view of the world as well as the communities I work in. I’ve had countless meetings with Microsoft people where we’ve discussed the requirements of the SMB space and they’ve “taken it onboard”. Where is that knowledge stored? Is it stored in some great wiki that future team members can access? Nope – it’s stored in the hearts and minds of the people on the team. When those people move on, that knowledge is lost to that team. Now I’m not silly enough to think that people should not move on, but at the same time, I think that not enough is being done to capture such information and use it to help better products in the future. I know of things that were discussed during the beta of SBS 2003, that are still needed in SBS 2011 that just are not there. I know of scenarios that are valid in the SMB space for the last 8-10 years that still are not being addressed by the solutions Microsoft sell.
On the flip side, new blood into the team can well help products develop in directions that the old blood has not considered. Take for instance the Windows Phone 7 rebuild – with Microsoft’s emphasis on the cloud WP7 is linked very much more to it than ever before. Great ideas for sure – but not always things that scale well. None the less it’s progress.
So are these changes good or bad? What’s your view on it – do you think that with Muglia leaving it will impact us in the SMB space at all or not?