This is more or less an open letter to us users and the developer.
I would like everybody to stop asking for new features.
There already is for a very long time a very long list with ideas. Hardly none of them end up in new solutions or features because every day we keep asking for new things.
Let the developer first develop the things we are asking for for such a long time.
There is a difference between “must have” and “nice to have”
Let him first concentrate on improving what we already have. Improvement of the efficiency when booking things. Not showing already paid or received invoices when entering payment or receipts etc. etc. etc.
Hopefully the developer will come up with a list of priorities he is working on so that we get an idea of what will happen in the near future. Too often things were promised and have never been realized.
Give him the time to get rid of this backlog.
The problem is what you consider important and what I consider important lol. For example, I don’t need to worry about Depreciation for example - couldn’t care less about that, but I do want Quotes and Orders Status to be implemented asap especially as I asked for this feature when I joined Manager in 2015! Also the ability to clone inventory items is another feature that would really help.
But in principle I agree with your point - sort out the fundamentals first and then worry about nice to have features. But then again I consider both my requests to be fundamental especially status of quotes and orders!
Having said that, I don’t think the problem is that people are asking for too many features as virtually every idea in the ideas category has seen no movement since being added. I am not sure why the developer implemented an ideas category as only about 5 or so ideas in the last three years have actually been actioned!
The problem I believe is that the developer seems to add features based on what interests him (most of which are not in the ideas category but are his own ideas), rather than developing a roadmap plan and a SLA focusing on core features first. This argument has been raised a number of times by many different people so I am not going to go into it again as I don’t believe in beating a dead horse,but I have no confidence that any of the ideas in the ideas category will be implemented this year or next as promises are always being made and then nothing seems to happen. It’s a shame, because other Manager is a fantastic product and I love using the program. However, a lot of accounting programs seem to suffer from this problem with many ideas sitting gathering dust. So I just enjoy the program as it is!
Why ? Without user new feature suggestions how does the developer become informed about possible enhancements, and in the absence of those suggestions the developer would be left to implement enhancements based upon their own navel gazing.
I totally agree though that far to many suggested ideas aren’t being acted on especially those which appear to be just tweaks. Of more concern to me is the continuing administration inefficiencies remaining in the programme after all these years - such as no bulk printing / emailing. Employing a person 2 days a month to just print / email Customer Statements one by one in this technology era doesn’t make the desktop edition “free”.
I acknowledge that Manager has grown Tab by Tab and that as the programme grows in sophistication some Tab’s may have to be totally rewritten so that they can better meshed with developments, however, having perfectly working Tabs repeatedly restructured seems to be wasted effort, e.g. the flip flop that has occurred with Bank / Cash and related Tabs and more recently with Bank Reconciliations.
The Special Accounts Tab is one of the better recent significant improvements, however there remains a number of areas within Manager where it is in conflict with itself.
However it must be recognised that jurisdictional demands, which are increasing, will gazump user ideas if Manager is to remain relevant, but that has to be balanced with user expectations.
I don’t think the stopping of listing new ideas will resolve or cause the sudden implementation of any current ideas - that requires developer action not user silence.
In closing, if you were the developer wouldn’t you be getting embarrassed by the increasing failure to listen to your users.
What I am basically asking for is that the requests and ideas where users are asking for, in some cases many many years, will be honoured. Once that has been done I think Lubos doesn’t have to be afraid that there will become a point in time that he has to start navel gazing. Let me give an example. Recently depreciation has been introduced. But as a matter of fact it covers just one method of depreciation amongst all others methods. Why has this been introduced while so many other things would have been of a greater benefit for all of us like bulk printing or solving other administration inefficiencies.
I agree that it requires developer action and communication with your user base. I really doubt if anyone of us ever had personal contact with Lubos. It appears to me that, while the globe turns round, he is locking himself in a cave and does what he thinks is good for us without listening to his users.
I still like the software very much but it could be so much better in efficiency, productivity and ease to use. I sincerely hope that Lubos will respond on my open letter and that he doesn’t hide away.
Of course new brilliant ideas are always welcome but I started this topic as a sort of wake-up call at the adres of Lubos because frustration and irritation in the user base is growing and that is a pity.
I know it is impossible to make and keep everybody happy but at least try to keep the majority happy.
I hope this topic will help in the right direction.
I ask that we try and understand Lubos’ position. He wouldn’t create this forum in the first place if comments and ideas were not important to him. The user base of the software keeps going up and therefore more users in different industries and jurisdictions will come on board with their ideas.
I believe ideas should be voiced out, this is why we have @Brucanna and @Tut to read them and put them in the ideas category or not, not every feature or request requires heavy programming.
Not every idea is going to be added but we can be sure that important features will be added. I joined in 2014 and I have seen a lot of improvement but yes there are more request/ideas to be considered and added, hopefully they all get attention soon.
