Wisdom of the Crowds (warning: bit of a rant)

Wisdom of the Crowds (warning: bit of a rant)

  
Hi there,

This is another call to OutSystems about the wisdom of the crowds.
It's a nice feature as long as it's being used for the better, but it's not used AT ALL!
We have ideas, some great, some excellent and some less great, but the community have ideas.
Those ideas are coming from a need in the Platform that we are missing.
Why are they not implemented or even discarded as "we are never going to implement them, because of <xxx>"?

The top-10 of most-liked ideas are more than 2 years OLD!!!
They are liked from 105  users to 242 users!!

Only 1 idea of the "released" ideas has a likeness above 100 (ok, the 2nd one is 98, but i'm ranting here ;) )

We are the users of the platform, the key-users of the platform.
So give us credit and listen to us, like the agile methodology tells us exactly we have to listen to the customer and create what they want, not what the developer thinks the customer wants.

And please, don't give the standard answer of "We are really listening to you, we read every idea etc. etc." because if you do, no idea will stay in the top for more than 2 years.

In summary, when do the ideas get evaluated, implemented or discarded?
Give us transparency...

 Joost.

ps. sorry if I sound negative, but I was browsing through the ideas, and was shocked the top ideas were pretty old... 2 years old.



Hear Hear !! 
Nice idea for a little discussion on the Bitch and Bites in the Netherlands
Hi guys,

The fact that the Wisdom of The Crowds keeps springing up is proof that it is a matter quite close to the developer’s heart and that makes me, in particular, very sensitive to the subject.

As it happens, we are in the middle of internally discussing how the WotC can best serve its purpose as the source of great ideas it is, without generating the source of frustration that at times it generates.

I apologize for starting with the standard answer but we DO listen to what’s there and we DO read all the suggestions and comments :-) – you should always bear this in mind while reading this post or submitting ideas.

However, every suggestion, regardless of how many likes and how good it is, needs to fit both in terms of next platform release “concept” and time to develop to make the cut.

As you have noticed, recent releases of the Agile Platform have centered more and more on overarching concepts like SS revamp, Apps and Themes (6.0) or Staging and DevOps (7.0). These are very strategic releases, with fairly hefty development effort involved in a select few number of areas.

This means that many loose ideas just aren’t in the general area of the work carried for that version. Add to that that some of the, apparently simple, ideas are actually a lot of work to be done right and all of a sudden you have the justification on why certain things have not been implemented… at least not yet.

Take the top voted idea “Test an Action like Test query" as an example. As a developer I absolutely and utterly understand what a great request this is! But as one of the developers of the original Test Query functionality, I can just foretell you how much work Test Action will entail. Should you be able to support Screen Actions? If so, how do you mimick the postback info and if not, why not? How do you handle any extension call that assumes there is http request context? How do you fudge the value of the session variables? Under which tenant should you run the test? What if the action has severe side-effects like screwing up the DB? That sort of thing makes tackling something like this a lot of work not to be taken lightly.

So, really, the WotC should be seen as a great place for people to comment on and voice how they feel the platform could evolve, what are the spots where they believe there is a disconnect between the ease of use of other areas of the OutSystems offer and said spot, on how they would go about solving a particular feature shortcoming… and we then take that body of great knowledge in, munch it into we have on the overall backlog, and take our best shot at delivering a cohesive next version with your help.

Hope this helps balancing out how the Wisdom of the Crowds is seen by both the community and the folks here at OutSystems! :-)

Cheers,
 

Miguel

PS – ... or it could just be that you guys are just a bit bitter about yesterday's football match ;-)
Ok Miguel you win : Parabéns pela vitória !!!

And no, it;s not because of the match but to be honest, see the likes and see the points which are solved in the releases ...

Miguel Melo wrote
:
PS – ... or it could just be that you guys are just a bit bitter about yesterday's football match ;-)
 
 
[At least it was a better match than some years ago with 4 reds and a zillion yellows ;) ]

I understand the reasoning and complexity by certain ideas, but the worst thing one can do is ignoring them "visibly" and implement different stuff.
Ofcourse the reasons you said about the "Test an action like Test Query" are all valid.
Possible suggestion is to create a discussion on a (private) forum about a certain idea with your (r&d) concerns and we can give feedback or why we are convince it should be implement or not.
In the end we might even understand dropping the idea completely because we have not thought about certain implications and/or visions of how Outsystems should be evolving.

Joost Landgraf wrote:
Possible suggestion is to create a discussion on a (private) forum about a certain idea with your (r&d) concerns and we can give feedback or why we are convince it should be implement or not.
In the end we might even understand dropping the idea completely because we have not thought about certain implications and/or visions of how Outsystems should be evolving.
 
Your suggestion is cool but somehow I personally feel we would lose something in the process.

One of the great things about WotC is how democratic it feels to everyone... how open and honest it comes across in looking for feedback. In a sense it's a way for us to say "look, we at OutSystems don't know everything: Sometimes we're so close to the trees we can't see the forest. Drop a line here with your suggestion; let the community simmer it for a bit, throw comments in how your idea could improve". When we ultimately look at it, there's a fair amount of collected brainpower there because a lot of really smart non-OS people have looked at it from a strictly user functional point of view.

