I recently (hopefully recently, my last post took two years to get published so I'm not sure when this one will go out, LOL) posted one of my typical light-hearted looks into life at Microsoft (it was about how office space is allocated, read it here). Although it was irrelevant to virtually everything, it elicited many interesting responses, including people complaining (I think) about us having it too good here. No argument there. Actually, I was intentionally portraying the situation in a negative light so as not to upset everyone too much. In reality, we all have 1000 square foot corner window offices (our office buildings were designed by MC Escher) that overlook a lake or mountains (our choice), with a private bathroom, a fold out bed for nap time, and a full service kitchen.
But never mind that. There were also many comments on the feature set of Exchange 2007 (rather irrelevant to the pointless topic, but important nevertheless). They were mostly not liking certain feature take-backs in the release, particularly around the administrative GUI. I just want everyone to know that despite the light tone here, we do take these comments seriously. Let me assure you that the discussion that my post prompted generated many a transaction log on our corporate Exchange servers!!
Some of you that have been reading our blog for a long time may have noticed that we have taken a very open position regarding the comments that we get on our blog posts. I believe that there were only 2 or 3 cases when we deleted a comment and that was because of some really inappropriate language. We want to keep your comments there, both positive and negative. We read every single one of them and respond to many. We do want to encourage you to post your opinions and ideas, but we do have ask something: if there is an area that is very upsetting to you or where you think we made a mistake, we ask that you would offer criticism about the product, and not the people who work on it. Also, since we actively look to these comments as evidence to make potential changes in our products, we again ask that you would provide specific, actionable feedback on our product. In other words, please explain what it is that bothers you and why it bothers you. What are you trying to accomplish that you can't? Sometimes the comments are obvious (we totally and completely get it that you need more GUI and it's unfortunate we weren't able to get as much of it in to E2K7 RTM as we'd hoped, but we hope that SP1 works better for you there), but sometimes they are not, so the more you explain your user scenario, the better a chance we'll be able to eventually do something about it.
In closing, I'd just like to point out the obvious that every product that has ever shipped anywhere has had to make trade-offs between shipping on time, shipping with quality, and shipping with the right features. For Exchange 2007, we debated long and hard about features that we would ship. We had to balance investments that we wanted to make into the Exchange code base to allow for future innovation (would people be interested in a description of those architectural bets? Or if we posted it, would we just get more "you should have done <my feature foo>" instead? :), feature cuts we felt we had to make to get the quality we wanted to ship with and the timeline we felt it needed to ship in. We knew some of the cuts would be painful, and we have addressed many of the larger issues in SP1 (some posts on this coming your way, by the way!). Judging from the early success of Exchange 2007 sales, the many positive reviews we've garnered, and most customer feedback, we seem to have made some pretty good choices here. But obviously - not perfect. We always need to try to do better.
I look forward to the responses this post may receive, and rest assured there are lots of people in Exchange who will be paying attention to them, as with all our posts on this blog. Thank you for coming back and caring enough to comment!