Hi! I’m Greg Nichols, Program Manager for Microsoft CRM Sustained Engineering. I’ve been with the team for most of the exciting ride, joining a couple of weeks after CRM 1.0 was shipped in 1993.
What is Sustained Engineering? Our main focus is providing hotfixes and update rollups to respond to customer issues between “major releases” like CRM 1.2 and CRM 3.0. However, Sustained Engineering does many things. We closely work with both the “core team”, who focus on the upcoming release, as well as Customer Support, on many, many things.
Who am I? Unlike most Microsoft employees, I’m a “native” – maybe the only (correct me if I’m wrong <g>) Microsoft employee who graduated from Redmond Elementary, Redmond Junior High, and Redmond High Schools, and the University of Washington. OK, maybe I don’t get around much… but I’ve never felt the need . I love my job, and love the Pacific Northwest.
My background was accounting, which frankly I didn’t have a passion for. About 12 years ago, the stars aligned, and I was given the opportunity to work at what I really love, personal computing. Microsoft hired me as a member of Customer Support (we called it PSS, Product Support Services, in those days) supporting DOS and Windows v3.1 – remember those days? I spent about 5 years in Microsoft Windows support, starting out with helping little 10 year old Billy fix his dad’s computer, which he wasn’t supposed to be using, before his dad got home and found out. True story <g>. I wound up my Support career in “Premier Support”, helping large, often huge customers who have Windows domain and networking issues. I very much enjoyed, and value, the years I spent in Support – and couldn’t do what I do now without the experience.
However, an opportunity appeared, and I joined the Research and Development part of Microsoft as the Hotfix Program Manager for the Windows Division. Four or so years there. Again, invaluable experience – I learned a ton from many very smart and passionate people.
In 2003, the buzz was beginning about Microsoft’s entry into financial software, and about the tremendous opportunities there – Microsoft’s next “big bet”. I leapt at a chance to join the CRM Sustained Engineering team – almost a “startup”, in a sense, working on a v1.0 product. What a contrast with SE work in Windows, a version… what, a version 8 release or so? A very exciting, new set of challenges to overcome, as well as tremendous opportunity. I wouldn’t have missed the move for anything.
OK, I don’t just do software, I have other interests – a self-admitted nut about concert pianism, a decent golfer with no delusions about joining the PGA tour, a cinema devotee… but I do love software, and love working at Microsoft. As it turned out, I didn’t need to “get around” to see the world – in a sense, Microsoft “brought the world to me”! Microsoft is this incredibly diverse workplace, where you can walk down any hall and meet people from literally all over the world. With different ways of living and thinking, with perhaps only a few things in common – they’re smart and passionate about technology. That’s maybe the major reason I love to come to work every morning.