Recently we've been discussing CTPs and you have given us some great feedback about what you like and don't like.  We'll be using that feedback inform our future plans.  I'd like to talk to you about another form of transparency we've been working on - publishing specifications.  CTPs are great and they provide a good opportunity to test drive new features but by the time you get that, we've already done a lot of the work and, in some cases, completely finished the feature.

After we shipped VS2005, Soma wrote some blog posts about transparency and promised to share information earlier.  Among other things, Soma talked about sharing specifications.  Somewhere along the way, some of our efforts to deliver on that promise took a left turn.

I'm happy to tell you that we have reassessed our plans and reinvigorated our commitment.  There is a new MSDN Page available now that will contain specs as we release them.  There are two sections of specs - one for features that have not yet been released in CTPs and one for features that have been.  At the moment there are relatively few specs posted (about 20) but I expect that number to grow - for instance, we're pulling together a list of additional TFS specs we can publish now.

Now, don't expect us to publish absolutely everything - we haven't completely lost all sense of capitalism here :)  There will be some considerations made about what we publish and when.  IP protection, competition and other considerations will affect how we manage this program over time.  But, I believe we'll be erroring on the side of sharing as much as we can.

The page contains instructions on how you can give us feedback on the specs that you read.  Further on the road to expectation setting - of course we can't take and implement every suggestion you make.  We, like you, have constraints around time and resources and have to make scoping decisions for all of the features we build.  We'll listen to all of the feedback you give and do what we can to incorporate it.

We genuinely hope this new program will be valuable to you.  We hope that it will give you even earlier insight into what we are doing and even more opportunity to affect the outcome.

 

As always, please give us feedback on what you think about it.  We'll keep working on improving our connection with you...

Brian