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Jure
12-04-2005, 03:48 AM
When reading disputes of people getting angry again and again when software doesn't reach an estimated release date, they always seem to lead to no constructive conclusion.

We all know that estimating a software release date is a hard and thankless task for a developer. So therefore I wanna raise a thread here where you can state your opinion of how you think this kind of dilemma should be approached.

I know Newtek has their own vision of how to deal with that and I know many don't agree with it.

So let's exchange our views in a good manner and hopefuly Newtek will repay us back with an honest and open discussion.

Jure
12-04-2005, 04:02 AM
So if I may state my own opinion first, I have to say first of all that I understand Newtek completely of how hard it is to estimate a software release.

IMHO the way how to make things easier for all the hard waiting users would be to talk openly of what is happening with LW's development. That could be done with a separate thread where Newtek could every week or two weeks publish a short info about how things are progressing maybe a screenshot or similar eyecandy to make a waiting for a software relase easier.

When estimated release date closes in and you have clearer picture of what actual release date could be than by all means share it with us.
Also when software developing encounters problems which would affect it's release date it'd be appropriate in my opinion to also state that clearly in advance and not wait untill the last moment and then hit waiting users with disappointment.

It's better to tell users in advance that software will be probably released a month or two late even if it later turns out that it can be acctualy relased sooner. Better to surprise users than to disappoint them :).

Just my .02$... Hope other's (including Newtek) will share their ideas.
Thanks,

coremi
12-04-2005, 05:22 AM
i think NT should announce the release of a new version with 2 month in advance, but they should already have the final version when anouncing and start BETA testing next day. One month beta testing and another month for any final problems that occur. I also think any plugin developer should be a beta tester and give full acces to any new stuff in SDK, with explanation and everything, Lightwave lacks a lot from NO 3rd party developers, free or commercial.

Matt
12-04-2005, 06:43 AM
Personally I don't mind release dates slipping, it means they are making it better or fixing more bugs etc. But if a date does slip, I think a little explanation as to why goes a long way within the LightWave community.

I believe the community like to feel part of NewTek, any interaction between NT and the community makes us feel that little bit more cared for! It's almost like a relationship!

Matt

iaef
12-04-2005, 07:10 AM
I believe that, as Jure pointed, this is a 2 sided trouble.

There is theory and a lot of effort being put on the development side of things, so estimating a delivery time within budget and time, is no longer a guessing game for developers. There are a lot of project management, risk management, phase management, patterns and frameworks for them to follow. What we all users see, is generally a mix of them being filtered by PR and management. I believe that NT has got a lot more of control on their deveopment cycles, because they have shown us a more robust and mature deveopment cycle. Of course, many have pointed out that we are not reaching new places, but only following in certain areas other 3d products already have, but my guess is that there is something more behind all of this, and LW is following a more stable and solid path. There are many areas to improve still and many things to adjust internally, but my guess is that they are a small/medium company with enough strength and experience and with a big company quality.

About release dates, well, all the mix of decisions (marketing, management, development) have always been hard to tackle on any company, no matter its size. I guess that NT is giving more 'on the target' dates than more expert companies in many other software areas. The problem is mostly not on the company side, but on us as expectants... it is just a human factor.

lw3d23
12-04-2005, 08:49 AM
Personally I don't mind release dates slipping, it means they are making it better or fixing more bugs etc. But if a date does slip, I think a little explanation as to why goes a long way within the LightWave community.

I believe the community like to feel part of NewTek, any interaction between NT and the community makes us feel that little bit more cared for! It's almost like a relationship!

Matt

Agree. I like the way that another 3D package did, they are a little behind schedule and they could not release it in Q4. But they are going to give us weekly updates about the progress.
I hope NT still want to release LW9 in Q4, so we haven't seen any anouncement about delay.

krimpr
12-04-2005, 09:38 AM
I agree with the progress status updates. As RedBull correctly observed in another thread, I view it as a courtesy to know if it appears that the release date is going to be missed. I understand how it could easlily be possible for releases to be delayed, I just hope that when it becomes apparant to them that Q4 shipment isn't going to happen (if that is the case) that we are told as much. I think that Newtek is a first class outfit, and any interaction I've had with any of their personnel in tech support, sales, or in forums has been friendly and professional. My feelings are that being forthcoming with all news, both good and bad, (revealing inevitable and previously unforseen release delays, for example) add to that professional image. It also reflects that Newtek are giving it's product users and forum members credit for being mature enough to accept that s**t happens.

