S. Somasegar is the corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. Learn more about Somasegar.
Delivering high quality technologies, products and services is absolutely a top of mind, high priority focus item for Microsoft. We continue to expend a lot of our energies, resources and time looking for innovative ways of improving overall quality that directly drives up overall customer satisfaction. Building the right product, for the right customer at the right quality level is clearly the goal. Leveraging the community during the Beta process of Visual Studio 2005 has been incredibly beneficial in helping us identify and correct bugs earlier in the development process leading to what we know will be a higher quality product when released.
In November, the Windows Forms team was reviewing their incoming community bugs from the Product Feedback Center and noticed that over 30% of all incoming bugs were being fixed by the development team. This told the team that the community was finding a great set of bugs in the product early in the cycle and that they were able to quickly react to the community feedback and fix those bugs.
Given this data, the product team launched the Most Bugs Found Contest, where each month they give away branded computer bags and shirts to the top bug finders in the community with a few specific criteria that the contest defines. This serves as a way for the product team to say a BIG thank you to the community members who are spending time in the product and to recognize the top bug contributors from the community. Since the contest launched the product team has seen a large up-tick in the total number of incoming bugs and is excited by the positive feedback from the community.
The contest and Product Feedback Center in no way lessen our own commitment to testing the product internally. We invest heavily in product testing and will continue to do so. Customer feedback augments this testing in two important ways. First, it provides short-term value by identifying individual problems we have missed internally so they can be fixed prior to shipping. More importantly, by looking across all these test “holes” we have the opportunity to identify and fix more systemic problems – places where customers use the product in ways that we don’t test effectively. As much as we try to build and implement 100% complete test plans, the reality is that customers are very creative in using Visual Studio and the .Net Framework, sometimes in ways that we have not imagined. We believe strongly that customers will benefit as we enhance our own internal efforts by tapping the collective wisdom of our customer community.
I’d like to thank all the customers who are using the Product Feedback Center to submit Windows Forms bugs. You are helping to significantly improve the quality of Windows Forms and all of Visual Studio 2005 through you diligent efforts. Thanks for helping to make Visual Studio 2005 a better product for everyone.