Rick Becker and I had the pleasure to attend SWWorld2018 this year. I had only been to one other in Orlando in 2013. Wow! What a great event! The people you meet, the sessions with great content, the speakers from SWX and from outside the company. All I can say is it is well worth the expense. Put it under education in your expense report because you will learn so much!!
And the people you meet - at the meals, the sessions, the events! I finally got to meet Deepak Gupta, Michael Lord, Todd Blacksher, and Shaodun Lin, usually by just bumping into them at a session or in line somewhere. All just as nice a bunch of guys as you would expect!
On to the point of this post. . .
Rick and I both attended the breakout session on Wednesday afternoon that was discussing the Top Ten for this year. Since there was a voting anomaly this year with half the top ten going to SWX Electrical they listed the full top ten and then listed the next five top vote getters that were for the core functionality of SWX. I know that Rick took photos so I'll leave it to him to post those.
The whole of the Top Ten list is a means to drive activity for generating good ideas and supporting discussion for improving the software. All the ideas are carefully considered for future implementation, regardless of their final vote count. It is the supporting discussion of these ideas that proves to be extremely valuable as that often provides much better definition of the ideas. So, keep it up everyone!
Bruce Holway led the session and in addition to the Top Ten he went on to discuss the infamous ONE and TWO. This issue from last year's Top Ten list has grabbed SWX by the short hairs. This year they added the voting slider:
This was done so they could more actively get everyone's vote as to where they should direct their efforts and to avoid having to use two of the slots in the Top Ten for non-feature improvements. The votes covered a very broad range, but in the end Increase Reliability was the dominant direction with 43%:
==>Edit: The weight on improving the quality is even higher than the 43% shown for Reliability as they admitted a lot of the comments indicated a persons vote for Performance was directed at eliminating bugs and crashes. They didn't provide a number, but I would conservatively estimate this puts the issue of "quality" above the 50% mark. Quite a strong statement.
Then John Sweeney talked about how the software development groups have shifted their efforts with an unprecedented amount of their resources dedicated to "quality" (improving reliability). They have employed new tools that are helping them to better identify where problems are which is helping them to better address them. A lot of these efforts are going into SWX2019 since that is in active development right now, but they have "back-ported" a lot of these fixes into SP1.0 of SWX2018 and other 2018 SP's. Cool! They are seeing big improvements as indicated by the data in the SOLIDWORKS Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).
If you have not already signed up for this then YOU NEED TO DO SO! There is NO DOWNSIDE to participating!! No slow-downs occur by doing this versus not doing it. No proprietary information is transmitted. It is completely safe from every angle. Go to System Options - General and go to the bottom and check the box:
If you aren't convinced by my plea then click on the Tell me more. and read that. THIS IS GOOD FOR YOU! It sends information to SWX when you have a crash and they have been able to extract a lot of meaning from this data that helps to identify problems. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Bruce and John are good sports, as we have found all the guys on the development team have been. Rick and I had a couple of hats made 1 AND 2 and we got pictures of different folks wearing them. I'll post mine on that thread, but here are two in particular that I'm happy with:
The top picture is Bruce during the Top Ten session. The bottom picture is John Sweeney, Jim Wilkinson, Graham Rae, someone who's name escapes me, but he's deeply involved with the quality issues, Bruce, and Richard Doyle. Not only were they not embarrassed by the ONE and TWO hats, but Rick and I gave these hats to them to take back to Waltham and use them with their team to keep the issue of improving the quality of the software front and center. We probably could have made more hats and sold them!!
Bruce also discussed improvements they are making to the Enhancement Request system. They know we hate it and don't use it much. They have been looking for a system to purchase to better handle the ER's, but none of them have the features they want so they are developing their own. It will have much more of the feel of the forum and be far easier to use.
I came away from that session with even more optimism about the reliability of the software than I had gained in the last couple of months. But I reminded them that we would be holding them to task. "We expect you to" was their response. We should all be holding them to task, BUT I feel we have a responsibility to help them by participating in the CEIP and by sending in problem reports with as much description as possible to help them understand, identify, and fix the problems we encounter.
One last, very important point I want to make about this session, ONE and TWO has gotten a lot of attention at SWX corporate, A LOT OF ATTENTION. The CEO of SOLIDWORKS, Gain Paolo Bassi, came into this session and addressed the group specifically on the ONE and TWO issue. I was blown away that he was able to speak with such deep knowledge of the situation. I later learned that he was quite the programmer in his day so this subject is actually very personal to him.
With all of that, I have good reason to be optimistic and to expect great things from SWX!! But, I will most certainly hold them to task.