Going Public (With Our Plans)

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John

Throughout Visual Studio App Center’s life, we published a product roadmap and changelog, but we never really felt comfortable talking too far into the future. With so many services and so many things we wanted to do for each, we weren’t confident in what we’d get to and when we’d do it. This is OK, but not great, and our customers consistently told us they wanted more, earlier – it’s time we delivered.

Starting now, we’re opening the doors and letting all of you in, you now have a front row seat to our product planning process.

Following the Visual Studio Code model, we published all our current product plans in the App Center GitHub repository. In this repo, you’ll find:

  • Our Product Roadmap – the list of features we plan to add to the product in the next 6 months.
  • Monthly Iteration Plans – documents highlighting the specific product features we’re working on in a month.
  • And, continuing with our focus on openness, a review of our progress on the previous month’s iteration plan (an analysis of where we hit the mark and where we didn’t).

We already published February’s Iteration plan, go take a look. In it you’ll see a list of planned enhancements to the product’s current feature set, plus new services we’re planning or thinking of adding. Each feature exists as an issue in the repository, linked to the iteration plan (or plans) where we reference the feature. For new features, or updates to existing features, that have a user interface (UI), we’ll also publish mock-ups of our proposed UI in the issue. There’s no guarantee that everything will make it in to App Center, but you’ll know how we’re thinking.

We’re doing this because we want your feedback.

For those UI mock-ups described earlier, we want you to tell us what you think of them (politely, please) because we want to get them right for you. If you like the mock-up, let us know. Hate it? Please tell us why. Think you can do better? Let us know how.

Your comments on the Iteration Plan and Features enable us to create an open dialog with existing and potential customers. You’ve had this communication channel all along, through the support chat button on every App Center page, but this makes the whole conversation open and public, and lets others see the feedback you share.

Got a feature request and don’t know what to do with it? Add it as a feature to the repository. Found a bug? Tell us about it. Like to change how a feature works? Let us know. See someone else’s feature or comment that looks interesting? Give it a Thumbs Up or a +1 so we know you agree. With that in mind, be sure to search the existing issues first before adding a new one to help us avoid duplicates.

This is a public forum, built to help us engage with our customers, solicit feedback, and share product plans. This is not a place for complaints (sorry).

When you click or tap the New Issue button in the repository, you’ll be prompted to select the issue type as shown in the figure below. Pick the one that works best for the feedback you want to provide, and remember that this is a public repo, so everyone can see everything.

 

Notice that there isn’t an option for product support. When you have issues, problems, or questions about App Center and how App Center works – use the blue chat button found on the bottom of every App Center page. Our dedicated and helpful support team is there, waiting to answer your questions and help you solve your problems.

We’ve been doing a lot of work on the App Center documentation as well, and expect to continue that work (honestly, it’s never done). If you have questions or comments about the documentation, use the comments feature at the bottom of each page to communicate with us. Don’t forget too that it’s a public GitHub repository, so if you see a change we need to make and wish to make it yourself, go right ahead. Unlike many open source repositories, this one’s checked daily for new Issues and Pull Requests, so if you post there, you should get a response in one business day (sorry, we don’t work weekends).

Please let us know how you think we’re doing; we’re all ears.

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John Wargo

Principal Program Manager

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