Why should I bother to say anything?

I have been meaning to write something about this for a while, and now seems as good a time as any. Over the years that I have been involved with computers and software, I have communicated with many people from all over the world and seen and heard a lot of things. One such thing that is indelibly stuck in my memory is this Change Request:

 "Make the product better"

No kidding. That was it.

I think the reply to that was "Where do you suggest we put the button for that?" :)

Seriously though, although we think that our products are the best on the market, we have and continue to strive to make them better. To do that can be quite challenging, especially when you consider what a very wise person once told me -- one of the biggest laments is "change it, but don't change it". Although that may get you to chuckle, that statement does hit home with software design and implementation -- and is not unique to our industry. This is magnified when you apply "Gino's Third Law of Software Design":

"For every Change Request, there is an equal and opposite Change Request"

It definitely is not easy -- if it were, everyone would do it. Where is this going? Quite simply, if you see something in our products that you think should be different than it is, we very much welcome (and encourage) you to say something about it. Why? Well... it is pretty difficult to design and implement something when there is nothing presented to even consider. This is not to say that we are sitting around waiting for things to do -- fact is that quite the contrary is true. Yet with all the designs that we are working on and the fact that we believe that MicroStation and our other products are pretty "balanced", suggestions for improvement will always be considered, particularly if they make the jobs of those using our products easier. Now, we are not suggesting that anyone (or any group of people) show up to our office with pitchforks and torches to get their ideas considered -- there are much easier and convenient ways to do that.

Some folks are adamant about using one and only one method of communicating these sorts of things to the point that I have actually been told "I will only communicate with you THIS ONE WAY!" and the mere suggestion of communicating in another manner - even though the need to do so very much exists -- is deemed inconsiderate or worse, downright rude. Well, to each their own, but the plain and simple fact is that there has to be give and take, especially with human interaction. Some people have little inhibition and excel in verbal communications, while others are more comfortable and have very good writing skills. It has been my observation over time that most people feel comfortable with one or the other with a minority being okay with both. But there are situations where a different form of communication is necessary -- especially to help in making sure that a particular workflow is understood or to make sure that "we are seeing the same thing".

How can you get your suggestion heard? Two of the best ways include (but are certainly not limited to)

  1. communicating with us and others on Communities
  2. logging a Service Request to get your idea associated with a new or existing Enhancement.

Obviously, each approach has advantages and disadvantages -- some distinct and others not-so-apparent. Discussing constructive ideas on Bentley Communities (especially in the product-oriented community forums and future ideation applications) is a great way to work those out since anyone can agree, disagree, identify pros and cons, and even make suggestions to make the idea better. Logging issues through the Service Request Manager ensures that an idea (preferably "refined" through discussion and voted on in Communities) gets into our "queue". Although there is no guarantee that every idea will be implemented (there are sometimes quite a number of things that need to be considered), suggesting a change is the first step in getting that implemented.

So should you bother to say anything? Absolutely! We are listening.