#Domino2025 Virtual Jam – What’s the Point?

December 18, 2017

Sure, a bit of a clickbait title, however, why not?

I attended the #Domino2025 virtual jam today. The first half (or more) was primarily focused on Application Development. The remaining time was on Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Sametime, the Notes Client, and iNotes. Throughout the presentation, the moderators allowed 10 minutes of open Q&A and also asked us to answer some survey questions. Sadly, none of the survey questions included an option for “Not Applicable,” “No development needs,” or similar answers. You had to pick an option, even if it didn’t apply to you or your company.

It was during the conversation about mail, calendar, and the Notes client that I perked up. I watched the online Q&A, I listened to the speakers, I listened to the audience. It was then that it struck me – IBM is asking the same questions they’ve asked us over the years. The online Q&A was filled with the questions you’ve heard and asked throughout the years. The answers were all pretty much the same, “thank you for your feedback.” In fact, IBM had a Twitter widget in the Jam, that was watching for mentions of the hashtag #Domino2025.

Being a bit of a realist (I’m trying that word out, instead of “cynic”), I tweeted and received a reply:

Now, who among you have attended Lotusphere/Connect/whatever over the years? Did you attend the sessions “Ask The Developers?” “Ask the Product Managers?” That line, “we’ll take it back with us,” is a handy phrase from both of those sessions. Realistically, it means that nothing will happen.

Now, back to the Jam. What is the point? IBM is asking the (remaining) faithful for their opinions. I ask, what have you done with all of the opinions we have provided to you over the years?

Let’s start with IdeaJam. There are still ideas, voted on by people that work with the products, on that site. What did you do with any of those ideas? Why wouldn’t you go to a site that is designed for ideas, mine them, and implement the most popular ones? This site goes back years. At any time in the past, all you had to do was to take a look and implement some of them. You would not be in your current position of asking, yet again, for our thoughts and ideas. Further, if you had implemented some of the more popular ones, you may not be in your current position.

Next, every year, in January or February, you gathered the faithful in Orlando. You had two, specific sessions, where the audience asked for features, direction, and wishes. I am guessing that none of you ever wrote down the questions or the answers and never “took it back with you.” Although, I do know one person that did. And you didn’t like that he would return, year after year, to simply ask for an update. Yet, as far as I can tell, nothing ever came from those sessions, popular as they were.

Finally, your sales reps and technical reps appeared in companies that used your software. They were told certain things, they were begged for certain things. What happened to all of that feedback? Who collated that information and turned it into enhancement requests? Which Product Manager added those items to the build list and delivered those features?

It is telling that the very people that bet on the success of IBM software, that shared their wants and needs with IBM, were, in essence, ignored. These were people that  made their living selling, listening to customers, upgrading, creating applications, using your software. And they all told you how to make it better. You chose not to listen.

Now, here you are again, hand out, asking for feedback, answering with “we’ll take it back with us.”

I’ve read many editions of this book, in many different formats, the ending is always the same.