Before I start my rant- I want to say that I love SolarWinds products, and am an ardent advocate for anyone considering network management software to take a hard look at Orion. It's good stuff and generally makes my job easier. New features are being added all the time to make a great product even better. SolarWinds solicits comment and feedback and I have personally seen requests that I have made incorporated into the product.
Soapbox time. Anybody listening?
I'm wondering what it takes to get a feature request incorporated.
It doesn't seem to be time related, as of the top 10 NPM feature requests, all of which were submitted in 2012 (its 2014 for the chronologically challenged), only 1 is tagged with the coveted "what we are working on tag".
It doesn't seem to be popularity related, as the top up voted request has been there for 636 days and hasn't been implemented. mavturner made a comment last year (Jan 20,2013) that because of the high response it was being moved to the top of the list. Still- 15 months later- nothing. The top of that list must be really something.
It doesn't seem to be related to shame- because rants like this pop up from time to time in looking over the requests and still nothing happens.
So, what does it take? Are our requests only seriously taken into account when they just happen to coincide with SolarWinds own internal feature enhancement list, and credit can be taken for "listening to our customers"? How, exactly are enhancements decided on in the first place? Customers clamoring for them doesn't seem to be the impetus you would be led to believe- so where do they come from? Why do customer requests not receive more consideration? I understand the process to a point. You have Patryck, a developer, who can only work on a certain number of things. So you have an internally generated enhancement, and a customer generated enhancement. Which one wins? I know which one does- but I don't understand why. It can't be a coin toss, law of averages says we should win a few. Breaking out Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is true- internal enhancements are preferred and the customers requests can wait- cynically called- "we've already got their money". We are told it might make it in the next release- but you can't hold us to that.
How about this for a feature request. I request that SolarWinds PM's review the customer submitted feature requests on a periodic basis- say every month or two- and rather than letting them stick around for ridiculous amounts of time (636 days!!!), just close the darn things out, tell us the truth- you have no intention of including it, and we can all get on with our day. The way it is, you are blowing sunshine up our collective posteriors. I realize the difficulty in a public company making commitments and potentially not meeting them, but we need some realistic time-frames.
So- perhaps useful responses from the PM's would be giving us some better insight into the selection process, helping us understand what makes it, what doesn't and why. Give us a better idea on the timelines involved. You still have a great product, good customer focus and service, but this is an area you can definitely improve.