28 Replies Latest reply on Jan 12, 2017 4:31 AM by Mark Greenwell

    SolidWorks Enhancement Requests

    Marlon Banta

      Hello,

       

      From time to time while reviewing SolidWorks forum discussions I see instances where customers are asking for new functionality or an improvement to an existing behavior in our SolidWorks Products. Though SolidWorks employees frequently review the discussions on the forum, the most efficient way to communicate these requests is to submit an enhancement request through the enhancement request link on the customer portal. Attached is a five minute video that shows the enhancement request process. It shows how to submit an enhancement request (please pay special attention to the part of the video that discusses searching for previously submitted requests) as well as a discussion of the things that happen after you submit an enhancement request.

       

      Please take a few minutes (five minutes, actually) to review this video in order to learn how to most effectively communicate your ideas for enhancements to SolidWorks development.

       

      Thank you,

       

      Marlon B.

      Product Definition

        • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
          Samu Niveri

          Do not know how other users feels about this but in my case it is more powerful to ask something at the forums. Someone could already know a workaround or point out that I`m doing something completely wrong. I have sent few enhancement requests years ago, and the feeling about this process is that you spend time to write request and the request goes to some database to be covered with dust. At that time I did not get any emails if the request was even added to database or was it readed ever, but here at the forums you get the feedback almost instantly.

           

          Most of the users reads the topics here more often than enhancement requests on customer portal. Maybe if the enhancement request site could have some limitation on searches it would be easier to use and vote for already posted requests. For example gategories of requests would be helpful to easier go trough what I want to vote (do not remember if this has been earlier like this). I don`t have much ideas but I`m willing to vote and support if someone gets a good enhancement idea. Something like here in forums that you can quickly look the new postings would also be useful.

           

          Here was own section for beta versions of SWx how about creating same kind of section for enhancement requests? And also it would be nice if here could be some person who would move the forum posts to the correct gategories.

           

          Just few thoughts.

          • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
            Scott McFadden

            Marlon,

            I thank you for posting this and I think in some cases this is what needs to be done,

            but in some ways I agree with Samu from the stand point when one thinks they have a good

            enhancement request sometimes it is good to get the confirmation from other users

            on the forum.  So to start here is not a bad thing.

              • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                Samu Niveri

                Yep, and this maybe affects more on foreigners, I mean people who does not speak&write english so well (like me). Typing enhancement requests using dictionary and trying to figure out how things should be said in english can still be a problem for some users. It is easier just ask here and get the information if SolidWorks already has this feature in some form, instead of writing hours for detailed specifications for feature that already exists and it is never informed to person who has spent time for typing the request.

              • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                Charles Culp

                I really liked the tool used for SW World recently, Brainstom. It was transparent, user driven, and people got immediate feedback as to whether their idea was "worth any salt" with other users.

                 

                I have to say I rarely submit enhancement requests anymore. I've only submitted a 2-3 in the past couple years. I have, however, submitted quite a few for the SW World lists, because I get better feedback and I know when my ideas are worth while. A couple of them have even been developed.

                 

                -Thanks Dale

                • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                  Alex Rich

                  I agree with Samu, the ER system should be more accessible to the user community both for our sake and yours.  I second the ability to browse for ERs in addition to searching, it appears you guys already categorize them, so it would not be hard to add the ability to browse.

                   

                  I also think the interface needs to be updated to make the petition process was more transparent.  You should be able to see how many votes your ER has, who has voted for it, and what their comments were (similar to a forum thread except each person would get the ability to thumbs up the ER).  I think it would be nice if after a certain # of votes, solidworks posted an acknowledgement comment on the ER and assigned a priority level.  If the ER was redundant or was just a plain dumb idea, the user community could shoot it down before you guys even bother looking at it.

                  • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                    Jerry Steiger

                    Marlon,

                     

                    This is a me-too for all of the previous comments. It seems like SW makes the Enhancement Request needlessly difficult and non-transparent. The cynic in me thinks that it is deliberate, in an attempt to minimize the demands on the developers. The realist in me thinks it is just another mistake by people who are all too fallible.

                     

                    Jerry Steiger

                    • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                      Tom Strohscher

                      Thanks for the video but the process is still too difficult.

                       

                      After looking at the video I decided to review my own ERs.

                       

                      The ER has a summery and a problem decription section.  The summery shows up in the "My ER's" list.

                      The problem description section is where the software version and the explination gets listed.

                       

                      The ER I was looking at has a status of closed which is odd because I don't think it has been implemented.

                      It does however have a SPR which has a status of open.  An SPR number seems odd because I thought SPR were "bugs".

                      The SPR is in my SPR list but I can not see anything more then the summary text from the ER.

                       

                      Searching the knowledgebase for the SPR number will show me the summary text from the ER and a technical comments section that is blank.  The original problem description, and explination from the ER is not seen.

