Testers Respond

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-02-25 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Overall, Sinofsky provided a detailed account of how Microsoft incorporates feedback from users and how the company makes decisions as to what to address and in what order. For instance, he said:

The challenge of how to incorporate all the feedback at this stage in the cycle is significant. It is emotional for us at Microsoft and the source of both considerable pride and also some consternation. We often say "no matter what happens, someone always said it would." By that we mean, on any given issue you can be assured that all sides will be represented by passionate and informed views of how to resolve it, often in direct opposition to each other plus every view in the middle. That means for the vast majority of issues there is no right or wrong in an absolute sense, only a good decision within the context of a given situation. We see this quite a bit in the debates about how features should work-multiple solutions proposed and debate takes place in comments on a blog (people even do whole blogs about how things should work). But ultimately on the Windows development team we have to make a call as we're seeing a lot of people are looking forward to us finishing Windows 7, which means we need to stop changing the product and ship it. We might not always make the right call and we'll admit if we don't make the right call, even if we find changing the behavior is not possible.

One of the testers expressing frustration of the type Sinofsky was responding to is Chris Holmes, who authors the GeekSmack blog.  In a recent post, Holmes wrote, "I know I drifted off into a bit of a rant ... and hopefully this feedback is taken seriously by the Windows team (hey, there's a chance, it's not like we're dealing with the Windows Live team, those people don't know the meaning of the word feedback)."

Yet, in another post, Holmes noted that Sinofsky personally responded to one of his queries. Holmes wrote, "I honestly was not expecting a reply as I understand that Steven is undoubtedly a very busy man. But when I checked my in-box a few hours later, not only did he respond, but he did a very good job explaining his position and why the interim builds were not a good option for this release cycle."

And a commenter to Sinofsky's own post said:

The frustrating thing about all my feedback on Microsoft Connect is that most of the time I got one reply: "You should create a DCR. This is not a bug." My response: "How can I create a DCR?" And I got no answer[...]

And there are sites like the Windows 7 Taskforce. Where users discuss and most of the time come to a consensus. There is 1 issue that "will be fixed" and 4 things that are fixed. One feature request was marked as "fixed" when in fact it's not. Out of over 500 entries. Most of these things wouldn't be hard to implement: Adding 1px borders around elements, changing bitmaps, changing colors and so on have NO impact on stability and don't have to be localized. I don't get why MSFT doesn't change those things. If only to make Windows look more polished.

Meanwhile, Sinofsky summarized his argument: "The work of acting on feedback responsibly and managing the development of Windows through all phases of the process is something we are very sincere about. Internally, we've talked a lot about being a learning organization and how we're always learning how to do a better job, improve the work we do, and in the process work to make Windows even better."



 
 
 
 
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel