Respecting productivity

So by now you’ve seen the videos, read the buzz.

Previewing ‘Windows 8’: Article by Julie Larson-Green, corporate vice president, Windows Experience.:

I don’t meant to sound bah humbug but what disturbs me is who is in charge of making the decisions….in particular a person who historically in the past turned a blind eye to the impact of productivity:

Microsoft TCN – Awards and Recognitions:
‘Even more significant, Larson-Green had decided not to compromise the integrity of Office 2007 with the safety net of a “classic mode.” ‘

Which is — in my personal experience of rolling out Office 2007 to people at my office — was the single dumbest move ever made by a large corporation.  In my roll out of Office 2007 all push back was removed once I put in ‘safety wheels’ of a third party classic menu.  I weaned people slowly off of that ribbon bar rather than ripping the classic menu from their hands.  That classic menu respected the impact to productivity that change made in a firm.

Microsoft you cannot turn a blind eye to productivity.  To do so is at your peril.  Don’t get so wrapped up in catering to the twitter and blogger crowd and trying to wow the Walt Mossburg crowd.  Right now Microsoft is so wrapped up in chasing Google and Apple.  Be careful in that endeavor.

10 Thoughts on “Respecting productivity

  1. SeanPT on June 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm said:

    I agree with you 1000% … except with the Ribbon.

    The old menu had to go and the numbers didn’t lie. There was a big long video during the beta of office 2007 where they showed the usage data from office 2003 and office xp. They were able to prove time and time again that you could be more productive with office 2007 and the ribbon even if you were a pro with office 2003.

    The best part about the ribbon was there was next to no learning curve. If you were an Office 2003 pro (like myself) it took very little time to get used to 2007. They didn’t just say “screw the fogies” like I often feel happens as technology moves forward. They studied the numbers over, and over, and over again. They had human factors labs at various universities crunching information on the ribbon.

    Now on when I (rarely) find myself at a computer with office 2003 I feel lost. Where was that command hidden?! So frustrating — and I’m so glad to be rid of it.

    When I was faced with push back I simply said “This is easy, you can learn it, you will learn it quickly, and you will love it.” I had a perfect record in my move to office 2007 and those same people were anxious to go to Office 2010 for the continued improvements.

    But let me go back to what I started with — I agree with you 1000%. They can’t turn a blind eye to productivity and with that usability. A keyboard and a mouse will win over fingers any day of the week and twice on sunday.

  2. Dean on June 3, 2011 at 12:11 am said:

    “in my personal experience of rolling out Office 2007 to people at my office — was the single dumbest move ever made by a large corporation”

    Really. If Microsoft had included a backwards compatible menu system then exactly when would the people have learned the Ribbon ? I’ll give you the answer.


    So in reality it was one of the smartest moves.

    The rest was said by SeanPT above.

    You really seem to hate Microsoft lately. Your so last century in the MS hating dept.

    Let the flaming begin.

  3. bradley on June 3, 2011 at 12:22 am said:

    Yeah on our time table not impacting productivity. Which is exactly how we did it. We live in Excel and Word.
    Sorry Dean, not hating Microsoft here. Living in the real world of respecting how people learn.

  4. Dean on June 3, 2011 at 12:24 am said:

    By the way, is anyone ready for Windows 8 ? To me it seems like Windows 7 just came out.

  5. Dean on June 3, 2011 at 12:26 am said:

    “Living in the real world of respecting how people learn”

    That’s the point. Most people won’t learn unless you force them to.

  6. bradley on June 3, 2011 at 12:33 am said:

    I disagree. Learning should never be forced. People don’t learn well when they are forced.

  7. Dean on June 3, 2011 at 12:41 am said:

    “People don’t learn well when they are forced”

    Really. Then I guess you should work hard to get the law repealed that says that all kids must go to school.

    I don’t think many kids would go if they didn’t have to.

    Ditto for adults. Most adults. People like us like to learn on our own. Thats the whole reason we know more than most about what we know.


  8. bradley on June 3, 2011 at 12:45 am said:

    Find the spark of the interest in a person and people want to learn.

  9. Dean on June 3, 2011 at 12:50 am said:

    “Find the spark of the interest in a person and people want to learn.”

    Average adult.

    “Mmmmm. This alcohol/drug is good. I want to know more about it.”


  10. cseiter on June 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm said:

    When we switched over to Office 2007 I installed the Pschmidt utility that gave the custom UI tab, but it was also installed with the premise that when your computer is replaced it will not be installed on the next one. I gave the users a choice in which interface to use, with a deadline. Granted it took a 3rd party tool to do it, but they had a choice. With such a huge UI overhaul there should be a choice to change. I’m sure it would take some time to code it in, but the extra months would be made up with the PR.
    Yes we did buy your product but looking at all the mods people make should clue them in that there is a huge percentage that don’t want the cookie cutter out of the box feel and want to decide for themselves. You know how to write and OS, I know how the OS would work great for me; lets meet in the middle.

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