                       

                      If I were to add a new ER and search as you describe in your video I can find the SPR my original ER was transfered to.  But I only see the original summary in a description field.  The original problem description and explination from the ER is not seen.

                       

                      So how do we find somthing similar and vote on the enhancement request if you don't show everyone all of the information?

                       

                      This example is "Automatically sort a BOM"

                      ER 1-1644311394

                      SPR  558012

                       

                      The original ER which I believe only shows up in My ER's list say, sort on a rebuild and save the sort order in the template.

                       

                      Can anyone find my example ER?  My guess is you will find the SPR which does not tell the full story.

                       

                      Or maybe I have no clue what I'm doing.

                        • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                          Jerry Steiger

                          Tom,

                           

                          Just the fact that you feel frustrated in using the too is a clear indication to me that the tool is not well designed. An enhancement request form seems to me to need to be particularly easy to use. Of course, to the person who designed the tool, it's just more evidence that neither of us has a clue. Why would he want to listen to fools like us?

                           

                          Jerry Steiger

                            • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                              Tom Strohscher

                              Jerry, I try to keep on the positive side of things believeing eveyone is doing the best they can.  So I would truly like to help here if I can.

                               

                              However I have ER that tell me to enter a SPR, I have SR that tell me to enter a ER or SPR or to call a local rep who won't put in a SPR or SR if he can come up with a work around  which only masks the problem.  I've been using SW with support for 5 years now and I have yet to figure out how to best use the customer portal.

                            • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                              Tom Strohscher

                              I just started a new ER to see the form again.

                               

                              The fields I have to enter are Area, Sub Area, Product Version,  That's easy.

                               

                              Description (limit of 250 charaters)  Is this the Summary field that show up everywhere else?

                               

                              Explain (limit of 2000 charaters)  Is this the Problem Description section of the ER that no one else sees?

                               

                               

                              Should we try to get everything into the 250 charater line of the description so everyone else can see it?

                               

                              Is the data we type transfered between databases automatically or does someone cut and past it as the ER gets processed?

                               

                              So it seems that we have description that becomes a summary and a explanation that becomes a problem description, comments and tech comments that never get filled in.  Is it possible to get the fields to align and show everyone all of the info needed to make an intelegent descision.

                               

                              • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                Brian McEwen

                                Tom Strohscher wrote:

                                 

                                 

                                The ER I was looking at has a status of closed which is odd because I don't think it has been implemented.

                                It does however have a SPR which has a status of open.  An SPR number seems odd because I thought SPR were "bugs".

                                The SPR is in my SPR list but I can not see anything more then the summary text from the ER.

                                 

                                I guess they close the ER after it has been acknowledged, and group it with the SPR.  Not sure why this is necessary, giving it two distinct numbers

                                Tom Strohscher wrote:

                                 

                                This example is "Automatically sort a BOM"

                                ER 1-1644311394

                                SPR  558012

                                 

                                Can anyone find my example ER?  My guess is you will find the SPR which does not tell the full story.

                                The search tool is definitely lacking, but I did find your ER, both by using the subject, and by using the SPR number.  It didn't work with the ER number.   The only explanation visible to me is the "Automatically sort a BOM".  

                                 

                                I'm going to keep submitting ERs tho, I haven't given up on it. 

                                 

                                I just did one called "SolidWorks compatible with itself for at least 1 year between versions".  I was going to post it on the forums with the ER number, but now I guess I need to wait for the SPR number, and I'll include more explanation. 

                              • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                Tom Helsley
                                Well, after watching the video, I'm a little disappointed.  I was hoping the video was going to show a new way of reporting ERs - more like what we have been talking about.

                                It's pretty unanimous so far... everyone agrees the the current ER submittal method has many shortcomings and seems very ineffective.   We can't see what others think of the ideas, clarify ideas, and rebut arguments, or tell how popular it is.  Also, we can't post pictures and samples to help explain the problem and envisioned solutions (at least after the initial placement of the ER).  Sometimes, the first person to post the idea hasn't clearly explained it and it takes some conversation to work it out.  It's just not very easy to post an ER that clearly explains the problem.  Once the ER was submitted, I could not post any follow-up information, which makes the creation even more intimitating (to get it right the first time).  Also, the current way ERs are posted, we cannot see any images, examples, or attachments that would help explain the problem or idea.  Trying to describe some problems or ideas cannot be done clearly by words alone.  And another thing, I can't always find an ER that someone else posted.  After discussing ideas with folks in the forums, I have tried searching for ERs that they posted, so I could vote for them.  Each time I tried, the search yielded nothing, nada, zip, zero.  So clearly the search functionality doesn't work 100%.