trick
12-04-2005, 09:47 AM
I like the way AME (Autodesk/Max) does it and has always done it: NO release dates, but a large Beta-team that has a good history of ironing out most issues. Of course this does not garantee a perfect application, and there will surely be enough negative feelings about it once released, but it would definitely make the community a calmer place. We're talking about very complex applications filled with tons of features, so demanding a 100% stable and bugfree software is not realistic. I would also welcome some fixed release dates, for instance end of summer, that would contain the larger featureset: all inbetween patches should ONLY address issues. This way the featurehunters are satisfied at the main releases and the ones really needing stability just have to wait a little longer, without having to be afraid for introducing new bugs...

Wonderpup
12-04-2005, 10:30 AM
I think there is a conflict between the commercial need to stimulate sales by giving at least ballpark delivery dates, and the technical reality of development, which may not always go as planned.

The one bit of advice I would give Newtek is to avoid Q4 completely as a release window- dragging Santa into the mix really does seem to add fuel to the fire- it shouldn't, we are supposed to be grown-ups here, but a lot of people end up building the expected new toys into their christmas holiday and end up disapointed.

Bass
12-04-2005, 01:32 PM
The bad reactions from a few, and the disappointment of many are excellent reasons NOT to annonuce release dates. If people were more understanding of what it takes to release software as complex as this, we might be worth keeping in the loop.

But history shows that as a group, we're not like that. It doesn't matter why a release is late - the developer gets tarred and feathered anyway, simply because we had "expectations".

I think it's better to release it when it's ready, without pre-announcements, which, after all, are just estimates. It's not like they're holding back on us. They want the new releases out WAY more than we do. And they want it bug-free too - they stand to lose more than we do if it isn't.

Facing the 'angry villagers with pitchforks' only leads to releasing software that isn't as solid as it might be otherwise. I'd rather get it when it's ready. Whether or not I know about it beforehand doesn't change a single thing as far as using it!

Besides, after all these years of using software of all types, who is still dumb enough to count on vapourware to run their business?

Bass

CB_3D
12-04-2005, 07:49 PM
Itīs not really a big thing,IMHO. A month more or less, really, whatīs the difference for us? I think that regular mantaince and bug sqishing releases are much more important than hitting the release dates of the big numbers.

KevinL
12-04-2005, 09:32 PM
Greetings,

Been a wavr' since 4.0. I ordered the 9.0 upgrade almost as soon as it was announced, because I wanted Vue and I wanted the upgrade to Lightwave. I know from past experience that Newtek will deliver and that I want to be there, so by throwing my dollars to them now I am giving them some cash flow.

I (from past experience) expect the actual delivery to be somewhere in spring. If it happens closer to the projected date I will be pleasantly surprised.

What this does for me is get me pumped up and more enthused for animating and creating. Every time in the past, when I have commited to an upgrade, I have played with the existing version more, in anticipation. I tend to explore the areas I've left to the side while I grind out the day to day stuff.

I can't code, I want to animate and create, so I buy software that get's me there. :)

Hang loose (or not). As you so desire

Happy Holidays!
Kevin

RedBull
12-05-2005, 12:23 AM
So if I may state my own opinion first, I have to say first of all that I understand Newtek completely of how hard it is to estimate a software release.

IMHO the way how to make things easier for all the hard waiting users would be to talk openly of what is happening with LW's development. That could be done with a separate thread where Newtek could every week or two weeks publish a short info about how things are progressing maybe a screenshot or similar eyecandy to make a waiting for a software relase easier.

Yes, i think this kind of thing would go a long way to make these things a lot better and to NT's credit, they're a lot better at user feedback and keeping the userbase informed than that of the bigger companies like Avid, or Alias....
(Microsoft, or Adobe :) But smaller companies, should excel in this area
because they don't have the money for Advertising, they should let their
intimacy with their userbase work for them.

In the age of open source, public betas, and blogs and wikis....
It's a shame a smaller company like NT can't see that having a public
face on the development is an amazingly good way of handling your customers. Iv'e just been on the Lux forums.... And gee wizz am i impressed
at how mature, grown-up and open they've handled their announcement.