@Hennie the key point that both myself and @Brucanna are making is that stopping people asking for new features will not make the slightest bit of difference because the problem is not that there are too many ideas etc.
As you yourself said:
This in a nutshell is what I feel is the problem. Running my own business as an IT Technician, I learnt the hard way that the two most important aspects of retaining clients (i.e. keeping them happy) is
a: regular and effective communication - i.e. listening to my clients as to what is important to them, not just what is important to me! Then ensuring that I deliver on their needs in a reasonable time frame otherwise clients just feel let down when nothing is ever delivered on time and promises are repeatedly broken. I remember years ago in the past, always saying that I was planning big changes that never ended up being delivered and it was frustrating for my clients at that time and a few clients left because they lost confidence in me. People need to feel like they are being listened to, kept in the loop and touching base frequently. I cannot stress this highly enough. Many businesses fail because they don’t regularly communicate with their customers to find out what is important to their customers. Too many companies are stuck navel gazing what they think is important and never stop to ask what is important to their clients.
b: Having a clear plan of action - That is a roadmap development plan that is shared with my clients so that they know what I am working on, have realistic timescales for completion of projects etc and they can see that their requests and my ideas are being rolled out gradually over the months so they know what is going on and when their requests will be dealt with. People need to see that something is happening and feel like they are involved in the development process with regular communication. When I am talking about requests I am talking more about IT projects, not fixing the printer type thing.
Before I grasped these two very important points, I lost a few clients in years past, because I thought my business was IT Support - before I realised that my business (and every business) is actually your clients. Without clients you have no business. This is something that many businesses still fail to understand!
I like Lubos very much. I think he is really good at programming, very hard working, sincere and dedicated - a very thorough person, and in my personal opinion Manager is far superior to many other accounting programs out there because he has designed it to be consistent, well mapped out, fast, reliable and so damn easy to use!
However, I simply do not understand why he cannot grasp that there is a problem when people have been asking for a feature for five years or more! He doesn’t seem to understand point a and point b sadly enough despite the fact that many people over the years have complained over and over again about non delivery of feature requests and project timescales. The frustration grows more because people can see he is always adding the features that he wants to add (while they might be good), whereas all the ideas in the ideas category are just gathering mothballs! It doesn’t matter how good I am at IT, if I don’t listen to my clients, they will leave and clients have their own priorities as well.
None of us have any idea what feature Lubos will introduce next, which I can bet you will be something that nobody has requested yet he deems more important than hundreds of ideas that have been gathering dust in the ideas category. So people will continue to get more and more frustrated. I am intending to buy the Server version of Manager in August because I really like Manager as it really is the best accounting program for me, and I have just come to accept that the developer will never learn to stop waffling on with endless changes that nobody has requested, tweaking things to the nth degree and instead start working urgently on ideas that have been waiting for years to be developed and also start communicating better with his customers to find out what is important to them and also with a proper roadmap development plan and some idea of timescales.
I sincerely hope that your post will bring about fruition, but sadly - been there, done that and here we are again! I would love this problem to be sorted, but the developer just doesn’t seem to be aware that there is a problem alas. Good Luck and sorry about rant, but this issue does annoy me.
Beyond a simple ‘like’ of @Hennie 's OP I had earlier decided not to add to this thread. However, I now find myself thinking and wondering…So, here is my 5 bob’s worth.
Manager is accounting software (and IMHO very good accounting software at that), and if I understand circumstances correctly it is the developer’s intention and wish for it to be just that.
As far as I can see, the majority of suggestions, requests and ideas fall firmly withing the realms of CRM and ERP functions and not accounting.
OK, so there will always be a small amount of overlap in any business processes and functions, but I do believe that if you have a business need for say CRM and/or ERP then you should look for and implement solutions for those functions and not expect an accounting suite to do it for you.
In the main I don’t support this pretention for the following reasons:
1 - Ideas can only be approved by Moderators and generally their focus is on the improvement of Manager with relation to accounting or existing features.
2 - The Developer has the final overview and if there are Ideas outside their vision for the programme then they can always remove them, with an explanation.
However, I invite you to point out those Ideas which you consider to “fall firmly within the realms of CRM and ERP and not accounting” and I will be more then happy to review their suitability to be under the Ideas catergory.
Fair enough, am happy to respectfully agree to disagree; no harm no foul so to speak. My only desire was to support both the OP, and hopefully by extension, the Developer.
I agree in so far as that relates/applies to the ‘Ideas’ section of this forum, but being a public forum it is not uncommon to find people making requests or suggestions or discussing things in the other areas that are not specifically curated by the Moderators for the specific purposes of “Ideas”- this very thread for example. I appreciate that such circumstances make a Moderator’s job difficult in order to strike what they see as a fair and just balance.
