Last night we attended a meeting organized by our city aimed at gathering public feedback on potential changes to the road adjacent to our house. The traffic volume has increased radically over the last few years and it has become increasingly obvious that something needs to be done to alleviate the problems this is causing.
The most depressing thing about the meeting was not the attitude of the city staff and consultants--they seemed to be trying very hard to explain the issues and potential solutions and seemed to be amenable to alternatives. The problem we had was with the attitudes of the whiners who only had one message, "No." This despite the fact that they are complaining loudly about the problems that the current traffic volumes are causing them. But they just seem to expect all the issues to disappear magically without any changes. In other words they are not interested in offering alternative solutions, they seem to just want to whine.
In some ways it reminded us of some of the discussions that have occurred over the years within our IBM i community. There are many examples ranging from the pricing and capabilities of RDi, new features in RPG, advertising (or the lack thereof) and more. Much of the time people just seem to want to complain rather than offer alternatives. We know we've been guilty of this ourselves on occasion.
The result we suspect, is that in certain areas of IBM the IBM i community are just regarded as a bunch of whiners who will never be happy no matter what.
Part of the problem of course is that our options for directly addressing issues to IBM are somewhat limited. Gone are the days when you could have a chat with your local SE or salesman and they would pass the complaint up the management chain on your behalf. Some users, such as members of the Large Users Group and ISVs have direct access chains, but the rest of us are more limited.
However, a number ways exist to let your voice be heard by those who count. And trust us, they make a difference.
One way is to use COMMON's requirements system and you don't have to be a member of COMMON to use this. The requirements system can be found here. COMMON consolidates this feedback and takes it forward to IBM.
If you have an IBM customer number you can also "talk" directly to IBM via what IBM refers to as the Design Change Request process.
If your requirements relate to Rational tools, such as RDi, you need to use the Request for Enhancement process. Start from here and select "Rational" as the brand and "Developer for Power Systems" as the product. The last couple of releases of RDi have specifically included features requested via this process.
Last but not least you can always comment directly on the blogs of the IBM i movers and shakers such as IBM i's lead architect Steve Will.
Many ways are available to let IBM know of your concerns, wants and needs, but whatever approach you take, remember that specific, practical suggestions and requests are welcome and useful. Whining is rarely welcome or useful.
P.S. Many thanks to those of you who have responded to our request for feedback in last week's post about testing. We're hoping more of you have some kind of testing in place for your applications! We'd love to hear from more of you. It's not too late.