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All posts tagged Marketing

Windows 9 Is Coming…

… with it no shortage of rumors about Windows “Threshold” (the alleged codename for Windows 9).

The latest rumor is that a Developer Preview will be released on September 30th. The blogosphere is already running wild with leaked images and rumors of what’s in, what’s out and pricetags.

Windows 9 Is Coming - Meme

Rumors And Expectations…

The other main rumors (some from frequent and reliable online leakers) seem to revolve around the following: –

  • Cortana will be integrated into Windows 9: the incredible AI personal assistant winning hearts and minds on Windows Phone 8.1 will become a part of desktop, laptop and tablet users’ experience. If you are about to make a Clippy joke I suggest you find the nearest person you know with Windows Phone 8.1, try Cortana and then go and weep in the corner at not owning a phone with this on yourself.

  • The return of the Start Menu / Start Button: as mentioned in previous Warptest posts, Microsoft has over the last two years become more responsive to consumer input and this should make a lot of users very, very happy.
Leaked Windows 9 Desktop

Leaked Windows 9 Screen Capture – courtesy of Softpedia

  • Metro New Windows UI / Desktop / Apps are the chocolate to Classic Desktop’s peanuts: get ready for Windows 9 to hybridize the two desktops for a winning User Experience.
  • Goodbye Mr. Bond Windows RT: rumors of the demise of Windows RT in favor of Windows Phone ROM for smaller tablets. Possibly the end to the fragmentation of Windows with this and the already released Universal Apps for Windows.
  • Stronger Cloud integration: this is a pretty safe bet as Windows 8 already brought us Cloud integration with a slew of features. Now it’s time to see if Windows 9 evolves into a cloud-centric OS and whether this will include Desktop anywhere thru the Cloud based on user login.

The Warptest POV

The rumors and expectations are exciting but it’s time for Microsoft to make good on past mistakes, big mistakes that need to be rectified.

  1. Testing and compliance: since Windows XP we’ve been plagued with bugs, problems and frustrations which eventually turned out in many cases to be 3rd Party testing failures. Microsoft and Windows 9 need to ensure that all hardware, drivers and major 3rd Party software work properly. From a consumer point of view this means backwards compatibility too. No more WiFi, sound or graphics card drivers that sort of work. This means that Microsoft needs to work better with the software and hardware industry to define and enforce standards of testing, transparency for results and compliance.
  2. OEM Bloatware: consumers are sick of getting new computers that works slower than expected because the OEM took a working OS and added applications and services that most users don’t want but need a computer tech to disable or remove. As above, Microsoft time to put your foot down with the OEMs.
  3. OEM Images: when a consumer buys a new PC they should get Windows 9 updated to the last major upgrade of the OS. There should be no PCs being sold with Windows 8 still, this is pure laziness and poor procedure on the part of OEMs in not updating the image of the OS they mass install.
  4. Marketing: Windows 9 needs to regain lost ground and needs to understand that offensive marketing against the competition isn’t going to cut it. A new understanding of consumer and business needs from the Operating System, a coherent pricing/sales strategy and a positive story for Windows 9 are needed. Windows 9 has to fight an uphill battle unhindered by the occasionally curious Marketing efforts here.

I have high expectations of Windows 9 and have already provisioned a Virtual Machine to test the Preview when released on September 30th. Whether this will be the full version or not waits to be seen but this may be the culmination of Steve Ballmer’s One Microsoft legacy combined with Satya Nadella’s vision for Microsoftif Microsoft creates a coherent release strategy that produces a stable, well-tested OS that supports existing hardware and drivers, reins in the OEMs and delivers a solid marketing message.

Windows should not inherit the every odd number curse from the Star Trek Movies but that means a lot of learning from the past and as much work in and out of Development to get this right.

I for one am excited to take Windows 9 for a test run, how about you?

TFS. When I Mention It Who Do You Think Of?

Developers? QA? Your Scrum Master? Well time to reframe your expectations and preconceptions.

Recently after working on a project using Microsoft Test Manager and TFS with VisualStudio.com I went into PowerPoint to update a presentation / pitch I was about to run and I discovered a new menu tab Story boarding.

Storyboarding - TFS - PowerPoint

Storyboarding?

Storyboarding allows us to turn our message into a visual display. This is a powerful tool for those involved in relaying the stories that explain the why and how of their product.

As you can see from the screen-capture above there are 3 points of interest in PowerPoint: –

Storyboard - 3 points

The first is self-explanatory. The second are importable, embeddable graphics in sets; as usual Microsoft has several additional sets for free for the user to download and use. The third Storyboard Links – Team allows the person creating the storyboard to add it to a work item in TFS.

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For those not in the know TFS is Microsoft’s ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) built around Visual Studio, MS-Projects, Sharepoint and Test Professional (and others). Depending on the role of the team member they are granted the tools and permissions to perform their role in building the product. TFS can be run from a server or online via VIsualStudio.com.

TFS is optimally used to build products using one layer of Microsoft technologies but not exclusively so. It can be used for Waterfall based projects but serves Agile projects extremely well.

The Warptest POV

Whoever is writing the story of your product, whether it be your marketer, community manager, product manager etc. this is a great addition to their toolbox. How do they get it?

This is a TFS add-in so the link here explains which versions of Visual Studio will add this to an installed version of PowerPoint 2007 (or greater).

The ROI on having menu and Visual Studio is obvious. By linking your storyboards to your TFS work items, you are drastically increasing the ability of your team to understand the why’s and wherefores each requirement or use case.

This will also prevent any disconnect from the information silo in TFS by personnel who traditionally don’t have any flavor of Visual Studio installed on their work PC.

You next question is probably Isn’t this a bit expensive for us in Startup Land? I can only suggest you jump over to Microsoft’s BizSpark site to see if you and your Startup are entitled to all the benefits of the program (designed to encourage innovation, growth and success for your idea and your execution).

Storyboard - Bizspark - TFS

So, don’t go overboard and end up exemplifying everything in Weird Al’s latest video instead ask what Storyboarding can do for you.

Are you ready to improve how you relate your product’s story?