Why Can't the WMP Team Be Like the MCE Team?
What do Michael Creasy, Ed Rich, Matt Goyer, and Sean Alexander (and more) all have in common? They must love the product they help put out. All of these guys work on the Media Center Team at Microsoft and take a very active role in supporting and developing their product outside of work. The list people on the Windows Media Player Team is quite a bit smaller, and basically consists of one person. Zach Robinson is basically the only person working on the Windows Media Player Team who seems like he really cares about the product. The problem becomes that Zach can’t handle all of the issues that are brought up, nor should he have too!
Why is it that the Media Player guys don't seem to care about their product? A basic theory about judging the product by its team seems to be somewhat true. If the Media Center guys see a problem or issue with Media Center they look to be much quicker to either fix the issue, or address it. Addressing an issue is just, if not more, important then fixing it in many cases. With Microsoft Bloggers gaining in numbers everyday, the Media Center Team has a large number of people blogging about their product! Taking a role in your product out of work is a very nice thing to see and reflects the overall product.
Now, a rather large problem with one team not caring as much as they could about a product and another team giving their all is that the products mix! Media Center uses Windows Media Player for music playback. The failures in the Media Library directly relate to the problems in Media Center’s My Music and in the Portable Media Center’s. The fact that Windows Media Player doesn’t support the ability to bypass K-Mixer means Media Center users also suffer. No matter what the Media Center guys do, their product is now limited by the Windows Media Player Team!
You don’t want to force members to care, that leads to more problems. The team members should “just care”! Kind of a prerequisite to getting a job, right? Sounds good to me, you want a job, you better care enough about it to warrant the pay check.