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Author's profile photo Otto Gold

What we could use on Idea Place, part 1

I have recently become a big fan of Idea Place (IP) and think a lot about what we need to do to help Idea Place become the Platform (big P) we would like to have. If you would like to read my last blog about Idea Place, you can see it here: Idea Place before, during and after Teched Berlin 2010.

Let me tell you about my Ideas (I have to promise to post them on Idea Place as well, right…?).

If you have your own Ideas about Idea place, please comment on this blog, add your ideas on Idea Place and help spread the word. As Kuhan Milroy say: “Idea Place began as a bottom up strategy, as a Pilot. This has proven well, thank you to those who have supported Idea Place, so far. Idea Place has had a lot of internal and external interest, visibility and buy-in and I would say is on a good track for SSO with SCN. However, Idea Place is not out of the woods yet and it needs your support to really showcase the solution, get enough ecosystem usage such that it gets internal buy-in to fund this project well.

Side note: I plan to blog about the Idea place any my suggestion for future improvements but need to emphasize the blogs will not come to complain or something. The motivation will be similar to the one that made me to start Tiny details I would love to have on SDN, part 6 series (6 parts so far). That means: I prefer to talk about the suggestions – tell the whole story from beginning to end – why, how, what are the alternatives, strengths and weaknesses etc. And of course receive feedback (from you, dear reader). I plan to connect my logs with Idea place to make sure all the Ideas I suggest are posted on IP and vice versa: the Ideas I post on IP are described in detail in blogs and more details than you can usually find in the Idea description on IP are covered.

Actions transparency

Believe it or not, we have some of the Ideas already delivered. You can see those listed at the top left of the Idea place main page (well: I could use a link saying something like “More…” where I would be able to see all the ideas which are already delivered, simple filter on all ideas with status “DELIVERED” should not be a problem. But since we all know this is not the only thing SAP does for “living”, let´s wait for another major release). But a natural question arises here: What happened before the status was changed to “DELIVERED”? Ok, ok, we can read “something” there like in the Add Business Objects Products. Kuhan Milroy, who cares a lot about Ideas posted on IP, added a comment, but there are some missing points.

Kuhan Milroy is not the man, responsible for approving the Ideas. He changed the status after an internal processes was completed, where there were some steps completed, people involved, questions answered etc. The weak point of the way we can see status changes now is obvious: Not many statuses were used after the Idea was created and before it was marked “DELIVERED” (example: without comment but is marked “delivered” now). That means a man (woman) who submitted the Idea has no feedback about what is happening with his/her Idea. So let´s sum this “weakness” up:

  • More statuses – more changes and more phases would help the people understand that something is going on. That a different phase of the “internal project” was started (what could bring some more targeted inputs than the ordinary comments, right? Example: at the beginning, you seek all the ideas and comments relevant to the original idea, but when you start building a real business case, you need inputs on the narrowed scope, not any more general comments). (posted this Idea on IP as: More statuses (+ descriptions) ).
  • Side note: Some statuses are already mentioned in idea Place FAQ as What status can my idea take and what do those statuses mean? But I cannot see any meaning and so am sure the status set and the meaning will be improved later.
  • (more on statuses) By the way: it would be just great if a simple timeline graph would be created. It would help. Example: one would be able to see all the status changes together with dates in the picture. And through some fancy Ajax scripting or something it could allow users to read comments relevant for the certain phase (selected on the timeline).
  • (more on statuses) It would be also helpful if every status change (one could think about the status change as a new phase of the “project”) would let the user who changes the status to add a message so in the list of comments one would be able to see which comments were added during which phase, that certain phase was finished with certain results (ok, I can understand that some of the phases would lead to the “during this phase the project was found not that useful”).

Note: I don´t want to turn Idea Place into some crazy complex ticket tracker where SAP would have to justify every status change or show all the details on the internal processes. I only suggest things that could help the users adopt the Idea place, feel more passion and personal interest in the Ideas etc.

Idea timeline

Diagram description: At first the Idea was created (the (*) star sign could be clickable or the user could hover over to see some more details).

Then the users started (C)ommenting on the idea, started suggesting more feature or even less features, the Idea was reviewed by the public. Because the comments and votes helped the “Idea owner” (be it the man/woman who submitted the Idea or the “topic owner” – the SAP official who has the power to “make promises”) to “consolidate” the idea, the Idea description was (R)ewritten.

