In order to keep in touch with customer concerns early in the product cycle, many Microsoft teams periodically hold Software Design Reviews (SDRs). Very early on, SDRs are about information flowing in to the product team: we invite a dozen industry experts in for a day or two of meetings, ask them for extensive feedback, and fold their thought into the product. As the product firms up, SDRs are about information flowing out to customers: we invite a couple hundred analysts and experts and early adapters to Seattle for a couple days of presentations, hands-on labs, and parties.

The hands-on labs at our last SDR, in March 2005, were created by our developer evangelist, Craig McMurtry, one of the authors of the book whose foreword you are ...

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