The interview with Jay was a positive (one off) step forward.... But since then
who's heard any posts from Jay what about development, What about any sign of the developers (excluding Jarno, who's an absolute assett to the plugin comminity) Lux are even using leaks from Beta members for free cred.

Brad, Stuart, And Allen all giving legit answers and reasons on why and how
they have slipped the date... Means people have nothing but praise and respect for that announcement... It's satisfying to see a company learn from previous mistakes. (i can't recall Allen or Stuart being so open while at NT)

Allen has been posting images of the 201 stuff.... Not because they have to,
but because of the good will it gives it spreads within the Lux community.


When estimated release date closes in and you have clearer picture of what actual release date could be than by all means share it with us.
Also when software developing encounters problems which would affect it's release date it'd be appropriate in my opinion to also state that clearly in advance and not wait untill the last moment and then hit waiting users with disappointment.

Exactly and as mentioned NT don't have a good track record in that area.
I'm not going to complain if it's a day or a year away....

But a simple "Hey guys we know you guys are a little anxious about LW9 and we appreciate you hanging in their..... We are running a little behind schedule,
and we may not get LW9 out til towards the end of January... But i'll get the latest from the Dev team and try to keep you informed as best as we can soon" Would be more than enough to stop a slew of posts, ramblings and upset customers.... But this did not occur with LW8, (or point releases)
So i'd like to see LW9 improve a bit in this area.....

Even a "Hey guys things look good for a December 31st release, so we extended the Vue5 offer to accomodate" Would be a good thing...

http://forums.luxology.com/discussion/topic.aspx?id=4248
Have a look at the respect Lux have gained from keeping their userbase informed.


It's better to tell users in advance that software will be probably released a month or two late even if it later turns out that it can be acctualy relased sooner. Better to surprise users than to disappoint them :).

It's like your reading my mind Jure.... It's really a simple courtesy...
That would make NT's job and mine, that much easier.


Just my .02$... Hope other's (including Newtek) will share their ideas.
Thanks,

I agree with most of what all the others have said....
As mentioned above i do think having any software tied to Christmas
and New Year make it that much worse for all involved.

If projects are planned, managed and run well.... The amount of problems
prediciting delays in software should be minimal these days even in 3D....

At my last job in software development our management and metrics analyisis
was able to keep our projects on time in amazingly accurate detail....
It's not always going to be 100%.... But this company should be able to tell well in advance weather they will are due to hit or miss a date.

It should be down to a much more concise a science and not a guess these days. I can't always be sure i can deliver XXseconds of animation in one week either... But somehow it happens more often than not....

Anway, I'm sure LW9 will be a swell release...... Either this year or next.

ibanezhead
12-05-2005, 06:13 AM
Company shouldn't announce the product until it is finished. Then about a month later release it. Anyone who purchases the product one month before the announcement, and/or any time between the announcement and release date gets a free upgrade to the new version...

Upgrades should really be on a schedule. I should know that every year at a certain time, Newtek will upgrade LW.

mattclary
12-05-2005, 08:01 AM
NewTek should take a page from Scotty's play book. It would satisfy those who demand to know "when" and it would satisfy those who get p*ssed because NewTek would rather ship a quality product than a buggy P.O.S. just to satisfy their "I want my new toy now" tantrums.

http://www.memory-alpha.org/en/index.php/Montgomery_Scott

By the late 2260s, Scott knew more about the warp engines aboard a Constitution-class starship than the men who designed them. (TOS: "The Apple") This knowledge and ability to save the ship in a jam, would eventually lead to his reputation aboard the Enterprise of that of a 'miracle worker'. This was brought about by his reputation for being able to effect starship repairs in much shorter time periods than were generally accepted as being required. Scott later admitted that he often padded his stated times needed for repairs by a factor of four, in order to appear that much faster

Z_Render_8
12-05-2005, 08:37 AM
Company shouldn't announce the product until it is finished. Then about a month later release it. Anyone who purchases the product one month before the announcement, and/or any time between the announcement and release date gets a free upgrade to the new version...

Upgrades should really be on a schedule. I should know that every year at a certain time, Newtek will upgrade LW.


