I've just become the proud owner of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 Beta FAQ.
What is Virtual Machine Manager? Why blog about the FAQ?
It is a bootstrapping problem. I need to develop and publish a Frequently Asked Questions file for a Beta 1 V1 product that isn't out yet, and has no method to collect questions. Makes it hard to figure out which ones are FA.
I am working some of the traditional methods of doing this at Microsoft, for example:
1) Predicting what people will ask, then writing the Q and the A.
This "back to the future" approach is not so bad if you are measured on output. If you are measuring yourself on effectiveness however, you need a method to collect feedback on how well you anticipated what people would ask. This is traditionally hard to do, because after you have delivered the <predictive> FAQ, you are assigned other deliverables, so you don't have time to collect the data on how well you anticipated the questions. Highly wasteful, but a standard approach. You can see the current output of this approach here.
2) Copying the questions from the nearest technology you can find.
This “sympathetic magic” approach has worked for primitive medicine men for a long time, and is copied extensively at Microsoft. “After all,” the thought goes “why reinvent the wheel?”
3) Index, index, index, and index some more
This encyclopedic approach involves taking an axis through the product information (usually features) and then turning every item into a question and answer. Some people think this is being thorough. I think it is crazy.
I want to add a new approach – ask the customer.
What are your questions about System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 Beta 1? Leave comments here so I can track and reply. Thanks in advance.
Hi Tony, has the System Center Virtual Machine Manager Beta 1 Program active/available at connect.microsoft.com?
You can sign up for this beta by:
1) Go to http://connect.microsoft.com (requires Passport or Windows Live ID sign-in)
2) Click “Available Connections”
3) Click “System Center Virtual Machine Manager Beta 1 Program” from the list
4) Click “Apply” and fill out the public nomination survey
You will then be notified of acceptance into the beta - and provided more information - as it becomes available.