Feed me Seymour!

Ok, so my gym apperantly closes after 2ish or something lame like that. So i’m back doing push-ups and crunches instead. As I rest I thought I’d talk to you about an interesting conversation I was having with Jay today. We were discussing some of the core XP principles, specifically “Communication” and “Feedback”. It’s not entirely clear what the difference between the two are, but I see feedback as a sort of instantanious way of knowing if you are doing things right or wrong, while communication is a consistant dialog to help you determine what is right and what is wrong. (Jay will probably chew me out on this, he usually uinderstands this stuff a lot better).

However, as discussing it, I came to a small realization. Blogs and LadyBug are helping us live up to those principles. Blogs serve as a way for us to communicate with the community. It’s a continuous system where we can all get together and just discuss the past, present and future and we can all get to know about each other and what we care about. By doing this there’s a way for the community to let us know what they are interested in and for us to ask how we’re doing. LadyBug, on the other hand, doesn’t have the advantage of a discussion where you can communicate in a timely fashion. However, it does give us the impactful feedback to know if we are doing right or wrong. Somethings don’t need communication (at least I don’t think we do). If we crash when you try to generate a method stub inside a try {} with no following catch block, then that’s just a bug and we’ve done wrong. If you have ideas for what you’d like to see, or other such suggestions, then you can talk to us through the blogs, or you can file then at Ladybug. Each bug gets viewed and willl be addressed by a real person 🙂

But these systems only work if both sides are committed to them and work to try to make them successful. So far I’ve seen a tremendous amount of communication take place in a short time with the blogs, and I’m hoping that those of you who read this will try out the express skus (and other betas) and will use some of that fantastic energy to give us vital feedback about the products. We’re getting near to the home stretch of these products. They’re due in first half 2005, which isn’t that far away anymore. So the sooner we receive feedback the better chance that we’ll be able to address it in the Whidbey timeframe. As we get closer and closer the bar rises higher and higher, and even though you might tell us things that we really would like to do, there just won’t be the resources to get it down in a short amount of time.

There were two principles I didn’t mention. “Courage” and “Simplicity”. How do you think those apply to how we work with the community? Do you feel we can, or should, be doing more? If so, then hopefully through the Communication/Feedback systems we now have you can let us know what you think and we can try to adjust to serving your needs better!

Comments (3)

  1. jaybaz [MS] says:

    Courage: It has taken Courage for Microsoft to open itself up in this way. When I joined the company 8 years ago, my participation in public newsgroups was frowned upon. Today it’s required!

    Simplicity: Microsoft doesn’t value simplicity. That’s all there is to it.