OK, I published this very briefly a few weeks ago, then learned that I was jumping the gun a bit.  But I checked with the right manager in the food chain, who says it's ok now...and timely, especially given my prior posting.

I would like you to join me in congratulating Dr. Mary Beth Raven on her promotion to IBM Senior Technical Staff Member. (clap clap clap clap)

Promotions are always a good thing, but they aren't often visible outside the organization (nor do they necessarily need to be).  This one, in my opinion, needs some attention.  Why?  Because Mary Beth's leadership has fundamentally changed the way IBM has planned and built Lotus Notes 8, for now and for the future.  When Mary Beth's weblog went live a year ago, she innovated yet another aspect of the product design process.  In addition to championing the end-user perspective for Notes 8 through personae, now she was having the dialogue directly with the market as to what should, or should not, go into the product.  Many of the design decisions for Notes 8 have been directly or indirectly a result of this presence in the community, along with a substantial increase in usability presentations, testing, and feedback.

Of course, I want to acknowledge that Mary Beth is just one member of an incredible team that has been working on Notes 8 for over two years,   including UI Designers, User Research, Usability, Visual Design (that's how we get the awesome look), and of course, development and quality engineering. Throw in feedback from our design partners, managed beta, public beta, and internal deployments and you have the makings for a world-class product.

In the end, I know that Notes 8 is going to be world-class in usability, and thanks are due in large part to Mary Beth's leadership.  Congratulations!

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