I recently started reading Chris Pratley blog. Chris is the Microsoft OneNote Group Program Manager and it appears he has been publicly blogging for only a weeks. Yet in just a few entries, Chris not only provides unique insight into MSFT’s product development practices and techniques, but I also feel that the blog broadens the user community’s perspective of the product.
Specifically, you can also see how this type of public communication about a product (and an excellent one I might add) can spawn user feedback that will undoubtedly influence the product’s direction.
Of course, user feedback in a public forum is noting new, mailing lists, newsgroups et al, have been the venue for this fodder for many years.
However, I think the blog format enables a contextual history and candidness that seem to get lost in any of the aforementioned formats. Perhaps it’s merely the signal-to-noise ratio or the initial monolog-ish nature that a blog entry carries, but whatever ‘it’ is, I think more people in Chris’ position should follow suit.
As an aside, product blogging from the inside is nothing particularly new, Macromedia has been doing it for over a year as well as many-many smaller shops, but I think seeing Microsoft do it so well seems to legitimize the format to the point where Product Blogging or Service Blogging for that matter should be a requirement of any successful management team.