This I completely agree with. :agree: NewTek should announce that an update or new version is in progress. Then have "Proton" show us some new features video of the upcoming version. Once the product is satisfied for release, make the announce to release within 3 to 4 weeks. Even during that time, NewTek engineers can still test for flaws.

This should help take some pressure off the engineers and some anxiety off the user waiting for the product. No product is ever perfect, so updates are always needed.

I don't have a problem with the delays, but it would be nice to know when the correct release date is.

Thanks

:lwicon: :thumbsup:

mattclary
12-05-2005, 12:04 PM
That won't work. You have too many people screaming when NewTek doesn't inform them ahead of time EXACTLY when they plan to release. The same people then scream if NewTek doen't reassure them 1 month before the end of the deadlin that they are still on target, or god forbid if they miss the target.

TSpyrison
12-05-2005, 12:11 PM
How to deal with release estimates?
You donít.
Wait till it comes out. :D

Good grief, We still have 26 days left in December..
And if itís a week or two after that? So what? Itís not like we are all going to be under a pile of rubble if LW9 isnít out exactly before the end of the 4th quarter

Let them work on it rather than pester the **** out of them like children waiting to get to Disneyworld. "Are we there yet?"

EmperorPete
12-05-2005, 12:28 PM
How to deal with release estimates?
You donít.
Wait till it comes out. :D

Good grief, We still have 26 days left in December..
And if itís a week or two after that? So what? Itís not like we are all going to be under a pile of rubble if LW9 isnít out exactly before the end of the 4th quarter

Let them work on it rather than pester the **** out of them like children waiting to get to Disneyworld. "Are we there yet?"
Couldn't have put it better myself. Let NT get on with it; it'll be here. I'd rather LW9 was a bit late, than buggy and unusable.

DMarkwick
12-05-2005, 12:42 PM
I think people should just try & remember what the word "estimate" means, and that the likelyhood of estimates being 100% correct is low.

Also, I got told that 75% of all projects run over time and/or budget. What can you deduce from this, that 75% of all projects are incorrectly estimated? Or that the people doing the estimations are not taking experience into account? :) If only 25% of project estimations are close, there's something wrong with the estimation process.

ibanezhead
12-05-2005, 01:25 PM
I think people should just try & remember what the word "estimate" means, and that the likelyhood of estimates being 100% correct is low.


Hence the reason for not announcing anything until it is finished...

hrgiger
12-05-2005, 01:46 PM
Hence the reason for not announcing anything until it is finished...

Yes, because I love not having the first clue when something is expected to arrive. Makes planning oh so much easier... :screwy:

You don't want them to announce anything until it is finished because they have no idea when it will be finished and you don't want customers to be disappointed with a late release. But at the same time you want a regular schedule which would imply that the software developers know when something is going to be finished. You can't have both.

ibanezhead
12-05-2005, 01:52 PM
Yes, because I love not having the first clue when something is expected to arrive. Makes planning oh so much easier...

Hence the need for scheduled, reliable upgrades...

Nemoid
12-05-2005, 03:05 PM
I personally think that information is the key in these times.and communication with users too,

So, I agree with Jure : yes, Nt should inform the users about the progress of Lw developing, and this could be made also with little videos, examples and so on. maybe they could also hire some people to make better know users what's going during developing,reply to feature requests in some way etc.

i know perfectly that programming isn't an exact science,that's why i tend to justify Nt, Lux, whatever software house, when these things happen but IMHO more info is a good thing, always : keeps users updated, doesn't cause rumours, or suppositions and speculations. only shows facts.
its good for everyone !! :)

pauland
12-05-2005, 03:53 PM
Probably the most influential thing about the release schedules is that they are almost always late, sometimes very late and often there's no mention of a slippage until hundreds of users have spent a day waiting at a PC or Mac waiting for a download link.

Making the release schedules more realistic with earlier warnings of slippage would work wonders, as would having a solid release before the end of the quarter where it was promised.

I suppose that the problem really for Newtek having a less optimistic schedule, is that having an official release date too far in the future might not sit well with maintaining a good cash flow.

Who knows what goes on behind Newteks doors..