I agree, and feel happy that this is the case. Just for the avoidance of doubt it is my own opinion that any iterations should be the exclusive remit of the developer alone and should the choice be made to include or exclude something then there should be no need or obligation for explanation, as it is after-all the Developer’s product.
Lubos is an exceptional programmer with excellent insight into what makes a program both powerful and simple to use.
The program is supplied at a very economical price (average per; business, user, or installation).
The program addresses a very broad market both within a jurisdiction and range of jurisdictions.
Lubos does alone what is done by a team for all other competing produces
The issue then is how to scale this structure or contain the market it tries to address.
It is not that easy to employ others to help in program development as having multiple people working on software requires a large investment in documentation and interface definition (Lubos is almost certain to carry most of this in his head / not in a form which can be efficiently taught to others).
Scaling up the programing output would need to be reliably funded (by dramatically growing the user base or product average price).
The alternative is to trim the product to the market Lubos decides Manger will principally address, probably by focusing product development / maintenance mostly on that area.
None of these are easy decisions for a small business.
First of al i totally agree that there should be clear communication about which, when and if the made suggestions will be implemented but another question raised my mind. If Lubos is the only developer has anyone considered what happens when he can’t or just don’t want to do his job anymore.
I planned to stay completely out of this discussion. But some perspective seems to be called for. By my count, there have been 141 announced improvement releases or bug fixes to the program since January 1, 2019. Every single one was initiated by a user’s suggestion or complaint. That pattern is not unusual, compared with previous years.
Additionally, the Manager Product Updates newsletters over that period discussed many other changes in response to user input. In fact, many unannounced program changes were described in the newsletter as necessary to accommodate new features that were announced.
Does the list of ideas grow steadily longer? Yes. (It now includes more than 190 user suggestions. But only 8 have accumulated more than 10 votes from the approximately 10,000 forum members.) Think how much longer the list would be without the program changes I already mentioned. Compare total changes to the number of working days over the past 16 months. Suggestions that @lubos is unresponsive to users hardly seem fair.
I would imagine most forum members involved in this discussion have offered suggestions—publicly or privately—for features they would like to see in the program. It is obviously disappointing to some when their ideas are not addressed while other changes occur. But did Microsoft or Adobe ever make a change any of you recommended? I doubt it.
Does any forum member have the right to insist on development direction of an application you did not write and do not own? Does anyone have a contract guaranteeing the developer will inform you of plans or follow your wishes? Does anyone actually know, based on direct knowledge of the program’s coding, whether any specific change is easy or difficult to implement? Is anyone entitled to dictate NGSoftware’s business plan or customer engagement model, whatever you think of it? The answer to all those questions is clearly “No.”
@Tut Like yourself, I originally planned to stay completely out of this discussion - primarily because I don’t believe that anything I or anyone else say in this topic will be heard. I still have no confidence that anything will change because this issue has come up repeatedly over the years, but nonetheless I will make one more attempt to explain what the problem is. So I do apologise for the length of this post, but I will make one more determined effort to be heard, sadly with no confidence that anything will change.
Your response indicates that like the developer, you completely miss the point and still do not seem to recognise that there is a problem. Nowhere have I seen any user state that the developer does not update the program or fix serious bugs. Yes there have been a lot of updates and every user has by and large commented on the fact that the developer clearly works hard and cares about his product. I personally like the developer a lot and think he is a really great guy. But this is not and never was the issue!
I very seriously doubt that every single update was initiated by a user - for example, the latest changes in the Reconciliations Reports, the constant tweaking of the bank/cash and receipt/payments tabs and let’s not forget the saga of when the summary page was changed to look like the chart of accounts. None of these were requested by users and there are many other changes to the program where this constant tweaking in the background such as showing every transaction in accounts payable, receivable, inventory on hand - where initially we had to scroll down to find current transactions until he put zero balances underneath non zero balances. Again, a feature not requested as far as I can see and it causes a lot of frustration for users with constant tweaking to the system.
I don’t dispute that many of the updates over the years have improved the program, although I have my doubts on the above mentioned examples, particularly as many users have issues with the new Reconciliation Reports (yourself included Tut).
Getting to the meat of the problem is threefold:
The developer largely does not communicate with users anymore - The recent changes to the Reconciliations Reports is a very good example of what I mean. He changed how the reports work and even you stated that there has been a loss of functionality which you want restored. From the developer so far - there has been complete total silence - no indication he has heard or is interested in the feedback of the issues surrounding the Reconciliations Reports. This is a major communication problem and users feel that they are not being heard.
