B12 - IMO not worthy of release..

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 4:39 PM | Locked

Bob Pritchett:
Not an excuse, just an explanation. And maybe I'm still too "geeky" myself -- though I really do think we'd made huge progress.

Bob, I appreciate your honesty and the difficulties of what you are attempting. Thank you for sharing so openly.

Dave
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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 4:59 PM | Locked

Scott S:

Dave & Bob,

This may be the message thread on design you are looking for:

http://community.logos.com/forums/t/10026.aspx

I skimmed that article at the time, but it makes fascinating reading in the light of this thread! There were some perceptive comments about the RERO strategy and I do agree that it has some advantages for development/design. It still needs to be tied to good quality practices else it becomes too free-wheeling!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 5:14 PM | Locked

Dave Hooton:
There were some perceptive comments about the RERO strategy and I do agree that it has some advantages for development/design. It still needs to be tied to good quality practices else it becomes too free-wheeling!

RERO has its place in the development cycle especially in determining what features to develop and getting features out quickly as users' expectations evolve. It's potential draw back is as an excuse to avoid logical completeness and adequate testing of the features developed. True, my experience is oooold ... web administrative apps by reiterative prototyping

If features are well considered and implemented on rollout, RERO is a solid development model. If the code is buggy, however, no development cycle theory is apt to appease the affected users.  My concern based on my own experience with L4, is that there are sufficient real bugs that I am embarrassingly quick to cry "BUG (wolf)" rather than investigate if I screwed up. I'm certain that the ratio of chair-to-keyboard interface errors to keyboard-to-Logos-painted-screens is at least 2:1 chair-to-keyboard.

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Matt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 8:02 PM | Locked

Dominick Sela:

As for the bugs and features, I felt at the time in December that Logos 4 was out a year early. Now I understand at some point you put your stick in the ground and the urgency of a released product helps make things better, but for no other reason than a long list of ver.3 features not yet implemented well, I have NEVER seen that in a commerical product.  So it will take a year to fully have all of ver 3 implemented, have all the great features we already see and more in ver 4, and a lot of the bugs squashed and things stabilized.

Very well said.  We're in a beta cycle right now at our company.  This is a many tiered product that deals with many thousands of users and many gigabytes of data across different continents, yet in our two beta tests this week, there have been three bugs reported, and we introduced many new features.  The key is that we do not use our customers to beta test.  In my opinion, all of the beta testers in this forum deserve some sort of tremendous free resource or software offer from Logos because they have shouldered a tremendous amount of the testing of this product.  Thanks so much to them!

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    Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 8:02 PM | Locked

    Bob Pritchett:

    Rosie Perera:
    I must admit that the way Logos does things is really odd and unfortunate. I think they are realizing this with how all the support calls are killing their response time which they used to pride themselves in. I seriously think they should reconsider their testing and release strategy for future releases. Unfortunately, I think this model is deeply engrained in their DNA.

    I just want to say, for the record, that we asked Rosie to come join us more than a decade ago. She could have fixed it all before things became too ingrained in our DNA. So it's Rosie's fault. :-)

    Glad Bob piped up to show you all that he and I are friends from way back. Sometimes my choice of wording is "odd and unfortunate" and I'm sorry to all of you who feel upset by how I sometimes express my constructive criticism for Logos here. But it's not really much different from how I've talked to Bob directly when we've met for lunch in the past to talk about Logos, and he has appreciated my honest, though sometimes hard-hitting, feedback (he doesn't always follow my advice, but that's his prerogative as CEO and chief program manager, and yes he is still a bit geeky Wink but so am I). He still wanted me to work for them, even knowing that's what I'm like. It's part of my DNA from having worked at Microsoft.

    Microsoft program managers were hired from among people who usually had programming/CompSci backgrounds, so they were geeky too, but their primary role was different. They were not trying to design features to be easy to implement. They were designing them to be easy to use. Sometimes that meant more headaches for us developers, and we complained about our program managers. Many of us remembered the days when "Development was king" and we could decide how the features should behave. We mourned that loss. It is an adjustment Logos will need to go through, too. Hopefully Logos never gets so big that (like Microsoft) it can't listen to its users anymore. That in my opinion is what sets Logos apart, far above the crowd.

    Bob Pritchett:

    We are understaffed in testing, but getting ready to add another.

