Coffeehouse Thread

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Microsoft and Email

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  • User profile image
    richy_roo

    I heard from various people Microsoft employees have an email management course as part of their induction.

    Is there any MS people who can pass on some tips about 'managing' your inbox?

    Thanks

  • User profile image
    spod

    i have never heard of this initiative but would probably benefit from it.

    i have one large pile of mails in my inbox...i typically have around 1000 unread. if they drop below a couple of weeks old i never get to them. people typically email me again if it's important. If something really irritates me, i right hand mouse it to blocked senders list.

    This is a very bad way of managing your inbox, but i've been using it for 5 years here so it's certainly a valid option if you're looking for justification Smiley

  • User profile image
    stephbu

    Funnily enough I did my New Employee Orientation again a year or so ago (pretty funny being told about the company that you've worked 10 years for already - happens when you relocate). 

    There is so much stuff they go through that there isn't really time to get coached on etiquette or managing the volume of mail then.  The NEO may have changed - but I doubt it - it's already pretty lengthy.

    We do run courses on effective time management however, and I think email catered for by one of those.

    We all use Outlook + Exchange Rules in some form or other.  I subscribe to quite a few discussion aliases so managing their noise is critical, some of my strategies include:

    Rule to move all items where I'm not directly on the To: line or mail flagged as Hi Pri out into a seperate 'low-pri' inbox.  I regularly read Hi-Pri, and skip Low-Pri if I'm pushed for time.

    Colour coding mails in my inbox depending on who sent it.  Yes my boss is RED!  Gives a quick way to scan for important comments.

    Rules to move mail sent to discussion lists into discrete folders viewed grouped by thread subject with archiving set to delete mails after a week for example.  Get at least a flavour of what's going on in the forum.

    Use flags and tasks to track mail that needs followup.  Drag-dropping mail onto the lefthand tasks 'tab' creates a new task with that mail as an attachment.  Good way of tracking status and reporting on it at the end of the week.

  • User profile image
    dweller

    Well, the training they give you at MSFT is pretty introductory, but there's additional courses you can take.  Here's what I do:

    1) All mailing list stuff gets dumped to a hierarchy of folders for mailing lists.  I occasionally go in there and mass delete unread messages.  If I havne't read it in a week, most likely it's dead information (or I can search an archive later)

    2) All mail that is CC'ed to me goes into a "You've got CC" folder.  Woe be to the person foolish enough to ask me to do something and neglect to move my name to the "To" list.  I usually read this once a day if I have spare time.

    3) A special "catch all" folder called "Not to Me" when all remaining email that is not directly addressed to me (or in a specified "whitelist"...my bosses, people in my bosses org, etc.) will get dumped there.  I occasionally refine the rule so that the stuff that gets dumped there is stuff really not directed to me (company announcements, newsletters, the usual crapulence).

    Just doing these three things keeps my inbox VERY small.

    Well, not quite -- I do get a lot of email in my Inbox folder.  If it's something that's unactionable, I delete it.  If I need to do later, I flag it with a date.  Everything else I reply to and then (typically) delete the message.

    Personally, I don't use color-coded email.  I know lots of other people that do.  Whatever works for you.

  • User profile image
    Cider

    So what sort of email environment do Microsoft use?  Is it all Exchange based or more based on the portals?

    I only last month got into properly setting up my own environment within Outlook, setting Tasks, my Calender, etc.  I've been mighty impressed since doing that.  I finally see the point of the Outlook Today page!  However, I feel it is too far a jump for our "normal" users.

    And then there is that blasted IMAP Sent Items issue...

  • User profile image
    jonathanh

    Cider wrote:
    So what sort of email environment do Microsoft use?  Is it all Exchange based or more based on the portals?
    It's pretty much all Exchange 2003/Outlook 2003.  Remote users can also use Outlook Web Access, but now that Outlook 2003 can talk securely to Exchange 2003 over the internet without needing to first set up VPN connection, OWA usage has probably gone down quite a lot.

  • User profile image
    Jaz

    sorry to hijack, but how about a dogfood video?  whats the turnaround times from when a product is launched to when all your servers and workstations are upgraded?

  • User profile image
    Mike Dimmick

    Jaz wrote:
    sorry to hijack, but how about a dogfood video?  whats the turnaround times from when a product is launched to when all your servers and workstations are upgraded?


    I know someone in Exchange PSS in the UK. I've heard that Microsoft ITG is basically Microsoft's biggest Beta site - they deploy betas and release candidates internally on the production systems. Someone (was it Euan Garden?) in the recent SQL Server videos mentioned that MS payroll is right now running on SQL Server 2005 Beta 2.

    Windows XP SP2 was a requirement back at beta 2 - I remember my contact swearing at the firewall software back in March.

    Presumably this means that www.microsoft.com is currently running Windows Server 2003 SP1 RC1...

    You can find out more about how MS does IT at the Microsoft IT Showcase on Technet.

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