Paul

Ztreem
12-05-2005, 04:02 PM
I'll be happy if Newtek fulfills my simple request. If it's late tell us.

pauland
12-05-2005, 04:04 PM
I'll be happy if Newtek fulfills my simple request. If it's late tell us.

Yes, that's the MOST important thing they could do.

RedBull
12-05-2005, 04:52 PM
Considering some flak i took over the idea of letting us know weather LW9 is on schedule or not... I'd just like to post some quotes from the Lux thing.

"I've been using 3D software since 1985 (remember the Amiga Allen), and have never come across a company like yours... that could make me happy about a late delivery : )"

"It really is amazing how close Lux is to its community, and we all greatly appreciate it!"

"Nothing but respect for ya guys! Thank you for being so open about this. This is *exactly* why I've been sticking through with Lux from day one. You have a knack for always doing the right thing!PS: UPDATE EVERY FRIDAY!?!wow"

"I love the fact your open about it "

"Thanks Lux for letting us know"

"Hey...you guys are cool, man."

"Very nice guys! Total class act all the way."

"at least a delay in 201 will stop me from checking the website every few hours"

It's about the open communication that NT should be keeping us informed
regardless if it's late or early...... Who does it hurt to keep your customers informed.... LEARN NEWTEK, LEARN!!!

I don't think theirs anything wrong with the way Lux or NT are announcing
their 4th quarter release at siggraph.... (although 4th quarters are a bad time)
as long as 3 months after siggraph, they give us a little hint how it's going every now and then.

Have a look at the positive responses on Lux forums, than check for the NT forums..... Where is the love people? The Ex-Team is making us look bad.
And here's me thinking the Ex-Team were the problem..... ?

Chuck
12-05-2005, 05:15 PM
The interview with Jay was a positive (one off) step forward.... But since then
who's heard any posts from Jay what about development...

Jay Roth's Update on 10/03/05 (http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=41153)

I've passed along the interest in another update on the progress.

trick
12-05-2005, 05:23 PM
Red_Bull,

Showing quotes of people using other software is not really the way to compare things and certainly not giving an answer to the question: "How to deal with realease estimates ?". There is NO way that I can take a quote like "at least a delay in 201 will stop me from checking the website every few hours" seriously. I'm a modo user myself and there are lots of issues that justify quotes that are completely the opposite. Showing workflows and nice images made with an unavailable beta (or alfa or whatever) to impress and comfort users is one way to go, but it is the final release that counts: then you may make your comparisons.

As it is now, Newtek has changed it's course and until they show a stable release that can compete with all available technologies, we will all just have to wait. Show only that what we will have soon, but stop teasing us with features that still take ages to make useable...

Chris S. (Fez)
12-05-2005, 06:35 PM
I bet Newtek releases an open Beta for 9 by the end of the month and that, with Nodal integrated into the core, it puts Modo's texturing abilities to shame. :thumbsup:

Looking forward to 201, no doubt, but I can't wait for Lightwave 9!

RedBull
12-05-2005, 07:01 PM
Heheh sorry bryphi77, i didn't know offering an opinion on a question posted on a forum is a rant, nor do i see me complaining about anything... (like your rant) Just showing what others are doing in the same situation.

The useless "rants" coming from other(s) from what i can see!!
It's nice to see people really understand the issues others have raised though. ;) At least Chuck, Newetek and the majority do though..

Perhaps we should never comment on anything about LW on NT forums
just so ranting does make sense?

Chuck Wrote:
I've passed along the interest in another update on the progress.
Thanks Chuck, that's a very welcome and proactive solution to many peoples questions. And i really appreciate you listening to customers concerns.
That's the kind of thing, that goes a long way....

And Chris..... Yeah Modo201 looks nice...... And Lux may be learning...
But they are still unloyal traitor commi bastards.... ;)
So LW9 is still looking good all the way around.

theo
12-05-2005, 07:30 PM
Newtek should definitely market and exploit changes and advancements in Lightwave. They would be insane not to.

But I have a real problem with any software company that states release dates and misses them by more than a month. And just as bad are folks who gripe constantly on the forums about when an upgrade will be available.

So who comes first? The unintentionally lying developers or the griping and impatient users? I submit they create each other.

I would much prefer no release date of any kind. Rather, supply us with occasional updates highlighting, with some depth, exciting new features that will be available in the next upgrade.

