Saturday, March 14, 2009

Microsoft Technical Fellows: big brains behind Microsoft next-gen products & strategies

Mary Jo Foley is doing a wonderful job profiling Technical Fellows at Microsoft in a series called “Microsoft Big Brains” which she started in October 2008. As part of the series she plans to profile as many of the 22 Technical Fellows at Microsoft as she can. I have summarized the 9 profiles she has covered so far here.

It is interesting to see the variations in the nature of their current roles. Some of them are individual contributors (4 of 9), some are leading product technical strategy and architecture teams (2 of 9), while some are managing teams as large as 100 or 200 engineers (2 of 9). Some are part of or director of research labs while some others are part of or head of product units. What seems to be common among all of them is their passion for the technologies they work on and the desire to make a difference for Microsoft and world at large.

Many times we get hung up on the team size or amount of project management work as an excuse for not pursuing our interests in technology. Microsoft brains show that there is no stereotype for technical leadership. For my views on key attributes of technical leadership see 3Is of technical leadership and technical leadership ecosystem.

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