Saying Farewell to CodePlex

In January 2006, nearly 4 years ago to the day, I created my first account on CodePlex, when the site was still in internal-only alpha preview. A the time, I was the Program Manager for the Visual Studio Power Toys, where my team created the 5th, 6th, and 9th projects on CodePlex before it went live. I recall sending the CodePlex team a 15 page document on all the UI suggestions I had. They were very receptive of my feedback and always treated me like a virtual member of the CodePlex team since the very beginning.

I officially joined the team in October 2007. The CodePlex site had approximately 2800 projects at that time. Now, we have exactly 13,505 projects. It’s been an absolute privilege to watch 11,000 open source projects get created on a site run by Microsoft. I can’t thank the CodePlex community enough for the support they’ve given us and me personally over the years. It’s just been incredible.

So what’s next?

I’ve accepted a position to be a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft in the Silicon Valley area in California. In other words, I’m moving from the product groups to “the field.” Needless to say, this won’t be the last you’ll hear of me doing open source. Remember, I jumped off a building for open source at Microsoft, so you’re not getting rid of me that easily!

Again, I cannot thank the community enough for such a tremendous couple of years. To quote the immortal words of the 9th Doctor Who (Christopher Eccleston) right before his regeneration, “You were fantastic! And so was I!”

Happy Mardi Gras!

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My 3 part series on Agile Program Management on Port 25

In a follow up to my original post on how I learned to program manage an agile team, I’ve put together a 3 part series on how to be an Agile Program Manager over on Port 25.

Enjoy!

My CodePlex Jump from tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere – The Full Video

Just like the kiwi bird down here in New Zealand, I proved that I too am flightless. The 7 minute video explains it all.

You can find this full version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcc4KRrZpI0

Or watch just the jump from the ground looking up at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKvQLb2UKXg

Special thanks to Sky Jump! for lettings us film and TechEd Online New Zealand for making the jump happen and for putting the full edited video together.

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My return to Channel 9 (CodePlex Interview)

The Channel 9 team recently met with me to discuss “The State of the CodePlex” as I like to call it. It was a quick chat about where CodePlex has been and where the site is heading.

Link to video: http://channel9.msdn.com/Blogs/NicFill/A-chat-with-Sara-Ford-CodePlex-turns-3-reaches-10000-projects

I think this was my 4th appearance on Channel 9 (Women in Tech interview with Scoble, Hurricane Katrina recap with Jennifer and Charles, Power Toys for Visual Studio interview, and now CodePlex.)

OSCON 2009: One of the greatest weeks in my Microsoft Career

Yep, it’s a bold statement to make, but I like to live life in capital letters. Last week at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention was truly epic. The Community Leadership Summit + OSCON 2009 epitomized everything I’ve ever wanted to do in community as a Microsoft employee.

I didn’t realize how special last week was until we Microsofties went out to dinner on the last night. As we discussed how much interest there was in the guitar hero competition, someone commented how we (Microsoft) were invited to participate to play. It was Ubuntu’s idea to put together the competition. We provided the guitars and the venue. When I first heard my coworker’s comment, I nearly rolled my eyes thinking I was listening to classic PR/marketing talk (yes, I’m obviously a proud female developer), but then the significance of the statement hit me.

Community is about focusing on what we have in common, while putting aside what makes us different. The Community Leadership Summit and the Guitar Hero competition gave everyone common ground to come together and talk. I’ve done community for Visual Studio and for CodePlex my entire 8 years at Microsoft, but I’ve always wanted to engage with the open source community to say “Hey ya’ll. This is what I do at Microsoft. Come teach me your expertise, and I’ll share what life is like promoting OSS within Microsoft.”  For a total of 7 days, I was given this opportunity, which was truly one of the greatest weeks of my career at Microsoft.

Highlights

  • When I grow up, I want to be like Jono Bacon, the Community manager for Ubuntu. I want to be cool enough to organize an event like the Community Leadership Summit. I cannot wait for his Art of Community book to come out. @JonoBacon I know you hate me for beating you in the guitar hero finale =) but please sign my copy of your book when it comes out.
  • "Don’t cut people off before they have a chance to grow.”  This comment from the CLS had the biggest impact to me personally.
  • Empower people by asking them “what do you like doing? what do you do best?” This comment from the CLS had the biggest impact to me as a program manager / community manager.
  • Larry Rosen remembered me! I attended a talk by Larry Rosen a few years ago on the Microsoft campus. I was surprised that he had remembered me from such a brief introduction years ago. But then again, there are not many 5’1 women on crutches hobbling around declaring how they are going to tame the Microsoft Legal department. (don’t ask me how that’s going.)
  • I learned a lot outside the Microsoft platform bubble. Working in Redmond day in and day out, I’m not really exposed to much going on in the outside world. I had a great time visiting the various booths to learn what’s out there. Oh yeah, and there really is an OSS version of Guitar Hero called Frets of Fire. Who’d a known?
  • The guitar hero competition. I will *never* forget when, right as Jono and I were about to play in the finale, someone screams “JONO! THE FUTURE OF OPEN SOURCE DEPENDS ON YOU” OMG, that was a top 5 moment of my career right there.

Best Opposing t-shirt photo op

"I am the empire" and GPLv2 t-shirt guy

New friends from CLS

folks from Community Leadership Summit

Little Kid rockers

little kids rocking guitar hero

Putting together guitar hero bracket

ubuntu folks putting together the bracket

First comes denial in who won the guitar hero competition

the look of shock

Then acceptance =)

the look of acceptance

See ya’ll at OSCON 2010!

