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Develop a Product Feedback Loop other than Connect

Author Name: Joe Newstrom

Connect is a cumbersome method for feedback, and there is not any good way to keep track of which suggestions get picked up and which don't. I notice many MVPs don't bother posting on here and responses from the Product team are few and far between. Also suggestions are a mix of feature requests, bug fixes, and user training issues.

Status: Under Review
Regular Visitor
Status changed to: Under Review
Regular Visitor
Suggestion for improvement 1): a proper categorisation or flag for bug vs suggestion. Accept that one man's bug is another man's product feature gap, so things might get recategorised. Suggestion 2) enable linking of items which are either the same thing restated, or have large overlap and would need to be considered together (so we don't get a new feature that fixes one thing and makes another worse). 3) enable linking to add the votes together, even if only in a report seen by MS. Since it does seem to track who voted (so I can't vote twice), double-counting could be eliminated. Alternative: a real "merge" that MS can do so one item becomes two, with corrected total vote count, but that might get an item into the top 20 where more people notice and vote even higher. 4) Generally, encourage more participation (and MS in particular).
Regular Visitor
I'd further add to Adam's list of suggested improvements: 5) Better distinction between major CRM versions (currently CRM4, 2011 & 2013 are mashed together in one board). 6) Improved feedback creation. For instance: Context sensitive picklists (Pick a major version of CRM and filter Service/Feature Pack accordingly). 7) Consider allowing the use of BBCode markup or similar to allow for inclusion of code samples, highlighting of key steps to reproduce bugs etc. 8) Allow for attachments where a screenshot or extensive code sample will help illustrate a point. 9) Improved searching. For example search on specific major/minor versions etc. I'd also echo the call for greater participation from Microsoft or MVPs. There really is the feeling that the majority of what gets posted here is generally not acknowledged (especially with everything recorded as a suggestion)
Advocate I
Thanks Jukka, I am also part of the pre-release feedback program & did notice more MVP participation (particularly pre-2013 release, seemed to taper somewhat for the pre-UR1 release)... that being said, it would be nice if there was a cleaner way to identify when someone from the Product Team actually reviews a suggestion, how seriously they are taking it, when they are shutting it down because there is a valid workaround or OOB functionality, etc. Just seems like all the suggestions get tossed in here together and it appears that they see what floats to the top in terms of bulk votes. That may not be how they handle it at all, they may have a small cadre of elves working feverishly on each and every suggestion... but the fact that we don't know says a lot. Not suggesting throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the fact that this forum for feedback exists is great. But giving input and having that input heard are not always the same, as you know. I'd at least like to see more comments from the Product Team, and also see your suggestions and votes (the MVPs) carry more weight than the average "how do I add a subgrid for a related entity" suggestion.
Regular Visitor
It should be noted that there is a separate Connect site for the CRM pre-release programs (I don't consider it a "secret" site as the invitation link has been previously shared publicly by MSFT employees). Only participants of these programs can view the bugs and suggestions submitted there. Many of the MVP's are very actively participating on that site when testing betas, so you won't be seeing the same items duplicated by them here on this site.
Regular Visitor
Thanks for the feedback. We are looking at making the feedback experience better. These are some great improvement suggestions. Stay tuned. Regards Shilpa Sinha