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Forums / General Discussions / An Open Letter to Vassil Terziev, Svetozar Georgiev and the Sitefinity Team

An Open Letter to Vassil Terziev, Svetozar Georgiev and the Sitefinity Team

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. John Tolar
    John Tolar avatar
    87 posts
    Registered:
    07 May 2003
    14 Apr 2011
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    I would like to start off by saying I am a huge fan of the Telerik brand. I have used used the ASP.net RadControls since 2003. Since then I have embraced all of the Telerik products and have successfully implemented the Silverlight, Ajax, MVC, Winforms, WPF, Reporting and OpenAccess products in several projects. I have implemented TeamPulse at my previous employer where I was ISS Director. I have also successfully implemented Sitefinity 3.x in previous companies. 

    Recently I struck out on my own and started my own company. The first purchase was the Telerik collection for .Net. When I won my first major contract to do a site for a local financial company to create a public and agent site I immediately thought of Sitefinity. When I went to the website and saw the announcement of 4.0 I was very excited. I read about the performance and development gains and i was hooked. I knew the deliverable date was at the end of January, so I could do the product in the RC and have time to tidy up using the final release. When I quoted the project I had to give a fixed cost. I quoted 300 hours and though I would be able to deliver under that time. 

    I am now 400 hours over my quote (which I have eat) and have had countless 40+ hour days trying to deliver a product that I would be proud to put my company's name to. I was very disappointed when I finally got a release that only delivered half and cost $1100 more than the previous version. I am now in April and a public beta is due this Friday (tomorrow), which i have no choice but to meet. I have been anxiously waiting the release of 4.1 which promises to have fixes that I cannot continue without. We have heard April 13th for several days, after the initial announcement that it was going to be delayed. April 13th has come and gone in all time zones and no one in the Sitefinity group is responding to questions of why it is delayed or when it will be delivered. 

    I recently inquired about becoming a Sitefinity Partner, I now have to say that I will not be perusing this opportunity until Sitefinity 4.x is a more mature product. I cannot afford to risk any more projects to being delayed, not feasible or risk my reputation.

    Thank you for all the wonderful products that Telerik has produced and I hope that Sitefinity will catch up to this soon.

    John Tolar
    President - Southern Harmony Business Service, LLC.
  2. Georgi
    Georgi avatar
    3583 posts
    Registered:
    28 Oct 2016
    15 Apr 2011
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    Hi John,

    Thanks for your open letter.

    I think there two problems at hand:
    1. that we said we will release Sitefinity 4.1 on the 6th, then moved it to the 13th and then said it's going to ship next week (ETA 20th of April).
    2. 4.0 was released with a number of issues that shouldn't have been there and this slowed down the development/roll-out efforts of all customers

    I'll start with the second point - it was my call to release 4.0 in January. The team was against it as they thought we are not yet ready. They asked for 30 days more to fix things. I was worried that this would've been a bad sign to all of you guys - that we are delaying things considerably for even more and that you would completely lose hope of us EVER releasing 4.0. So, the decision was to release 4.0 with quite  a few known issues but commit to a regular release schedule (3 major releases per year with 1-2 service packs per release) and catch up with all features and improvements. In both cases we would've lost the trust of some customers so there was no really great way out. I don't know which one of the two options was better and you can't really turn back time to see what would've happened if we had taken the other road. It is what it is. We released 4.0 and now we have to catch up with features, fixes and ... expectations.

    The only thing I know for sure is that the team behind the product is great. The guys are super passionate, very customer-driven and they will make things work. I know it's not easy, but I would kindly ask that everyone that has a gripe with the product blames me and the management rather than the team as the folks are doing everything humanly possible to keep everyone happy. It's exactly because of this that we sometimes come short but we are learning. If you feel totally let down by the product, please e-mail me at "terziev" you know what extension dot com.

    With regards to the first issue about postponing the release - it's unpleasant. However, there are things you cannot predict. How could we predict that fixing the last bug from the queue would lead to another weird bug that would cause a memory leak in a very specific version of SQL Express? Even though this does not affect the end customer because it manifests itself only on SQL Express, would anyone like to get a yellow screen every now and then? Following the old release standards we could've easily let go and released but, after all, you should learn from past mistakes. We are doing that and we won't be releasing things that we know are not ready for prime time. It already happened and we paid a high price. It's more appropriate to say "the team" vs "we" because they were the ones who put in many sleepless nights to make sure 4.1 is a great release and that they don't let customers down.

    When we are trying to get into the rhytm of shipping 3 major releases per year (vs 1 for 2 years) it takes some time to get everything ticking. Many of you may not know but we were facing similar challenges with our dev tools many years ago. Today, all of those teams are ticking like a Swiss clock and have not missed their release dates by a day for many releases. It will happen for Sitefinity too but it will take another release or two to fully iron out the release process.

    I don't want to say a big thing, but I think that the hardest moments are behind us and things will get considerably better with 4.1 and beyond.

