By: Jay Kruemcke
The IBM Request for Enhancement (RFE tool) is now available for you to submit formal enhancement requests to the PowerVC engineering team. One of the benefits of using the RFE tool is that other clients can vote on submitted requirements, which helps IBM to prioritize the request. A number of other IBM products, such as WebSphere have used the RFE tool with great success.
Getting started with Enhancement Requests
You can use RFE tool by going to the Service Management Connect (SMC) for PowerVC pages and clicking on the â€śEnhancement Requestâ€ť tab.
The SMC for PowerVC pages are part of DeveloperWorks and require that you sign in with an IBM ID to submit or vote on a request. You should make sure that your IBM ID profile includes your current company and your email address to insure we can contact you if we have questions.
When you have the RFE page for PowerVC open, you will see an overview of the recently submitted requests.
IMPORTANT Please Search existing requests to see if someone already submitted a request before submitting a new request.
Submitting duplicate requests will waste everyoneâ€™s time. It is much more useful to vote for a previously submitted request than to submit a new, duplicate request.
To search, click on the â€śSearchâ€ť tab and supply keywords that describe the enhancement.
In this example, I used the keyword â€śblankâ€ť and found an existing request that already asked for the enhancement I was interested in.
Submitting a new Enhancement Request
Let us assume however, that you did not find an existing request for the enhancement and you need to submit a new one. Start by clicking the â€śSubmitâ€ť tab at the top of the RFE tool.
You will see with a form like the one below. I have placed colored arrows to indicate the important fields. Note that a red asterisk indicates all required fields â€ś*â€ť.
- Green arrows indicate important mandatory fields.
- Yellow arrows indicate fields that may be important depending on your request.
- Grey arrows indicate mandatory fields that do not really matter.
The first â€śgreen arrowâ€ť field is the company name. This information comes from your IBM ID profile but can be overridden if you need to.
Then â€śHeadlineâ€ť field tells us (and other clients) what you are requesting. It may be the most important field in the form. The â€śHeadlineâ€ť should be specific and concise and focus on a single enhancement.
The â€śSubmitter ranking of priorityâ€ť is required.
You must select the correct â€śBrandâ€ť, â€śProduct Familyâ€ť, and â€śProductâ€ť to route the request to the PowerVC engineering team.
â€śBrandâ€ť -> â€śServers and System Softwareâ€ť
â€śProduct Familyâ€ť -> â€śPowerVCâ€ť
â€śProductâ€ť -> â€śPowerVCâ€ť
The â€śOperating Systemâ€ť field is required but really does not matter so select whatever you want.
If the request is related to a PMR record, then please include the PMR ID number in this field.
The â€śDescriptionâ€ť is where you explain the enhancement in detail. It is important that you include:
- What the new function should do
- Your management environment (type of servers, operating systems, storage, SAN, etc.)
- Explain the benefit that would result from the enhancement
- Describe step by step how you work around the lack of functionality today
- Try not to describe how to implement the enhancement, but instead what the desired behavior or end result should be.
The â€śUse Caseâ€ť field should be used to describe specifically how you intend to take advantage of the enhancement. If there are multiple use cases for the function be sure to include all that are important to you.
The â€śBusiness Caseâ€ť field should describe why you think this enhancement is important.
How to improve your odds of having your request accepted
PowerVC is a new product and the engineering team already has a big list of functional enhancements planned for the future, but we expect that there will be number of requests for enhancements.
So how do you improve the odds of having your request?
- Only include one enhancement per request. Putting a laundry list of everything you want into a single request makes it hard to understand, hard to evaluate and hard to include in a future release. Note the key word â€śhardâ€ť
- Clearly state what you want. Pay particular attention to the Headline. It is best to state what behavior you want to see in a particular use case. If you are too vague, other clients will not vote for your request and engineering might interpret your request differently than you meant.
- State the end-result desired, not the implementation method.
- Include information on your environment. Server types, SAN switch type, Storage make and model (it, not just â€śEMCâ€ť, but â€śEMC VMAXâ€ť). Understand that other clients and the engineering team do not have knowledge of the context of your request.
- Be realistic about the delivery time period. Even though PowerVC is delivering multiple releases per year, there is a substantial lag between something getting into a plan for a PowerVC release and actually having that release become available.
- Focus on requests that other clients would value. The more generally applicable, the more other clients are likely to vote for your request and the higher priority it will likely be.