    I'm glad to hear that. I recently clicked on the "we're hiring" link on Logos's latest Facebook post (also on the blog), just out of curiosity. (No, I'm still not looking for a job with Logos...Smile) I was disappointed to see that while they had openings for all different kinds of developers and a Sys Admin and Logos Ambassador, they did not appear to be looking for any Testers. So I'm glad to hear from Bob that they are indeed addressing that.

    I am sympathetic with how long it takes to find good people, and I will be praying for Logos on that front, in addition to my occasional prods from the peanut gallery. And if I hear of any good people, I will definitely send them your way...

    Any of you others reading this who might be interested, Logos was recently included on BCWI's Best Christian Workplaces list for 2010. See http://www.logos.com/jobs for more info on openings. But they are missing the description for the tester they're looking for. Go for it, someone who has experience as a beta tester and is good at "breaking things"!

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    tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 9:47 PM | Locked

    Bob Pritchett:

    We are understaffed in testing, but getting ready to add another. Hard as it is to believe, the act of hiring is actually consuming a lot of our time right now. I'm involved in four interviews just this morning. Developers/testers take even longer, and it's nearly impossible to hire a program manager or UI designer from outside -- they need so much product understanding to be useful, as well as rare skills. If you know of someone, send them my way.

    The biggest problem seems to be terminology -- everyone has a different meaning for "alpha", "beta", etc. Basically, we use "alpha" for things that are "far from finished" and "beta" for anything that's not "released". And once the product is released -- like 4.0 -- we only ever use "beta" for subsequent releases of not-yet-finished incremental releases.

    While I'm no longer coder -- and appointed a development manager earlier this month -- I'm still the "program manager". I was putting lots of time and daily attention on that before the 4.0 release, but am now buried in all the things I was ignoring then, the new hiring, travel, etc. and confess I'm not getting to look at the daily builds / answer design questions / push back on developers as frequently as I'd like. We actually aren't letting "geeky developers" design features -- our UX designer and I do that -- but in the 4.0b cycle the developers have been getting more freedom / less interaction with the two of us, because we're busy with fires in other parts of the company.

    Not an excuse, just an explanation. And maybe I'm still too "geeky" myself -- though I really do think we'd made huge progress. It hurts me deeply (not really :-) ) to hear it still looks like a "programmer's toy." I tried so hard to drink all the iPhone Kool-Aid. :-)

    At Microsoft they were hiring, training, and rotating PM's all the time. We very much want to move to that model -- and are finally big enough to do it, I believe -- but hiring a PM for our flagship product is difficult (and scary). We need a professional level understanding of UI, product development, and a deep, deep understanding of our product and users. It's a hard combo to find.

    Bob, I too want to say thanks for being so honest with us.  This being said, being understaffed in your testing department should not imply that it is okay to distribute an under-tested product.  

    It could be from the fact that I too was a software developer/ project manger for a software company that my standards are higher than other individuals.  Even thoughI have not spent a lot of time with L4 (L4 in its current state is not usable for me because of the missing features); I have found a couple of bugs.  In my opinion, these bugs should have been caught when the developer was doing his/her unit testing.

    Bob, there is a reason why you are putting out fires, there is a reason why you have having customer support issues, there is a reason why people are comparing L4 to Microsoft Vista/ME, and you are smart enough to know what this reason is, and it is not the number of units of L4 you have sold.  Your high sales only put a huge spotlight on this issue.

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    Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 9:50 PM | Locked

    I stumbled upon this article about Google:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/02/25/google.labs.graduation/

    It seems to describe the process that I am seeing in the development of LOGOS.

     Blessings,

    Floyd

    Blessings,
    Floyd

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    MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 10:48 PM | Locked

    tom collinge:
    It could be from the fact that I too was a software developer/ project manger for a software company that my standards are higher than other individuals.

    Don't count on it ... I thought that a billion dollar a year payroll was sufficient motivation for adequate testing. That is, until I hired a programmer for web programming who came from the medical equipment sector. Shall we say his 10 years of programming MRI's and the like taught me a great deal about designing one's testing around the needs. Smile

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    Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 26 2010 11:06 PM | Locked

    Floyd Johnson:

    I stumbled upon this article about Google:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/02/25/google.labs.graduation/

    It seems to describe the process that I am seeing in the development of LOGOS.

