Microsoft’s Jeffrey Snover, well known as the inventor of Windows PowerShell, today announced his promotion to Technical Fellow. This is a rare distinction inside Microsoft, as the company usually has only a handful of Technical Fellows at any given time – around a dozen-ish, last time someone told me about the title. And it’s massively well deserved.
I told Jeffrey, and am repeating it here, that he’s probably done more to “move the needle” for Microsoft IT Operations than anyone else in the past decade. PowerShell has been more impactful and meaningful, both on our community and inside Microsoft, than any other tool or technology that I can think of – including stalwarts like Active Directory.
When Jeffrey authored “The Monad Manifesto,” he literally articulated a ten-year vision that he and the WMF team have seen through to completion and then some. That’s an exceedingly unusual accomplishment at Microsoft, where until recently “product vision” hardly ever outlasted a release cycle. Jeffrey – a mere Partner Program Manager when I first met him at the 2006 product launch in Barcelona in 2006 – championed a .NET-based shell at a time when many high profile .NET projects were failing inside Microsoft. He and the original PowerShell team succeeded, though – on mass scale.
Think about it: they created a shell that has become an integral part of nearly every Microsoft business product, including Azure. What other Microsoft technology has touched so many other products and lives? It’s made Windows in general a viable product from an enterprise manageability perspective, when Windows started out as the butt of manageability jokes. It’s a huge accomplishment that’s required perseverance, vision, and a lot of empathy for a variety of audiences.
Snover has also kept us on a firm path toward making Windows Server more cloud scalable. The inexorable march toward a GUI-less, headless server has been in large part under his direction, taking baby steps to help customers understand the need, the benefits, and the direction for getting there. This for me is literally as big a change as Windows itself, when Bill Gates was still very much at the company’s helm.
Jeffrey and the people he’s inspired are a major part of why I think Microsoft-centric IT has becoming exciting again. We’ve new tools, new technologies, new directions, and new priorities. For once, we’re right at the head of IT Operations progress, not trailing by a decade. We can hold our own against the big boys of business computing, and in a lot of areas we’re the ones showing them how to do it right.
So congratulations, Mr. Snover. I can’t wait to see where you take us next!