After some time enough feedback was gathered and the “official” changed the (S)tatus of the Idea to tell all the interested people the process got a step further. Such status change could involve a short comment etc.

Some more comments are placed next but somebody decides that the Idea is not something that should e implemented (example: number of votes CON was big or something, so the Idea is cancelled (let me use X here…).

I posted the Idea on IP as Idea “timeline”.

  • More names involved in the process (maybe even with the contacts? Or If SAP people don´t want to receive the “spam mails” from IP, some Inbox feature or enriched view of the Idea could be introduced? Example of the enriched view: Private messages between people and the SAP officials responsible for the Idea would be seen between the “ordinary” comments, but with limited visibility for the users and with some fancy colorful background maybe…?). Since this is essential for the processes going, let me elaborate on this in the next “sub-chapter”. Posted on IP as More SAP people involved.

Some of the points could help Kuhan deliver a “transparent channel for idea communication”, I think. I remember Kuhan saying: “Idea Place is not only an interface for idea collaboration it is an interface for idea communication. Not only can a community member submit ideas there, they can also track them and see where each idea stands. When an idea is updated, they will get a status update providing transparency on what is happening. If the owning team wants to reach out to interested parties, for say a deep dive, then Idea Place will facilitate that connection. Without following the Idea Place, then there is no way to see where an idea is ranked or what the status of it is or be a part of further elaboration.” I hope we will get where we want to together (soon).

I hope to receive some feedback here any maybe will see your comments and votes on Idea Place. You don´t have to focus on my Ideas, really, but think about the things people suggest there and let us know what do you think.

Have a nice day, Otto

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      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt
      You spent a good deal of time thinking this out and did an amazing job of illustrating.
      It's a pretty unique tracking you have thought of which does two things.
      1) impresses me with its creativity and  thoughtfulness
      2) has me agreeing with your thoughts on transparency of tracking...reminds me of some of what we implemented in the blog moderation where at least we can trace conversations about quality and see iterations
      3) has me worried that it might take a really long time to implement these tracking capabilities and so I would hope that someone, at some stage can set expectations about how much or how little this might be configurable.

      At any rate, you did a fabulous job of thinking and documenting your thoughts for us.

      Author's profile photo Otto Gold
      Otto Gold
      Blog Post Author
      Hello Marilyn,
      thank you for the kind words. If you like this post, you will hopefully like the coming ones as well:)) And they´re coming. In fact I wrote the text first and now will be posting it here, every two Words pages of the document as a new blog.
      I am sure nobdy will confuse my suggestions/ expectations and what SAP can/plans to deliver.
      The purpose is simple: I promised Michael Schwandt to help market Idea Place a little. So that´s what I do. Even if we would not get what I suggest, I could market the Ideas, get some votes and comments and that is what helps Idea Place grow, become more mature every "day", and attract some more attention both internally and on SCN.
      Hope I can count you will read the coming blogs, hm? Have a nice day, Otto
      Author's profile photo Zal Parchem
      Zal Parchem
      I can definitely see the value you are pointing out for this to be implemented.  How do you envision this being displayed?  Would the timeline be on the top of the orginal posting or maybe a separate list of all ideas in a specific topic are inside Idea Place(like a summary)?   And would there be other stauses involved?  For example, A = Approved by SAP to Work On, W = Being Worked Upon, D = Delivered.  I agree you do not want this to be complicated, so the thought of standard "milestones" like you have are very appealing.  Regards - Zal
      Author's profile photo Otto Gold
      Otto Gold
      Blog Post Author
      Hello Zal,
      I wonder if you´re following me or something:)) I have received some comments of yours recently.
      I prefer to have this discussion on Idea place, what do you think? By the way, did you vote for any of the Ideas mentioned here?
      I´d like to know if this makes sense (to market the ideas), or more like ranting...
      Thank you anyway, hope to see you around again:))
      Cheers Otto
      Author's profile photo Zal Parchem
      Zal Parchem
      Maybe we just have similar interests, that's all.  With trying to get a good understanding of the SCN, and the number of comments I have been posting, maybe some others think I have been following them also.  &:-D

      Yes, I did vote on Idea Place - you should have two votes now on each idea!  Absolutely no rant at all - it is a great idea to market.  Regards - Zal