    Yeah, sort of. They let people play with features ahead of time and then if they are popular, they release them into the main version of Google. They might be releasing things to Google Labs while they are still working out the bugs, but I haven't seen any bugs in any of the Google Labs features, and I've played with a bunch of them. One of my favorite Google features, Google Sets, has been in Labs forever (several years) and has never "graduated" into the mainstream. It's not because it isn't finished yet or is buggy or anything, as far as I can tell. I just think it hasn't been particularly popular, and they don't want to clutter the main Google UI with stuff that most people aren't going to use.

    There has, however, been a documented trend, which Bob and Bradley have alluded to in some other posts, of software companies moving into more of a "perpetual beta" mode. (Facebook does that. They are always rolling out new releases which have bugs in them and every user is forced to participate in the public beta where they would choose to or not. At least with Logos we have a choice.) The mantra "release early; release often" which comes from the Open Source movement is quoted in Logos circles too. See Bradley's posts in this thread. See also the long discussion on the benefits vs. drawbacks of Logos's release model in this thread; there's more in here. See also Bob Pritchett's tweet here which links to an article called Embrace the Concept of "Permanent Beta" -- so apparently Bob is at least intrigued by that if not fully in support of it.

    Incidentally, I have come around somewhat in my thinking on this. In one of the above-mentioned threads, when 4.0a was in beta testing, I wrote "I can't afford the time to be in permanent beta mode all the time so I'm not going to participate in the beta for that even though I did for 4.0." But I'm back to being in the beta for 4.0b and have been all along from Beta 1 up to now (Beta 12). It has more to do with how much time I've been willing (lately) to commit to Logos -- narrowing down reproducible cases of bugs, and reporting them, etc. It has been extensive, but I'm choosing to do it because I love Logos and the people who make it, and I want to see it improve.

    I still think there would be a huge benefit to having the product better tested internally before releasing it to a wide-spread beta test, because then it's only absorbing lots of hours of a few people's time rather than many. I do understand the benefits of mass collaboration, of many hands making light work, and it is applicable sometimes in software development and testing. But there's a cost/benefit tradeoff when much of the work is being done redundantly. Many of us heavy forum users are running up against the same bugs over and over, and taking time to patiently explain to other users how to get around them. I really wish I didn't have to do that. I know I don't have to -- I'm volunteering at this, but I mean the need is there and it's great. I could drop the ball and other users here would pick it up for me (and I do that from time to time when I'm busy with other things) -- Logos employees don't have time to and aren't in general doing that. It's wonderful that Logos has such a large and loyal user base who are willing to help out. But it doesn't need to be so time consuming for us all. A small investment in time up front in better testing would alleviate a lot of angst among users, and would redound to Logos's ultimate benefit in the long run as it would maintain its reputation in the hearts and minds of its users.

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    tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 5:20 AM | Locked

    MJ. Smith:

    tom collinge:
    It could be from the fact that I too was a software developer/ project manger for a software company that my standards are higher than other individuals.

    Don't count on it ... I thought that a billion dollar a year payroll was sufficient motivation for adequate testing. That is, until I hired a programmer for web programming who came from the medical equipment sector. Shall we say his 10 years of programming MRI's and the like taught me a great deal about designing one's testing around the needs. Smile

    Hi MJ,

    My statement about higher standards when it comes to beta software was in reference to the people who thinks that it is neat to help Logos find bugs in their program.  

    I agree 150% with Rosie's statement about beta software.  Beta software is used to test new features to see if they are usable, if the users want this new feature, etc. . .

    I believe the main function of beta programs (users)  is not to find bugs in the program.  Finding software bugs is the responsibility of the development team.

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    Matt | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 10:56 AM | Locked

    tom collinge:
    Bob, there is a reason why you are putting out fires, there is a reason why you have having customer support issues, there is a reason why people are comparing L4 to Microsoft Vista/ME, and you are smart enough to know what this reason is, and it is not the number of units of L4 you have sold.  Your high sales only put a huge spotlight on this issue.

    Ay, there's the rub.  If the product had been properly tested and fleshed out, then Logos support wouldn't have been overwhelmed.  It's not a matter of terminology either.  A beta means "Hey, we're feature complete.  We've unit-tested.  We've regression tested.  We now need to see if there's anything we've overlooked or introduced that we didn't intend to."  It does not mean "Hey guys, it built this morning with no errors!  Let's ship and start the revenue stream!"