Using the reconciliations reports again as an example, the developer frequently changes the program without asking any users what they think of any new changes coming up. He doesn’t discuss his ideas with anyone and the end result is customer dis-satisfaction because you had a Reconciliations Report that as far as you were concerned worked well for you, and now you have a report that no longer has the functionality that it used to have and there is no understanding by the users affected what possible benefits there are to the changes to the Reconciliations Report. This again creates customer dis-satisfaction.
This again is a communication problem once again. As Hennie says (and I love the way he said this) -
This in a nutshell is the main issue. Very little communication and listening to the clients.
There is no roadmap, providing any clarity of the direction of the program, what features will be implemented and when? In addition, what I have seen with many of the updates over the last couple of years, (apart from the fact that no user requested them), is that many of them is about tweaking the system to the nth degree, perfecting certain points and in my opinion seem to be more based on what the developer is interested in working on (his priorities), such that ideas and feature requests that have been waiting since 2014 are still waiting to be implemented. Especially has repeated promises are made and then never delivered on.
There is no prioritisation of feature requests based on what would benefit the majority of users or be quick changes to implement nor is there any kind of proper queuing system. So we have a situation where a person requests a feature today and gets the feature implemented next week because it interests the developer, but you have requests going back five or more years still waiting to be implemented. Many of the latest features are minor tweaks which should be low priorities such as the showing all transactions update when things like bulk printing, emailing etc are of a lot more use and benefit to the vast majority of users.
There are three things that need to be done to resolve this issue:
Effective Communication with Clients - before, during and after. Communication is vital. People need to feel heard and this is the core of the problem.
Having a roadmap showing the direction of the program, order in which features will be implemented and when! So people have some idea of where the program is going. You miss the point if you think it’s about people feeling aggrieved that their particular feature request has not been implemented. I for one, couldn’t care less about bulk printing or bulk emailing, but I fully agree with those users about the need for it even though I will never use it myself. Yet instead of addressing critical problems like this (that have been waiting for years to be addressed), instead we have features where all transactions are shown on the B/S in payments/receipts (even if balance is zero), which really is not a priority compared to bulk printing etc. If you can’t see that the priorities of feature rollouts is completely out of whack, I can’t help you to see! It is this point, that is the most irritating point to most users I suspect.
Having a small group of people to bounce ideas off before implementing new features to avoid problems like the issues with the Reconciliation Reports changes, the summary page saga (which has never restored functionality that was lost on the old summary page) and basically to get feedback from users what is important to them in their daily usage of Manager.
What Adobe, Microsoft etc do is irrelevant as is your last paragraph @Tut . A company should never deflect criticism by pointing out that Microsoft don’t do this either. Instead you could actually recognise that users are frustrated and see what you could do to address the source of the frustration. I have had more than one person email me in private complaining about the feeling of never being heard with requests made years ago still waiting to be even looked at whilst trivial tweaks are endlessly made! If one person says it - maybe it’s that person, but when a lot of people make the same complaint - well perhaps the problem is not us?
I hope that this sufficiently explains why so many people are frustrated, but forgive me if I say I won’t hold my breath! People see what they want to see I have come to realise. Thank you for your comment @Tut - it’s always appreciated even if I don’t agree.
@dalacor Before an organization can engage in effective communication about their future directions, the organization needs to have a clear idea what they intend their future direction to be.
I believe the problem is not that NG Software has not promise enough / has enough potential. But rather Manager has too much potential, too many uses believe with some “minor” changes it could be great for them.
If you really want change the only real option is for NG Software to tell some of it’s customer that their needs are not core business for NG Software. It is a brave small business that turns away customers, particularly if the business is not sure that they won’t better support them at some later date. Maybe some customers will buy based on the vision but it is a risky strategy.
@Tut I agree many significant feature have been added, and continue to be added (the world has paused with Covid so it is reasonable Manage paused a little also recently). For some of the changes I don’t understand the priorities, but that is to be expected give my relative ignorance of the program details.
The solution in my opinion is for users to choose the program based on what it currently is, not what they would like it to be. It is good we can express on opinion, but expecting them to be implemented is overly optimistic.
None the less it is frustrating when “minor” “essential” feature we individually identify are not given the priority we individually believe is appropriate. Not sure what the solution is to that, perhaps it is an unfortunate consequence of having a software product which is responsive to user voiced opinions.
Firstly and most importantly - the software is awesome and some great great functionality has been added in the few years I have been using it such as billable expenses. It’s a solid surprisingly globally capable accounting program. Thank you!
I do however agree that the tweaking vs. new/enhanced functionality mix does sometimes seem a be a bit high. And yes, there are some obvious surprisingly long outstanding omissions such as the batch/multi send/email capability.
Still, for Lubos & team, at the heart of this thread I believe all the posts even the frustrated sounded ones show the true passion each and every one of us has for our favorite accounting program. Hope that point doesn’t get lost in the noise.