What’s the Big Idea? (An Update About Idea Place)
“Idea Place…where ideas go to die.”
That’s an actual statement (or the quote as I best remember it) from a prominent community member.
Not exactly the kind of thing I’d want to see on a T-shirt.
“Idea Place doesn’t matter” is a sentiment often expressed ’round here. It’s also a sentiment hard for me to refute — because there’s not much evident…uh…evidence to the contrary. So I’d like to explain what has been happening behind the scenes with Idea Place — and what you can expect in the coming weeks.
First, we never ignored anything in Idea Place. When ideas got posted, a member of the SAP Community Experience team responded with some form of acknowledgment (albeit with a generic “thank you” sometimes) and changed the status. Often this status was set to “under review” — and that status remained unchanged for months. That didn’t mean we had forgotten about the idea. It just meant we didn’t do a good job of circling back and providing updates (because, quite honestly, we didn’t always have updates). Still, any update — even the occasional one saying “no update yet” — would have at least told you we were still keeping an eye on Idea Place.
Now, in an exercise long overdue, the SAP Community Experience team members are going through Idea Place to share the latest news. Each of the topics in Idea Place (blogs, tags, notifications, questions and answers, etc.) has a team member responsible for it. And all of the team members will revisit the ideas related to their subject areas — to change the status (where appropriate) and provide updates (where possible).
This work has already begun. I hope that you have seen some of my colleagues more active over the last few days in Idea Place, and you can expect even more activity in the coming weeks.
I hope that you have also noticed that the release highlights link to Idea Place suggestions where appropriate — to show the connection between feature requests and feature delivery.
Sometimes this connection is easy — such as the January 23 release highlights linking to the “Automatically mark a notification as read when notification is clicked upon?” submission. Other times, the connection is a bit more complicated, as we may have only delivered part of an idea. Email notifications is a good example. We rolled this functionality out recently, and we linked this announcement back to Idea Place — but we also admitted that these new email notifications didn’t meet all requirements. Ergo, the idea’s status remains as “accepted” — and it will stay that way until we deliver everything that was requested.
Which brings me to an important point: While we’re aiming to add new comments to all ideas, the statuses won’t change for every one of them. We’ll give updates wherever we can — and we won’t dance around the bad news — but there may be situations where there simply isn’t anything to report. Don’t be surprised if a whole lot of “under review” ideas remain “under review” — simply because these ideas are still under consideration as we work to prioritize so many needed and requested features. Take RSS feeds. RSS is a popular request — in both Idea Place and SAP Community conversations — and certainly one worth serious consideration. Does that mean we’ll bring back RSS (removing WordPress RSS from the equation)? Quite possibly. When? I couldn’t tell you, because prioritization depends on so many factors.
As Gali Kling Schneider wrote in her recent blog post about the roadmap: “We must continuously keep the right balance between what’s wanted and what’s needed, what’s possible and what’s pragmatic.” Put another way: Ideas below a certain threshold may be rejected simply because not enough members showed interested, but even highly voted ideas may not make the cut. (As recent history has shown, the popular vote doesn’t always guarantee a win.) Consider that the Idea Place leader is “Return classic SCN back to keep SAP professionals in the community.” Nothing could more clearly express dissatisfaction with the new platform, but at the same time, we aren’t going to implement the top idea and go back to the SCN Jive application. That being said, any highly voted idea will have some form of influence. Again, to quote Gali: “We will listen to you and do our best to develop with your requirements in mind.”
For some ideas, the answer is a bit gray — as an idea might be somewhat delivered (such as with email notifications) or partially accepted. For example, we may work to address the general request, but we may do so with iterative developments or without the specific solution outlined in the idea. Consider “Q&A – Notifications of ALL activity in a question to everyone related to that question.” The idea has 72 votes, and it has been accepted, but how and when we get to that functionality might not match the path proposed in the idea.
I realize that I’ve only cited a few examples out of hundreds of submissions currently in Idea Place. I also realize that Idea Place alone doesn’t represent all of the feedback from SAP Community members. Most noticeably (and embarrassingly), both the Beta Feedback and Known Issues pages have been gathering dust. So just as we are reviewing Idea Place, we are also reviewing those pages — to prepare status updates and other information about older feature requests and bugs reported.
That’s a lot of content to sift through, a lot of items to investigate. But once the work is complete, we will provide a single source of information about member requests. And we’ll keep it up to date.
My goal is to publish something before the end of the month.
At least that’s the idea.