Planning "Hannover"

September 12 2005

(Note: I originally titled this entry differently, but someone pointed out that my original title's use of "triage" can have negative connotations.  So I changed a blog entry title, which I only do rarely.)

Just days after the ND7 launch, I attended the first cross-functional review of progress on Lotus Notes "Hannover" earlier today.  Of course, I can't say much about the project here at this point, much as I'd like to.  But there were some interesting things I can say about this meeting.

It's cool to see how serious the "Hannover" project team is taking the commitment for stepwise improvement to the Notes client.  Remember, after Notes 6.0, IBM's commitment was to shift design centers -- 6.0 was a huge release, taking more than 42 months from the previous release (R5).  It had a lot of features, but it was built over essentially four years' worth of work.  After 6.0, IBM indicated that there would be more frequent, but incremental, releases of Notes/Domino, with alternating client/server focus.  6.5, thus, was primarily a client release, with integrated instant messaging, mail template improvements, and the Workplace welcome page.  7.0, just shipping, was primarily a server release, with scale and resource improvements, Domino Domain Monitor, and more.  There are worthwhile client improvements in 7.0, but the key was to hold the line on training/retraining costs by maintaining a consistent UI across 6.x and 7.  

So next up, "Hannover" is primarily a client release.  And development, product management, and marketing are all taking the announced mission of "Hannover" very seriously.  I learned today what some of their inputs are for the types of features going into Notes "Hannover".  They've scoured almost anyplace that anyone has provided feature ideas or requests for Notes -- everything from the formal feature management system and SPRs, Lotusphere labs and surveys, developerWorks forum postings, even the thread on this blog about adding features to Notes! (Please don't go add any more ideas to that one, they're not reading anymore!).

The reason I am blogging all this is to emphasize how the "Hannover" release is, without question, the next release of Lotus Notes.   While the UI will be given significant attention, the features and client capabilities will be, too.  Still, the team is respecting not just what's in the product today, but what they've heard is missing, and is using that input as one important source of ideas to move forward.

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