    I wish that Bob, in his blog entry On Failing Our Customers had been more forthcoming and stated the obvious, "The product was not ready.  We apologize for the many, many headaches we've caused our customer base and the countless wasted hours due to my blunder in allowing the software to be released too early.  We will do tangible things like 'X', 'Y', and 'Z' to ensure that our customer's time in beta-testing our product will be recompensed."  It seemed an especially spurious post considering that Bob is the man who penned a book and runs a website entitled 'Fire Someone Today.'  A cynic might easily draw the conclusion that Logos has exploited the Christian character of their customer base.

    I can say this:  In *general*, the support in these forums from the volunteers when contrasted with the 'official' Logos support, makes the latter look very bad indeed.  If it weren't for the support of the volunteers in these forums, Logos 4 just might have been Logos' swan song.  Mark that I said 'In general.'  I am issuing a blanket statement based upon my experience with both forms of support.  This is not meant to cast aspersions upon any one or the other individual contributors from either camp.

    Matt

     

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    BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 11:01 AM | Locked

    Jack Caviness:

    However, I can think of some for whom I need could use a show/hide feature. Geeked

    I resemble that remark! Angry  Wink

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    Bill


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    BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 11:03 AM | Locked

    MJ. Smith:

    I do have one serious suggestion. You have a very broad skill set in your users - far broader than you can ever have in your testers. If you were to develop a test scenario form and ask the beta testers to suggest tests to you, I suspect you could develop a solid test set built on actual use rather than basic and theoretical testing. The chief advantage? Errors that remain in the code would be less likely to be errors effecting major user groups. Usage statistics tell you what we use but not why we use it. We can tell you why and what we expect as results.

    Yes +1

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    Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 11:54 AM | Locked

    Matt:
    Ay, there's the rub.  If the product had been properly tested and fleshed out, then Logos support wouldn't have been overwhelmed.

     

    Matt:
    "The product was not ready.

     

    Hmmm....I guess there is room for all kinds of perspectives on this issue.

     

    For me, even running the beta from the start....It's been a great piece of software....I'm of the opinion that I'm glad that they released it knowing that features were on their way (rather than wait) because It's been a real blessing to me, and the issues I've had? Pale in comparison to the enjoyment and usefulness of the software itself.

    I've repeatedly installed and uninstalled the software, rebuilt the index, deleted and reindexed...I've formatted my laptop numerous times....dumped the resource folders on purpose, let the app download all of my resources....all in the name of putting it through its paces...and still...I'm thankful that I have it in hand and not the other way around.

    It's funny how we can look at one event and come to radically different conclusions... Big Smile

    Robert Pavich

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    Matt | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 12:08 PM | Locked

    Robert Pavich:
    It's funny how we can look at one event and come to radically different conclusions

    Very true Robert.  I appreciate your even-handedness in this regard.

    Matt

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    Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 4:00 PM | Locked

    Robert Pavich:
    It's funny how we can look at one event and come to radically different conclusions... Big Smile

    It's a scary thing to agree with Robert, but I agree with Robert Geeked. At first, I thought L4 was a disaster, but that thought was fleeting. I like it, and I am glad it was released when it was.

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    Terry Poperszky | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 4:13 PM | Locked

    Jack Caviness:

    Robert Pavich:
    It's funny how we can look at one event and come to radically different conclusions... Big Smile

    It's a scary thing to agree with Robert, but I agree with Robert Geeked. At first, I thought L4 was a disaster, but that thought was fleeting. I like it, and I am glad it was released when it was.

    For the record, I DO NOT agree with Robert, even though I do agree with what he said here Stick out tongue  (Humor)

    I don't have the history that you guys do with the private beta, but there were a couple of times I was frustrated with L4Win so I reloaded L3 and Mac 1.xx. Needles to say, after working with them for an hour or so, I went back to L4. Ditto on the release date. (No, this is not a slam against L3, L4 is more powerful for the way I work)

     

     

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    Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 27 2010 8:23 PM | Locked

    Kevin Becker:
    It seems to me that with the number of pre-pub (Zondervan) about to go out Logos' virtual door it would behoove them to get 4.0b with its merge index fixes out the door or if they can't get it up to quality standards soon, roll those indexer fixes into another SR for 4.0a.

    Logos should consider that waiting until after 4.0b is released is a better time.

    Dave
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    Robert Pavich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 28 2010 12:45 AM | Locked

    Ok....Now I just wanna know why it's scary when someone would agree with me! Crying

    Robert Pavich

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    Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 28 2010 10:00 AM | Locked

    Robert Pavich:

    Ok....Now I just wanna know why it's scary when someone would agree with me! Crying

    It's Big Smile & Geeked so please don't Super Angry

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