Community Leadership Summit Trip Report

Community Leadership Summit banner

Jono Bacon, the community manager for the global Ubuntu community, organized the first Community Leadership Summit for community managers to come together and share ideas. I loved the fact it was run as an unconference or open space. I get so much more high quality information from open spaces than I do from traditional style conferences. The saying that the room knows more than the speaker is very true. Just attended an unconference for proof.

It’s been a long time since I’ve attended a conference where all we talked about was community. It was a totally re-energizing experience (as if i needed more energy). Pictures at bottom of blog post.

I hope folks from #cls will swing by the Microsoft booth at OSCON on Weds and Thurs to say hi as i wear my CodePlex banner as a cape. I’m jealous of the Brazilian flag guy. (you had to be there for it.)

Quotes

  • “Understanding community is about understanding the human condition.”
  • "Everybody deserves to have a great community."
  • "Don’t cut people off before they have a chance to grow.” 
  • "It takes a village to build a program."
  • "It’s amazing what people will do to get a badge on a forum site. If it worked in kindergarten, it will work forever."
  • "Marketing should not be allowed to use the word ‘community.’ They should especially be banned from using the phrase ‘join our community."
  • "In today’s online world we speak glob-ish as our default language"
  • "People like people who help them."

Other Takeaways

  • We need to design a reputation system that goes beyond just what the person does online. We need a way to track offline events, like running user groups, public speaking events, etc.
  • Similar to design personas, we need personas for members who participates in our online communities so we know how best to engage and empower them.
  • You have to assign tasks to community members to make them feel inclusive. Otherwise saying "look at the list" will cause them to leave.
  • People don’t want to take surveys when they are upset with your product. It’s like pouting. You got to make the feedback channel personal.
  • Empower people by asking them “what do you like doing? what do you do best?” The example used here was in a user group meeting, an attendee who wasn’t technical turned out to be a professional meeting organizer. They were significantly more productive in that meeting because of her help.

Misc

Pictures

The Microsoft (Microspotting.com) “I am the empire” t-shirt and the Free Software Foundation’s GPLv2 t-shirt.

I am the empire t-shirt with the Free Software Foundation GPLv2 t-shirt

Picture of the CodePlex agile talk suggestion

DSC03641

Thanks again Jono and everyone who helped put together this summit. It was awesome!

Open Source Bridge 2009 Trip Report

Open Source Bridge Logo

Last week, I attended the Open Source Bridge conference in Portland. It’s a volunteer-run conference that came about because OSCON moved to San Jose this year. They had a great turnout and the organizers did an amazing job, especially for a first time, volunteer conference.

I was most impressed with Selena Deckelmann (co-chair of OSBridge) and her ability to network and organize this event. She had an initial goal of 50% female speakers (and to think this is for an Open Source conference). She was able to get 30% female speakers using the same quality bar as the guys. Now that’s networking.

To Selena, THANK YOU!!! Finally someone who truly, truly, truly gets the Women in Technology issue. It is a breath of fresh air to see someone really do something about this.

Highlights

  • I started off my CodePlex talk mentioning how Selena accepted my talk because “peeking into CodePlex might give you ideas that you can embrace and extend.” I said, “Because of this, Microsoft has instructed me that you all will have to sign these NDAs.”  The room erupted in laughter. I am the stuff of legend, trying to get an OSS audience to sign Microsoft NDAs.
  • Got called “the queen of open source at Microsoft” after my talk: http://controlroom.blogspot.com/2009/06/welcome-to-codeplex.html
  • Spent 2 hours at lunch chatting with faculty and staff of Ohio State University doing research into OSS communities and their behaviors. This area of HCI is like crack cocaine to me, so I definitely enjoyed chatting theories of human behavior and gaming the system.
  • Had a geek dinner in Portland for the local .NET User Group to share my stories of the day.

Lowlights

  • Only real lowlight was that I could only spend a day there. Our boss gives us one day a week to work on a pet project, so i used that day to drive down to Portland to give talks. =) 

CodePlex 2008 Stats published

Over on the CodePlex blog, I just posted the stats for the year in review. Here’s a sneak peek:

 

Site Traffic 2008 2007 % increase from 2007
Visits 19,493,502 8,891,178 +119%
User Hours 2,804,898 1,237,356 +127%
Unique Visitors 9,811,365 4,532,440 +116%
New Registered Users 66,553 38,651 +72%
New Projects 4,542 2,130 +113%

 

For more stats, visit http://blogs.msdn.com/codeplex/archive/2009/01/26/codeplex-2008-a-year-in-review.aspx

Top 5 Myths and Facts about CodePlex

Yesterday was an incredibly fun day for me.  Wanted to break up the endless series of IDE tips and tricks posts with a little something different…

On the CodePlex team blog, I wrote down the Top 5 Myths and Facts about CodePlex:

Myth #1:  Software hosted on CodePlex is only for developers
Fact: CodePlex is for any open source software application. Some of our top projects include Rawr, a .NET tool for World of Warcraft players, and the Vista Battery Saver, an app for managing your laptop battery life. 

Myth #2:  You have to purchase Microsoft software to use CodePlex
Fact: Visual Studio Team Explorer is free for use with CodePlex. Other clients include TeamPrise, TortoiseSVN, and the CodePlex Client.

Myth #3:  CodePlex is only for Microsoft projects
Fact: There are over 350 Microsoft projects on CodePlex.  The other 5,000 projects are owned by members of the community.

Myth #4:  CodePlex projects must run on Windows
Fact: CodePlex welcomes all technologies.

Myth #5:  CodePlex is run by Microsoft
Fact: This one is true! =D

If people have any other myths or facts, please let me know!

Also Soma, our Senior Vice President for Developer Division (aka Visual Studio and more), also blogged about CodePlex turning 2 years old.