Customer Presentations

I’m 35,000 feet in the air while I make this post ( which always geeks me out :) ), coming home after a few days participating in some events I pointed out in my last post. Although these trips are always tiring, they are also always *very* informative. I’m always surprised by some of the challenges our customers are faced with, and as I hear of some of these issues, I can’t help but stop to think about how our current and future Visual Studio tooling offerings can help. This trip, it was made very clear yet again that we’ve got a winner with our investments in the Test space and ALM space in general. Folks continue to struggle with common phenomenon, such as:

  • “Works on my box!”
    • When I talked about this issue, everyone just laughed with almost defeatist familiarity, having experienced it many many times themselves. You know, the issue where someone walks in to tell a developer about a problem with the latest bits, only to have that developer reply in a dissapproving / “your wasting my time” tone: “Don’t know, ‘cause it works on my box.” When we discussed the various ways VS2010 Ultimate was battling this issue, you could see the hunger in the eyes of the person who was just laughing about it.
  • Project Health and Visibility
    • Folks continue to look for ways to get a better understanding of what is going on with their systems. This “visibility” comes in lots of different forms, depending on who you are on the team. The manager wants to know if dates are feature sets are going to make it, developers trying to figure out what is really going to happen when they touch that particularly smelly piece of code, end users wondering if they are really going to get what they asked for, etc. The new reporting capabilities we’ve built into Team Foundation Server and the ability to interact with MOSS directly to customize those reports was greatly appreciated.
    • Folks really liked the visibility that our new Standard Graphs and DGML docs, as well as automatic Sequence diagram generation afforded them. As I was demonstrating those features, lots of questions poured in, such as
      • Q: “Is the standard graph capability limited to just the code in the solution?”
      • A: “No, you can drag and drop any managed assembly onto the DGML document surface, double click, and away you go. Or, you can use the Architecture Explorer to ‘Select files…’, choose an assembly, then select the ‘Standard Graph’ option”
      • Q: “Can I use the code discovery tools on native code?”
      • A: “Not yet. We’re working on that as we speak, and trying to get C++ support in our first power tool deliverable coming as close to VS2010 RTM as we can.”

It is always amazing that no matter how many new features and capabilities you pour into a new release, seems like the first question coming from a customer always highlights the area of the product that you had to cut some features on, or asking for things that never made the list in the first place! Good job security I suppose…. :)

But one of the comments that a customer said to me this trip that made me very proud of our big Visual Studio team, was the fact that he really appreciated how willing Microsoft was to get feedback on the product and how willing we are to action on that feedback. I’m so glad folks are noticing that ‘cause we are really trying! :)

One other thing I want to point out before I sign off, Anu has posted some great links to videos showing off much of the test product that is new in VS2010. If you haven’t checked that out, please do.




P.S. I screwed up on my acronym recollection this trip. I was going on and on about how great the Microsoft Extensibility Framework was, and how we were using that all over Visual Studio these days. That’s all well and good, but it is the Managed Extensibilty Framework , not Microsoft. ( sigh ) Thanks for pointing that out Tim, *after* the presentations! :)