I had an “all-hands” meeting today at CheckFree in which we discussed our division’s strengths and weaknesses. One of the things I gleaned from this was that there is a desire by upper management for solutions to be simple, instrumented, and bullet-proof when they’re handed off. This rings true in many people’s minds, I think. At least those that develop or support products and technologies.
Just now, I downloaded Microsoft’s “Patch Management Using SMS 2003” solution accelerator. I couldn’t be bothered with all the helpful informatio provided on the pages leading to the eventual download of this Word doc, but I was bothered with the result. Microsoft has packaged this document as an installer (.msi). Why would I ever install a document?!? Documents are portable at best in my hands. They’re temporary too. Now I have an installer control linked to a portable, temporary document file that I will inevitably move and/or delete. There goes any hope for that installer control. What the crap is that? I am utterly disgusted with Microsoft’s decision to package this document as an MSI (they’re doing with lots of documents, actually). If any of you Microsofty blog’r people are reading this – send my rant upwards.
The connection between the two statements above is in the first paragraph. Microsoft has always been a company striving to deliver solutions that are, at least, simple. “Instrumentation” and “Bullet-Proofness” are in there two, but they can possibly impact delivery deadlines. In consideration of simplicity, “packaging” things that are not notoriously packaged is not. It’s simple in the aspect of software delivery, but there is a line of separation. From now on, stop proposing ideas to user test subjects and start listening for customer feedback to define your product’s direction. I refuse to believe that customers requested that Microsoft wrapped their documents into installers. Also, don’t allow the customers to own your feature-set with ridiculous notions and unrealistic ideas – just in case they did request this :O