Why should I file bugs/ suggestions for Microsoft (CTP) products ?

By | June 5, 2011

One of the surprising things for me when I joined the SSAS team is when I got a meeting request to attend a bug triage one of the first weeks I was here in Redmond. The title of the meeting was “bug triage”. I worked in a hospital before so I knew what triaging was. As Wikipedia puts it: “Triage is the process of determining the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition.” So I figured what do we have to do with triaging?

As it turns out in these meetings we look at all open bugs / suggestions that come in. As you can imagine during the development of a product as large as SQL Server or part of it Analysis services: a lot of bugs are found, part by manual testing and part by automated tests. In the meeting all disciplines within the team are represented, there will be Testers, Developers and Program managers.

At these triage meetings we look at these bugs / suggestions and consider if they meet the bar for fixing the problem or build the suggestion. As you can imagine at the start of the release all bugs are fixed but as time progresses and the deadline comes closer the bar to fix bugs becomes higher and higher. We take a lot of things into account, how much time will it take to fix it, is it potentially destabilizing, do we have a good workaround, how many people will encounter this, will they know how to solve it. This all takes into account whether we fix it or not. And trust me these meetings are never easy, a lot of discussion goes on. But at some point we have to draw a line and get the product out of the door, of course severe cases could change this but the process that surrounds shipping a product makes the likelihood of such a bug being found that late in the cycle very unlikely.

A fun and interesting part of the bug / suggestions pile are the ones that are files by customers on the connect site. They are automatically added to the same pile as the ones that are filed by the product teams themselves. All bugs and suggestions filed by customer will go through the same triage committees, everything you post on connect will be visual to the product teams and conscious decisions are made by them regarding the bugs / suggestions. Bugs filed by customers are often regarded with higher importance as the bugs that are filed internally, the fact that the filer comes across this bug makes it very likely others will come across it as well.

Part of getting a public CTP out of the door is to get feedback from customers. So if you see something you don’t like at all or found a bug please do not hesitate to file an item on connect. This will give us the feedback we need to make the product even better!   If you want to know when the next public CTP will be released, sign up here. Of course filing bugs can also be done on a already released product, so if you want to change the product you use every day, file a suggestion.

To file suggestions and bugs go to: http://connect.microsoft.com/ . To directly go to the SQL server page go here: https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/Feedback  and add your feedback.

 

  • Kasper, what happens when we file a suggestion? It would be good to know how to get them through the door apart from voting. Are you reviewing them on PM level, or are they “triaged” just like bugs by a “committee”??

  • Kasper de Jonge

    Hi @Boyan Penev ,

    Thanks for the quick response 🙂

    Yes they are triaged on the same pile. Sometimes when more information is required or it is a very interesting idea they will be assigned to PM’s to look into it in more detail. Suggestions usually won’t make it for the same release they are filed in but often they will be put in the the next major release since those implementation are often very impact-full. Suggestions with a lot of vote’s often make more chance of making it into the product.

    Sometimes things that seems so trivial from the outside are very hard to do, I noticed first hand. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” seems very appropriate for getting things done 🙂

    Kasper

  • Thanks! It is always good to know that spending effort on Connect is worthwhile – I’ve had a few small things fixed in the past and I fully understand that implementing everything is hard/impossible. Still, even unreasonable in their scope suggestions are a good way to prod you every now and then 😉

  • Juan José

    I would like to make a suggestion on Excel but not in the program. How can I submit it? As much as I wanted not know how to send Microsoft the same.

    Thanks Regards.

  • Kasper de Jonge

    Hi @Juan José ,

    Office doesn’t have a ongoing connect like SQL does so you cannot file suggestions for Office when you are not in the program.

    Thanks,
    Kasper