But then we need to look at it from a roadmap and backlog point of view, and we need to make a call on what gets implemented "now". So, we're forced into an unpopular triage effort that may not be to everyone's exact taste. We don't do it out of blinkered spite or an arrogant "we are the ones who know it all" attitude at all: we do it to make the best and most cohesive next release possible out of the time and people we have.

Lastly, I firmly believe there is a degree of “if it’s there, I’ll click it” dynamics going on the “Most Liked” area. This is not to say that those aren’t great ideas, but I’m sure the Liked numbers are heavily skewed from the fact that these ideas are permanently on the first page. So it is important to take the “Most Liked” list with a grain of salt too.

So my personal take on WotC is that, if we do keep it, we should keep it in pretty much the democratic terms it is at the moment. What we will need to do is better manage expectations of people that contribute to it by giving more and better feedback (from OS) why some ideas may be quite costly (and therefore subject to long delays) or just outright unfeasible (and therefore not to be implemented).

But, as I said, there is an internal discussion going and not everyone is on the same page yet so I'll keep you posted on how that evolves.

As always keep those comments coming, guys. We really appreciate them!


Miguel
Hi All,

Joost: Credits for the post! It's a point that was a little annoying me also for a longer time now.

I think what is also a point in this subject is that when the WotC was being used there was somebody (of OS) who checked the ideas and added the 'signs' like Done, Comming Soon and so on. I didn't saw these sign at all lately. So I was more and more getting the idea that the WotC wasn't checked at all anymore. Small things keep confirming this, for example: the dashboard is still showing: 'Beta' at the top right. Thought the 'Beta' was closed when it was set public for all OS members.

Some reactions to earlier postings:

Miguel Melo wrote:
I apologize for starting with the standard answer but we DO listen to what’s there and we DO read all the suggestions and comments :-) – you should always bear this in mind while reading this post or submitting ideas.
 
 Well at least now I know you're still looking at it :-).


Miguel Melo wrote:
Take the top voted idea “Test an Action like Test query" as an example. As a developer I absolutely and utterly understand what a great request this is! But as one of the developers of the original Test Query functionality, I can just foretell you how much work Test Action will entail. Should you be able to support Screen Actions? If so, how do you mimick the postback info and if not, why not? How do you handle any extension call that assumes there is http request context? How do you fudge the value of the session variables? Under which tenant should you run the test? What if the action has severe side-effects like screwing up the DB? That sort of thing makes tackling something like this a lot of work not to be taken lightly.
 
 
I must say that I agree with Joost on this. If you have so many question, why don't start a discussion on it? Maybe we only want to test a public action in the same eSpace. Maybe you can start with implementing this. OS got a great community where the discussion can take place. Just connect the forum posting with the WotC (like it is also done with the components help). Why think it all out yourself. It's just like Joost said, on this way we can also understand when something isn't implemented.


Miguel Melo wrote:
Lastly, I firmly believe there is a degree of “if it’s there, I’ll click it” dynamics going on the “Most Liked” area. This is not to say that those aren’t great ideas, but I’m sure the Liked numbers are heavily skewed from the fact that these ideas are permanently on the first page. So it is important to take the “Most Liked” list with a grain of salt too.
 
I already did a WotC post to 'improve' this by rendering the dashboard post dynamicly, see: rendering :) (the only disadvantage is: I'm the only one that likes that :).

The though about that the implementation of ideas can be difficult is understandable, but there are also idea's that are voted normal (about 10 votes) but that are so easy to apply. For example (off course another of mine since I now what I've added): own waiter message. This can be applied so easy so it's not about the effort. If OS don't want that idea to be implemented, why not discard it? On that way it at least is clear it wouldn't be implemented. So there can be made a 'selection' of idea's that would be easy to implement without many effort. That would already give posters to WotC there is something done with submitted ideas.

Kind regards,
Evert

I understand Miguel's point completely. I know, for example, that even something as "simple" as the auto arrange of items in the Service Studio canvas area could take a lot of work! And no one is going to rush out and spend a lot of money on this when they were sitting on the fence just because there is now auto-arrange.

If you look at what is in WotC, very little of it is of that big, "strategic" nature where it is the kind of thing that directly influeces if someone is willing to buy the product or not. I think the last thing in there like that was the "themes" request, which came in 6.0 (thank goodness, too!).

I can understand why folks feel frustrated. Why put stuff in WotC if it doesn't "go anywhere"?

At the same time, I know for a fact that they are listening. How do I know? Because two things that concerned me much more than the smaller, "tactical" suggestions are in the product now: proper multi-tenancy, and themes. These are two items that were really strangling my development efforts. In fact, now that 7.0 is out, my clients are *universally* asking about multi-tenancy. They are EXCITED! Why? Because things that I told them, "I can do this, but it will cost a lot of money" are now, "I can do this, and it will only take a few hours".

Now that multi-tenancy is in place... I am honestly out of big "strategic" change ideas, and I really hope that OutSystems is too (for the moment)! I would like to see 7.1 and 8.0 focus on working through the big backlog in WotC in a rapid, Agile fashion, and burning through the 2 year backlog. I think that if they did that, it would have the functionality and "polish" from Eclipse or Visual Studio that people who are used to other environments expect.

J.Ja