Before I worked at Microsoft, I rarely filled out surveys or provided my feedback, even when requested. I think this was due to the somewhat misguided idea that I would take the time to give my feedback and then no change would come of it.

Since I started working here, I have completely changed my thinking on that. At Microsoft, they are consistently asking for feedback. Not only that, but they actively implement changes based on that feedback. This was the first time I actually saw this in action. Whenever someone here implements or changes a program, a process or an initiative, they typically send out a survey or solicit feedback in some way. When I attend a training class, it's always followed by a survey. They even follow up after the company picnic with a survey. At Microsoft, this is a cultural norm and applies to both internal and external customers.

So I've changed my thinking, and now I believe that companies do want to hear from their customers. Not just because they are caring and really like to listen, but because it gives them a competitive advantage. And in this age of fierce competition, even a small advantage can affect the bottom line. Even if a company isn't that interested in hearing from me at that moment, I figure that my feedback - which I always frame in a positive way - will end up somewhere, and at some point, someone may be interested.

I now provide feedback to my local market, online retailers, food companies, television stations, and pretty much anyone who will listen. I know that not every company will implement the changes that I want to see. And that makes sense. But I figure how can a company make a change if they don't know what people want? Conversely, how can a company keep doing what's working if they don't know what they're doing right? Who know, maybe my e-mail was the 100th request that tipped the scale in favor of a change.

 Feedback on AX Developer Docs

This long-winded introduction brings me to the topic of this post which is documentation feedback, specifically for the Dynamics AX developer documentation. I'm a programming writer on the Dynamics AX SDK team and our job is to create content for developers that are customizing AX.

With regards to feedback, there are two points I'd like to make:

  • We want to hear what you have to say.
  • We actually read all comments and will respond if we can.

The first point speaks for itself. We are very interested in hearing what you like and don't like about the developer documentation. This includes all resources: the help that's both online and in the product (reference and conceptual), white papers, code samples on Code Gallery, the AX Developer Center and so on.

With the second point, I want to drive home the idea that after you provide feedback, someone actually reads it. Whether you send feedback via the help file in AX, by e-mail or by clicking the ratings link on MSDN, your comments are received by our team.

We're a small team with many versions of documentation to support (I think nowadays they call that "being agile"), so I can't guarantee that we'll implement every request. But we'll do our best to make the changes or to track them for future updates. If you provide your e-mail address, we'll do our best to respond at the very least to let you know we received your feedback. In a best-case scenario, we can respond and show you what changes we made.

 How to Give Feedback - Let Me Count the Ways

Here are some of the ways you can provide feedback on the developer documentation.

  • E-mail

If you're now dying to share the mental list of documentation improvements that you've been keeping, you can always send me an e-mail via this blog.

  • In-Product Help

If, at some point, you have the developer documentation open from within AX itself and have some comments to share, you can do so. Each topic in the help file has a comments link that you click to send feedback. This opens the local e-mail client and allows you to send your comments via e-mail.

 

  • Wiki

If you're viewing our help online on MSDN, you can provide comments and feedback about specific topics by using the Community Content pane at the bottom of each topic. You will need to sign in with your LiveID to post comments. Note that community content is public, so you don't want to put your e-mail address in your comments.

  • Developer Center Ratings

If you have feedback about our documentation online on MSDN or the Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer Center, there's an option at the top of the page that lets you rate the page and also provide comments. To avoid any confusion, one star = bad and five stars = outstanding.

 

 If you have any suggestions or comments, release yourself of that mental burden and send them in. As Fraser Crane would say, "I'm listening."