On-Site Customer Failure

Microsoft Outlook has this feature in the calendar that controls meeting reminders. I think it’s b0rken.

Here’s my typical day: I use webmail from home before I come in to the office, check my calendar to see what meetings I have, and then when I get to work, I spend most of my day in a project room.

Some time ago, I figured out that unless I turn off calendar reminders, I’d swing by my desk and find it has sent me several meeting reminders in the time I was in the project room. The reminders are never timely for me, because I’m always working at a different computer than the one that has my Outlook running. I just waste time dismissing them.

Here’s the dumb part: if someone else sends me a meeting notice, the flag about whether or not I get a reminder is based on the setting in the meeting organizer’s Outlook. If someone else in my office (say, Andrew) schedules me in a meeting, I get a reminder because Andrew’s preferences are set to leave reminders on.

That doesn’t make any sense. If it’s an entry going into my calendar, I think that my preferences should determine whether or not Iget a reminder. But no.

Immediately I think, “what kind of On-site Customer thought that was a good idea?” And then I remember: not all development shops believe in the value of on-site customers. It seems clear to me that this behaviour was determined based on technical implementation considerations, rather than on thinking through the business problem.

And, boy howdy, do I think it’s a dumb choice. Get some on-site customers, please, Microsoft!

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