Sunday, November 05, 2006

A culture of upgrades - Now when is that service pack coming out?

Okay, I stole the title of this from another theory I have on "a culture of ignorance", but that is an entirely different post.

The whole IT industry seems to revolve around "latest version" craze. The past few weeks I have seen people obsessing in the newsgroups and Web forums as to the exact release dates of Visa, Office 2007, Exchange 2007, etc... They want to know how soon they "can get the bits" and start installing. I, for one, am one of the worst when it comes to "the latest version." But, I also don't want "the latest version" until it is fully baked.

Microsoft feeds on this frenzy by hyping features, functions, and benefits. Or, as my old boss Jonathan White used to say "feeds and speeds." Microsoft has encouraged this "culture of upgrades" as well they should. They are a publicly held business. Their job is to generate revenue for their stockholders. And if they build some awesome technology along the way, well that is spiffy, too.

Our IT industry press seems to further feed this "culture" as well. Every magazine I get is hyping "features, functions, and benefits" right now. If I did not know better, I would think that every magazine I read is owned by Microsoft's marketing department.

Today on an airplane, I was reading a magazine article that two columnist had written together (I won't name the magazine or the writers.) It was if Sybil herself was writing the magazine. The writers chastized Microsoft for being so "overdue" on getting a new release of their desktop OS out the door, they complained that it was late, they complained that features had been cut, they feared that there would be bugs because Microsoft was rushing it, and they praised some of the new features and improvements.

Okay guys, which is it? Should they release it quickly? Wait until it is fully tested and bug free? (That could be a long time) What is it that you want? Microsoft management pressures their product teams to get a product out the door enough as it is, let's not put any more pressure on these folks by encouraging them to release something that is not fully ready.


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