Connectosphere 2014 Final Day: GURUpalooza!, Ask the Product Managers, Ask the Developers sessions


(Long article. Jump to the meat at the end if you don’t want the full story) If you left before the end of the conference, you missed the best part. Thursday always holds the crown jewels: GURUpalooza, Ask the Product Managers, and Ask the Developers.  Each of these sessions have a panel on stage and give attendees a chance to ask any question they wish or give their suggestions.  If you were there, you already know this is my favorite day of the conference. No surprise given my love for product design and chronic divergent thinking (I don’t think outside the box. It’s more like there is no box.)  This can be a curse at times, but on Thursday I revel in it.

At GURUpalooza, the panel consists of all the conference speakers who are not IBMers (not counting Susan Bulloch  who hosts the session and Mat Newman who recently transcended the independents to become an IBMer).  The big selling point of this session is you won’t get marketing fluff and they won’t skirt the question; just direct, truthful answers.  And if they don’t know, they will candidly say “I don’t know.”

Then comes Ask the Product Managers.  Originally started at Connect 2013 by Ed Brill, probably in response to the many questions that were more befitting of the product managers than the developers, as they were more about product direction than specific bugs or features.  This is where all the hard questions are asked that the audience tries to put the panel on the hot seat.  Since Ed started his new role in Mobile at the end of the conference last year, this session was hosted by Kramer Reeves, Director, Product Management, Messaging and Collaboration.

Third comes Ask the Developers.  This session has a long tradition of being the final session before the closing session.  It has taken on a more light-hearted atmosphere as most of the toughest questions have already been fielded in the Ask the Product Managers session, hosted by John Woods, Director of Development, Domino and SmartCloud Notes.

To paint the picture, these Q&A sessions are all held in the Swan.  they open up the 5 large conference rooms to make one large, wide room.  There are 4 wide isles between the chairs and at the front of each isle they set a microphone for anyone in the audience to line up in front of and take a turn to ask their question.  The rules for these sessions are all the same: Each person gets to ask one and only one question and must then go back to the end of the line at one of the mics again to ask another question.  Questions are taken from each mic in a round robin format.  I took my usual spot at the mic in the isle directly in front of the stage.

I believe these sessions were recorded this year and are available for replay on the web.  I am working on getting a complete list of all questions asked in each of the sessions.  Meanwhile, here are the questions I asked this year.  I am hoping that by publishing it, next year we can reflect back on what happened over the year and see if our input made a difference.

GURUpalooza!
1.  Roaming is not officially supported by SmartCloud, even with the data stored on a local server.  Do any of the Gurus have personal experience using Roaming with SmartCloud that can speak to any issues using it in a SmartCloud environment?
A:  No one on the panel has experience with it yet.

2: What is your opinion of the impact adding Kenexa to Lotusphere has had on the conference?
A: As expected, the responses spanned the board.  Great that it draws people from line of business (HR users and decision-makers) so they can see what solutions are available and not rely on IT staff to spread the word.  Bad that the Opening General Session had all the technical details of substance removed to appeal to the non-technical audience.  Interesting to see them focus on the solution and not the technology behind it, but unfortunate that they made no references whatsoever to what software was used in the case studies they showcased.  Also disappointed that the party at a park was moved to Tuesday night because the kenexa sessions only ran through Tuesday.  I expect there will be much controversy on this conference merger for a long time to come.

Ask the Product Managers
1. While the “Hollywood Squares” style multi-camera web conferencing is a great stride forward, most of us still operate our web conferences from a meeting room with a group of people.  When will Sametime support a roundt able camera like the competitors have?
2. We need SAML to work with Sametime and Traveler.
3. The Notes admin client hasn’t been updated since R6.5.  Can the UI be updated and possibly include integrated tools to administer SmartCloud?
4. When will we see migration tools to move from Microsoft Outlook and Office 365 to SmartCloud?

Ask the Developers:
1. In the user preferences on the Basic Notes Client Configuration tab, Additional Options list, Can you add numbers to the list so it is easier to find and to refer to the items?
2. SmartCloud web mail has a button to mark messages as SPAM.  Can this function be added to the Notes client experience?
3. SmartCloud does not update the person documents with the users’ client version.  Can this functionality be added?
4. The Notes Workspace originally designed by Ray Ozzie has proven to be a great design by being copied by iOS and Android.  Can the workspace be revitalized and clean up the functionality?  Dragging and dropping icons between tabs and 5. adding applications to the workspace are examples.  (This one actually got HUGE applause and was noted by the team.)
6. Add official support in SmartCloud to use Roaming with the data stored on local servers.
7. Add support for middle initials in SmartCloud.
8. Allow the customer full control over all SmartCloud system-generated emails sent to users.
9. Improve the SmartCloud administration website and consider integrating it into the Notes Admin client.

Here are more suggestions I made in the Meet the Developers lab during the week:
1. Provide functionality to remove the icons of the old mail files when a user is migrated to SmartCloud.
2. In the SmartCloud OPT tool, add the test to count the number of messages in the inbox and the number of folders in the mail file before migrating to alert to possible performance problems.

I’m sure I offered many more ideas, but this it what I remember.  What are your thoughts about these?  Do you have ideas of your own?  Please share them here. Or better yet, Call IBM technical support and open a PMR for it.  From that they will create an SPR and if enough people request it, you will almost certainly see it in the product. You should also post them on IdeaJam to get more visibility.  Just know that IBM doesn’t monitor that website.  They only listen to PMRs and Lotusphere attendees.  Don’t think they are listening? Think again. The Purge Interval Replication Control is just one example of a feature I pushed for that made it into the product (after presenting it in the Meet the Developers lab and at Ask the Developers session).

replicationsettings

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Posted on February 5, 2014, in IBM Connect 2014, Lotusphere and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Connectosphere 2014 Final Day: GURUpalooza!, Ask the Product Managers, Ask the Developers sessions.

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