After 4,5 years, this is my last week at Rencore.
Where it all started
I remember it as if it was yesterday. My first meeting with Torsten, Rencore's CTO, to talk about what Rencore does and what I've been working on. We met on a Saturday morning in an office at Munich airport.
After a decade in consulting, I was up for another challenge. When I first talked to Rencore, I knew nothing about SPCAF - Rencore's flagship product that helps developers build better SharePoint solutions. I didn't even know anything about code analysis for that matter. But the idea of writing code than analyzes code seemed intriguing, and so I joined. Little I knew how working on products at Rencore would change my life.
My first week at Rencore coincided with a preview of SharePoint Framework - Microsoft's then-new model for extending SharePoint. I recall attending the SharePoint dev kitchen together with Erwin van Hunen. My first job was to understand the model, investigate the opportunity for Rencore, and extend SPCAF with analysis of SPFx solutions.
As time passed by, my responsibilities evolved from helping to develop SPCAF to leading it as a Product Manager. At that time, we've been also expanding our product portfolio with solutions that helped customers transform their applications from on-premises to the cloud and govern their Office 365 platform. I really enjoyed thinking together with the rest of the team about the different opportunities and how we could address them, both from the technical as well as business point of view.
At some point, I realized, that my interest in product management was increasing. And so I took the opportunity to head all of Rencore's product strategy as a Head of Product.
It's in these jobs that I learned about building software products and how it's different from working on projects. I learned about the importance of understanding users' needs, shipping value, communication, adoption, product prioritization, and planning, and many many more things that go well beyond software development.
Sharing is caring
Shortly after joining Rencore, I became a part of Microsoft 365 Patterns and Practices - a cross-organization initiative lead by Microsoft and including community members from all over the world meant to help developers extend Microsoft 365 to their needs while following the best practices and recommendations.
As a Microsoft MVP, I was used to sharing my experiences with others in the community. Being a part of PnP allowed me to focus my energy and gave me a communication channel to reach a broader audience. Together with other PnP team members, we've been producing tools, code samples, documentation, videos, and other resources to help developers achieve more on Microsoft 365.
Over the past few years, we grew PnP from focusing on SharePoint development to a diverse program encompassing not only all services of Microsoft 365 but also all audiences! Our job with PnP is not finished, it never will be. But it's truly awesome to see the progress we've made thanks to everyone's selfless contributions.
Next part of my journey
I haven't realized until just recently, that what I've been doing both as an MVP and at PnP for all these years, is actually developer relations. I've been building tools, writing articles, and guidance, presenting at events and webinars to help other developers. Through MVP and PnP channels I've been providing product feedback to Microsoft. And I've been doing it as a side-project, a hobby. It's never been my job. At times I found it a shame that I couldn't spend more time on it and had to balance it with my work and family. So when I recently saw an opportunity to change it, I knew I didn't want to miss it.
Coming October 1, I'll be joining Microsoft as a Microsoft 365 Cloud Developer Advocate. In this new job, I will be helping developers build applications on Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 is continuously evolving and introducing new extensibility capabilities. Together with other Cloud Advocates, we'll be providing you with all kinds of resources to help you understand what's possible and how you can build solutions for your organization or customers. I will also be reaching out to you to understand where you struggle and what we at Microsoft can improve to offer you a better experience: no matter if it's in the product, tooling, or documentation.
I'm grateful for the opportunities and trust I got at Rencore. Rencore helped me grow both personally and professionally, and I'm sure I'll be benefitting from everything I learned there, in my new job as well. It's been a true pleasure to be a part of the Rencore team.
While I'm leaving, Rencore keeps innovating and finding new ways to help their customers hold the reins of their Microsoft 365 tenants. In fact, they're just about to ship a new product so if you're interested in Microsoft 365 governance, be sure to reach out to them to learn more.
In other circumstances, I'd say goodbye, but we're all a part of the Microsoft 365 community and I'm sure our paths will cross in the future. So instead, I'll say thank you and until next time.
Photo by Sapan Patel on Unsplash