There’s a very interesting thread going on in the SAP Mentor Forum on SCN. As it’s private, I’m not going to be quoting from it, nor revealing who is on which side. Comments posted the last several days have hit the mark as far as I am concerned, not to mention conversations with Jon Reed on exploring the topic. What I’m going to document below are comments I received on my Solution Manager presentation at SAP TechEd 2009.
It can be disheartening to see low or mixed scores, or to read negative feedback. I know the conventional wisdom is that constructive criticism is only meant to help. But gosh, what some people write can cause a newbie speaker, or someone with a thin skin, to give up trying. I’m neither, though, and will continue to present my story when I can.
I’ll split the comments into left and right – the left being “what was helpful” and right being “what could be improved” – and we all know these are thin disguises for “liked / disliked”.
[All comments transcribed verbatim. Whether the spelling errors are from the authors or the transcibers is impossible to know]
As you can see, there are more areas for improvement than for useful content. What’s funny, or perhaps sad, is that verbal comments to me were uniformly positive. I guess most people prefer to criticize anonymously, fearing a confrontation with a speaker.
Well, how much of the “could be improved” suggestions are due to my speaking skills (or perceived lack thereof), how much are due to my choice of doing a “consumers report” style analysis of what we like and don’t like about Solution Manager, and how much of the comments are completely divorced from the session I gave?
I’ll focus one that annoyed me, apologizing in advance to whoever wrote this comment, and to anyone who thought they were going to get a by-the-book lecture on how to drink the kool-aid:
- ‘Speaker did not seem to “own” content, and later said he didn’t write it. Seemed bored with topic.’
I’m not clear how this perception came across. I’ve spent time trying to get Solution Manager to deliver value back to my company. It isn’t happening. I wrote the material, I did an ASUG webcast on the same subject (there’s a podcast out there as well), and if someone heard me say I “didn’t write it”, I have no idea how that came across. “Seeming boredom”? Right; I’m no cheerleader. I’m an analyst, a critic, and a judge of how well software works. Sorry to burst your bubble.
The image below is from a Solution Manager report, where one week everything is fine, and the next week, no data. Turns out there’s a bug in some SAP systems, that was triggered on 22-Feb-2010. I noticed it the next Monday in Early Watch report, and it took time and effort to find the error, and make necessary corrections. As the repair depended on daily data being available, and we only keep about a week of that online, we now have holes in our data trending.