While at GPUG Summit in Nashville, TN, USA in October, I came to an interesting realisation. I did mention this during one of the sessions I presented, but I wanted to write an article to reach a wider audience.
It suddenly dawned on me “Why I continue to develop GP Power Tools”.
When I worked at Microsoft as an Escalation Engineer on the Microsoft Dynamics GP support team for the Asia Pacific region, I had a support case which had been open for over 12 months without resolution. We could see a problem in the data and knew something was going wrong, but no one was able to reproduce the issue. The customer, partner, Asia Pacific Support, US Support and Development teams had all looked into the issue and could not find the cause.
I had an idea based on some Knowledge Base articles I read about how to programmatically control Dexterity Script logging, Dexterity Script profiling and DEXSQL logging. Using a Dexterity table trigger, I wrote code that started logging and waited for a record in the table to be saved. When it was saved, my code stopped the logging and looked in other tables to see whether the data in question was correct or incorrect. If the data was correct, the logs were deleted and logging was restarted. If the data was incorrect, the logs were saved and a warning dialog displayed.
This code was the first build of the MBS Support Debugging Tool. Four days after deployment, it identified the script causing the issue and solved a year old support case.
I continued to work on this tool and enhance its capabilities and encouraged all the internal MBS Support teams to use the tool to help solve their cases. Even though the tool was created in August 2006, it was not until September 2008 that it was finally released publicly as the Support Debugging Tool (Build 9). The tool was widely adopted by the Microsoft Dynamics GP community even if the internal support teams rarely used it.
While I worked at Microsoft, I continued to develop the tool (mostly in my own time) to add new features and improve existing ones. The final release was Build 19 in September 2014.
So, why did I invest all that time (we are talking thousands of hours development) into the Support Debugging Tool even though it was mostly in my own personal time and was NOT part of my role at Microsoft. In fact, I had to fight against my managers and others in Microsoft who wanted the tool killed off. There was no financial gain for me in writing the tool, so money has never been a driving factor.
Well, the primary answer to that question is … Because I wanted to make the lives of the people working with Microsoft Dynamics GP simpler and easier. I wanted to help the Microsoft Dynamics GP community.
There was also a secondary reason: as a developer in a support role, I needed a pet project to keep me sane and loved the challenge of making “impossible” things happen.
So, after leaving Microsoft, I was able to get the rights to continue developing the software. It was rebadged and is now sold as Winthrop Development Consultants GP Power Tools.
The reason for continuing the develop the tool has not changed. The difference now is that I am no longer earning a salary from Microsoft and so need to sell the tool to earn a living.
For some reason the family likes to have a roof overhead and food to eat. 🙂
Hope you find this insight interesting.
PS: If you have any ideas for something that will make your lives easier, please pass the suggestion to me.
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.