Enhancing the ERS

Posted by ChUIMonster on 16-Mar-2010 16:28

Since Kristen mentioned that Product Management has been spending some time with the ERS I thought I'd take a look and see what it looks like these days.  A few random observations:

1) Aren't we supposed to have some sort of single sign-on thing happening?  The ERS doesn't seem to be in the loop on that memo.

2) Of the "Top 10" requests the newest is from May of 1999.  I think some cleanup might be indicated.

3) Viewing "New Requests" returns "No Requests Found With The Selection  Criteria Entered."  Likewise "Updated".

4) When I view "My Requests" I am initially happy, albeit quite surprised, to discover that several are marked as "DONE".  I am surprised because I would have thought it would be a routine matter to notify a requestor that action was taken on their request.  It just seems like such an obvious {"Operationally Responsive" thing to do.  I am only initially happy because, on closer examination, I see that the purported solution is, in at least the first case viewed, not really what the request is about.

5) I see that I still have many requests in a state of EVAL.  While I am quite glad that they are being considered I wonder how long it can take to evaluate these things and I wonder whether or not someone in PM might want to contact the requestor for clarifications and updates (11 years seems longish)?

6) I have a couple of SCHED and ACTIVE requests too!  That's really exciting but I'm a bit concerned about them because a) I haven't been contacted and b) it would appear that they have been in this state for quite some time.  If there is a problem understanding the request I stand ready to help but not knowing that it is being worked on or who is working on it leaves me somewhat under-utilized.

7) I also see that a number of my requests have been NPCLOSED and that in several cases the reasons given clearly show that the person closing the request did not understand it in the same way that I meant it.  Obviously that could mean that I did a really bad job of explaining the request -- but i would have expected some communication to occur to make sure of a thing like that before a request gets rejected...

8) It is 2010 -- why can't I vote, or unvote, for a request by clicking on the check box?

9) If something has reached a terminal status (DONE or NPCLOSED) why wouldn't my vote be automatically removed and made available for re-use?

10) Don't take any mention of votes to mean that I approve of the notion of voting on these things.  I don't think that's a very useful way to look at them.  I think that you would get much better results from a system of likes & dislikes -- or "gold stars" or something like that.  Maybe you could even weight them by peoples rankings over here in "Communities".  Or via some method like that used on Stackoverflow.  Just a thought.

11) There are way too many categories in the "Product Area" drop down.  And many requests really apply to more than one area.  The user should be able to choose multiple tags to associate with a request.

12) Offhand it would seem that a great many of the more recent requests are 4GL (or "abl") oriented.  But there do not seem to be very many indications of any recent PM activity with them.  Random sampling did not find any follow-up questions from PM or any other indications that the requests have been looked at.

Taken together many of these observations serve to reinforce the impression that the ERS is not meaningfuly used by PM.  Perhaps it is a mistaken impression but other than Kristen's post this morning I don't know how a customer would know otherwise.

IMHO for something like the ERS to actually be useful to the community (and PSC would be a big part of "the community") it needs to be much more actively managed.  Making a request shouldn't be a one way street.  PM ought to be proactively and helpfully communicating with the requestor and other interested partes and status updates ought to mean something.  It should be an vibrant part of Progress Communities.  We don't have Exchange anymore to get face time with development so, IMHO, you need to work 10x harder at making the online capabilities work for you.  I don't see that happening.  I see a forgotten corner that nobody has swept out in a long, long time.  If I were a propsect steered to the ERS by a sales person (just in case you think I'm making that up, I'm not, they tell people about it all the time) I think I'd be wondering about lots of things that sales people wouldn't want me wondering about.

All Replies

Posted by Thomas Mercer-Hursh on 16-Mar-2010 16:48

One very desirable enhancement would be a direct link between these forums and the ERS.  A vote doesn't mean much.  5 stars means only slightly more.  A discussion of why a particular enhancement is important, how it would be used, what specific features it would need, what work arounds exist and what problems they have, etc. would make for a far richer resource.

Posted by Tim Kuehn on 16-Mar-2010 17:18

On a prior "iteration" of PSDN / Communities, etc. I got into it with someone who was involved with the ERS about notifications and there was a reason why they refused to send emails to people who submitted requests.

I couldn't make sense of it then and don't remember what the reasons were now.

It's a completely reasonable idea though.

Posted by rbf on 16-Mar-2010 17:28

Good points and observations Tom.

You are forgetting, however, one extremely important usage of the ERS by PSC Tech Support: it helps them ditching calls of customers that they otherwise cannot easily get rid of. Happens to me all the time. Actually that is what eventually started the thread that started this thread

Posted by ChUIMonster on 16-Mar-2010 18:17

Much like the discussion re: debug line numbers that triggered this thread.

Posted by ChUIMonster on 16-Mar-2010 18:25

That sounds hauntingly familiar.  I have the same mystified feeling about that attitude.

Posted by ChUIMonster on 16-Mar-2010 18:28

Well, I won't deny that that has happened to me too.  But if it were a vibrant and proactively managed tool for the improvement of the community I don't think that I would mind so much.

Posted by Thomas Mercer-Hursh on 16-Mar-2010 18:33

To be sure.  Being told to post it somewhere that seems only slightly better than  a circular file is not a positive experience.  Being told that it is a great idea and make sure to get it in the mix of candidates for the next release would feel better, even if it did no more good in the end (he says being pessimistic about multi-threading)

Posted by Tim Kuehn on 16-Mar-2010 20:10

Another conversation I had with a PSC employee who'se name I forget suggested that a college student working over the summer could make a world of difference to the site and not cost that much.

Apparently they didn't think it was an idea worth investing in...

This thread is closed