This impatience really gets on my nerves and not just on these forums. The bad thing is I have been just as guilty in the past of the very same thing. So I guess one could say I have decided to go with a much more relaxed pose towards software upgrades especially since the future is not the best thing to waste valuable energy worrying about.

The present is where it is at and the software you have presently in front of you will have to suffice whether you or I like it or not.

My 2.5 pennies.

mattclary
12-06-2005, 08:16 AM
But they are still unloyal traitor commi bastards....


LOL! At least we agree on something!

theo
12-06-2005, 08:37 AM
LOL! At least we agree on something!

Yeah- that's one comment about the Modo Humans that will stay in this forum.

TSpyrison
12-06-2005, 08:53 AM
Considering some flak i took over the idea of letting us know weather LW9 is on schedule or not... I'd just like to post some quotes from the Lux thing.

"I've been using 3D software since 1985 (remember the Amiga Allen), and have never come across a company like yours... that could make me happy about a late delivery : )"

"It really is amazing how close Lux is to its community, and we all greatly appreciate it!"

"Nothing but respect for ya guys! Thank you for being so open about this. This is *exactly* why I've been sticking through with Lux from day one. You have a knack for always doing the right thing!PS: UPDATE EVERY FRIDAY!?!wow"

"I love the fact your open about it "

"Thanks Lux for letting us know"

"Hey...you guys are cool, man."

"Very nice guys! Total class act all the way."

"at least a delay in 201 will stop me from checking the website every few hours"

It's about the open communication that NT should be keeping us informed
regardless if it's late or early...... Who does it hurt to keep your customers informed.... LEARN NEWTEK, LEARN!!!

I don't think theirs anything wrong with the way Lux or NT are announcing
their 4th quarter release at siggraph.... (although 4th quarters are a bad time)
as long as 3 months after siggraph, they give us a little hint how it's going every now and then.

Have a look at the positive responses on Lux forums, than check for the NT forums..... Where is the love people? The Ex-Team is making us look bad.
And here's me thinking the Ex-Team were the problem..... ?

I couldnít care less about the lux team.

Nemoid
12-06-2005, 10:42 AM
Modo is a good program as well as Lightwave is, but around Modo there's also alot of hype too, despite it has some quirks like any apps has.

Newtek is doing well, in Lw developing. The only point is keeping users informed about it, that's all, especially in case of delays and so on, but IMHO this should become quite a natural thing for a software house aware of what the market is and what users are interested in.

They spend money on software, time on learning features, maybe time thinking to new good ideas to implement.
The community should be more integrated in the process of software developing so they have to be informed, and their opinions and ideas when not pointless, should be taken into serious consideration.

mattclary
12-06-2005, 10:51 AM
Modo is a good program

I would agree, from the looks of it. It's the people involved that I have a problem with.

Lamont
12-06-2005, 03:45 PM
How to deal with release estimates?I don't deal with 'em at all. I think this post is as close as I have ever gotten to these kinds of threads, and personally I think they are foolish.

Let NT work. I am sure the world will not end if it ships after the 1st. If the slight chance of the world coming to an end before LW9 is out, I'll buy you a Coke.

Nemoid
12-07-2005, 12:03 AM
I would agree, from the looks of it. It's the people involved that I have a problem with.

This is another thing. I judge the program and the attitude of the software house toward users, not people, because i dunno them personally.

I have to say that i have quite the same opinion on both , Nt and Lux.
Only, IMHO, Nt should become more aware of marketing strategies and methods to sell their cool product.
They are doing a good developing job tho, and the new team rocks. :lwicon:

toma
12-07-2005, 02:07 AM
Ömaybe the one who prepaid the upgrade could be allowed to use a public beta before the official public beta testing program (wich is too short btw)Ö

this way those who want to try the future release despite bugs could do better planning of plugins purchase or workflow enhancementÖ

Like everyone I'm very exited by LW9 and I understand that some of the people who want it now at any price might look like children a few days before christams. But for some of us it can be important to have a clear view of near future developpement.

Personnaly I have only a few weeks per year to really experiment and I use those weeks to craft my workflow, add newer plugins or methods and so onÖ And some times a LW update make this work useless because the workaround I have found is no longer needed :(

you pay <=> you see ;)

2ct.

toma