                                We would like the ERs to work more like Brainstorm, and everyone would like to see what others have to say about it.  We want to see how many votes our idea has received.  And we would like to build on someone's idea, help them explain it.  The ideas posted in brainstorm for SWW 2010, got a lot more attention and there was some work done on them.  In fact, there were some really great discussions with SolidWorks folks in the discussion forums, about the top brainstorm ideas.  I had a much better feeling about the brainstorm requests being implemented than any ER I submitted or voted on.

                                I myself would like to see ERs work more like Brainstorm, but with all the functionality of the message forum.  I would also like to see it taken one step further.  Allow participants to vote not only on the overall topics, but also on individual posts in the discussion.  The topic is the general idea, and the posts discuss the solutions to the idea.  Therefore, voting on the topic gives an idea how important the problem or idea is.  Voting on the individual posts gives an idea of the most popular solution.  Each participant in the discussion could post pictures, attachments, and explain his ideas or concerns.  And best of all, the initiator doesn't have to worry about explaining the idea completely or clearly right away.  Making ERs more like a hybrid of the message forum and Brainstorm would be so much easier, and far more collaborative.

                                SolidWorks has always said it is 100% customer driven, but I think most of us users don't get that feeling.  By doing what I've explained, I think SolidWorks would better show that they are customer driven, and users would feel better about their software investment.

                                Well, SolidWorks, what do you think of this?  Do you want to fall into the same hole as PTC, or do you want to make a difference?  Do you want to walk the talk, or do you want to talk the talk?  Have you thought about taking Brainstorm to the next level, doing something like what we are all talking about here?
                                • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                  Chad Schmidt

                                  1.) Out of context mating using external references.

                                  2.) Control of external references using configurations.

                                  3.) Abolish the concept of parts/assemblies,  generate the hierarchy after the fact (basically everything is a body, no assembly/part environments).

                                  • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                    Paul Marsman

                                    Marlon et al,

                                      I'm coming here because this is the last place it was discussed.  Is the new section on the forums "Ideas" (see image) intended to do this regularly or is this just for the next SWW?  I guess I'm really asking... is this here to stay?

                                    ideas.PNG

                                     

                                    just haven't seen any announcements for it so I'm curious (actually already wrote one)

                                    • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                      Marlon Banta

                                      Thank you everyone for providing your thoughts on the Enhancement Request process at SolidWorks. A few responses to some of the discussion topics:

                                       

                                      Samu and Scott, You bring up a really good point with the forums. In posting this video it was not my intention that you submit an Enhancement Request rather than going to the forum. You should definitely come to the forum first. However, if you find in the discussion that what you are asking is actually an enhancement to the current software then an Enhancement Request is the best way to communicate your ideas to SolidWorks.

                                       

                                      Samu you also bring up an excellent point with foreign language support. At this time, the Enhancement Request site is very much centered towards English speakers. Though until you mentioned it, I would not have known, through your writing, that English was not your native language.

                                       

                                      With respect to the comments related to seeing more information from other people’s Enhancement Requests as well as being able to more openly rank Enhancement Requests. I’ve seen mention of the Brainstorm and as you can see above, we’ve launched this year’s SolidWorks World 2011 ideas site. These are excellent ideas and we will consider them for the future.

                                       

                                      With regards to the status of an Enhancement Request (ER). When an ER has been linked to our internal database the ER is listed as closed. If you scroll to the bottom of the page when viewing an ER that you submitted you will see that an SPR with a number and a description. SPR means Software Performance Report. An SPR is the item in the internal database that is linked to your ER. We are working to make it a bit more clear that the ER is actually being considered by development when it is marked “closed”.

                                       

                                      Again, thank you for your feedback,

                                      Marlon B

                                      Product Definition

                                        • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                          Samu Niveri

                                          My point was not to add multilingual support for enhancement requests, instead I just tried to make some vision about the users who does try to make requests but never gets an answer. Hopefully this case is closed times ago but just to make sure. All is needed is bidirectional feedback, so the user will not be feeling like doing much work for nothing and also gets the information if his/her requested feature is already there, or be workarounded easily.

                                        • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                          Anthony Macke

                                          whats everyone think?

                                           

                                          im putting in an enhancement request to be able to turn a sound on signalling when a document is completely open, and another one to signal when a save is completed.

                                           

                                          that way i got something to wake me up from my naps in between.

                                          • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                            Dennis Dohogne

                                            I just found this thread.  Over six years ago it was started and we aren't any better off with the ER system.

                                             

                                            What happened with this Brainstorm tool at SWW?  I've never seen it, but from the comments it is orders of magnitude better for communicating enhancement ideas.

                                            • Re: SolidWorks Enhancement Requests
                                              Mark Greenwell

                                              Hi Marlon,

                                               

                                              What about the ER's that have been raised with SolidWorks stating these are closed and implemented. Where in fact they haven't been implemented just closed out.

                                               

                                              Because of this I won't raise an ER again.

                                               

                                               

                                              Thanks

                                               

                                              Mark