    And, as some good news - the memory leak issue is resolved, we will test on all environments including Azure over the weekend and will deliver the next version on Monday or Tuesday.

    Wish you all a great weekend! And please share your opinions on 4.1. Let us know if this time we managed to hit the mark.

    Best,
    Vassil

     
  3. Phill Hodgkinson
    Phill Hodgkinson avatar
    362 posts
    Registered:
    10 Nov 2004
    15 Apr 2011
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    @Vassil I have one major issue and that is with releasing an incomplete and buggy product and yet still charging your clients the full cost (and greatly increased at that).  I agree that you needed to get it out the door as it was already extremely late but I really don't think you should have charged at all or at least not full price until the product was truly the version 4.0 that had been promised all along (even at 4.1 it still won't be what was promised for 4.0, features will still be missing). So right from the very beginning you've already disappointed me as a client and now you need to learn one very valuable skill, "under promise and over deliver" and you need to do that more than once to gain my trust again and to have me willing to risk my business again.

    But here's 4.1 a few days away and you still haven't learned this very simple lesson in customer service/satifaction.

    I don't want compensation or a free version but one thing that I thing would be very fair is to have the start date of all end users 4.0 subscriptions reset to a date in the future when SF 4 is actually SF4 and not some beta software that you're calling 4.1. I can tell you now that if there isn't some gesture of appreciation made to those of us that have paid full price for half a product the SF 4 licenses I have no will NOT be getting renewed nor will any of the SF 3.x licenses I have get renewed.

    Regards,
    Phill
  4. Vassil
    Vassil avatar
    5 posts
    Registered:
    10 Jan 2017
    18 Apr 2011
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    Hi Phill,

    @Vassil I have one major issue and that is with releasing an incomplete and buggy product and yet still charging your clients the full cost (and greatly increased at that).  I agree that you needed to get it out the door as it was already extremely late but I really don't think you should have charged at all or at least not full price until the product was truly the version 4.0 that had been promised all along (even at 4.1 it still won't be what was promised for 4.0, features will still be missing).

    VT>> Phill, read the bottom of my reply to see how we are going to approach this problem.

    So right from the very beginning you've already disappointed me as a client and now you need to learn one very valuable skill, "under promise and over deliver" and you need to do that more than once to gain my trust again and to have me willing to risk my business again.

    VT>> The team tries really hard to make everyone happy and this creates unrealistic expectations inside and outside of it. So, rather than promise you that everything will be just fine, the future will be rosy and so on, I can promise you only one thing – we will give our best shot. If our “best” is not good enough then maybe it’s time to move on. It’s better for the customer and for us and everyone will have much more peace of mind.

    But here's 4.1 a few days away and you still haven't learned this very simple lesson in customer service/satifaction.

    VT>> Phill, I don’t want to take the discussion in the wrong direction. I’d much more prefer to focus our effort to find constructive solutions to the current problems.

    I don't want compensation or a free version but one thing that I thing would be very fair is to have the start date of all end users 4.0 subscriptions reset to a date in the future when SF 4 is actually SF4 and not some beta software that you're calling 4.1. I can tell you now that if there isn't some gesture of appreciation made to those of us that have paid full price for half a product the SF 4 licenses I have no will NOT be getting renewed nor will any of the SF 3.x licenses I have get renewed.

    VT>> This is a reasonable request and the business team has prepared an action plan. Our initial plan was to move all 4.x subscriptions to start on the 4.1 release date, however, we will consider your suggestion to move them to the release of 4.2. We are not blind and deaf, guys:) If something makes sense and is fair to both sides, we will always do something about it.

    I know that some people feel that we overpromised and under-delivered. In many ways, it’s true – I think I openly admitted that in my reply to John. It’s not the first time this has happened, however, we have always worked pretty hard to come out of the swamp and we’ve emerged stronger than before and with a much stronger relationship with our customers who sticked with us during tough times. Many positive developments give me strong hope that with 4.x we are on the same track. Time will tell whether I am right or wrong.


    Regards,
    Vassil

  5. Steve
    Steve avatar
    3037 posts
    Registered:
    03 Dec 2008
    18 Apr 2011
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    What coming out of a swamp might look like

    ** No horses were harmed in the making of SF4 **?
  6. Jean
    Jean avatar
    90 posts
    Registered:
    06 Nov 2008
    18 Apr 2011
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    @Vasil,

    So let's check if you have learned from the past week. Is the release of 4.1 for today (Monday the 18th) or tomorrow (Tuesday the 19th)? The post said Monday or Tuesday, so which will it be then?

    Regards,
    Jean Erasmus
  7. Vassil
    Vassil avatar
    5 posts
    Registered:
    10 Jan 2017
    18 Apr 2011
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    Hi Jean,

    Knowing us, what would you bet on - Monday or Tuesday?:)

    OK, I was being sarcastic. 4.1 went live a few minutes ago.

    -Vassil

7 posts, 0 answered