Thursday, March 15, 2007

Day with the Microsoft Money team

Well, today three Money MVPs, including myself had a day with the Microsoft Money product group, which was rewarding, we think, for all parties.

The day consisted of meeting the team, including the testers, developers, product managers and other people who are involved in creating the product. We talked about the product, design, support, development and test. In addition there was some brainstorming for the future and opinion sought from us.

It was really quite refreshing to know that information and ideas we provided today, were discussed and considered for any potential future products. I'd be interested in seeing if anything makes it into Money 2008 or Money 2009 (or later).

Most of the content we discussed was NDA, so I can't share it, but I felt that the team were very open and was a 2 way process.

A couple of questions that people told me in advance were discussed, and some statistics from my website ( were shared. Obviously MSN Money and the Money KB far outstrip anything I can provide, but the little niche that I help with my site, at least got an airing. The information I gave could help the product in future, but even if not, it gives the team some feedback on what some other people see.

Thanks to them, and those who contacted me before I met the team.


theorbo said...

I'm glad it went well ... thanks for posting about it. Can you say anything about their thinking in general? Maybe about the software as it exists today?

Anonymous said...

I have to be cautious in what I write, due to the amount of non-disclosure material discussed.

One thing I didn't say earlier was one item discussed was what I would call the 'anatomy of a bug filing'. We were shown the triage process used to decide on whether a bug gets fixed or not, the steps that need to go through, impact analysis, development cost etc.

Afterwards, I felt I could understand why we report some bugs and they never get fixed. I do have some sympathy with them on these issues, and balancing a bug fix release against something with new features is part of that process. I'd still like some of them fixed though! :-)

One thing that I usually say (it is part of my signature in my newsgroup postings) is to send in wish requests. I think that 'killer application' requests are more likely to get considered now (if not Money 2008, maybe Money 2009) - due to changes in the process (can't comment any more on that). I think that the 'release every year' mentality that they have will stay, but there is some more flexibility with new feature requests.

As for the software today, here I have to be really careful what I post :-) They know the bugs (some have been around years). They also know the support figures. I get the impression that they are much happier with the current release than others (say 2005). Of course, they freely shared some problems, but I think they feel the heat is off compared to previous years.

Russ Paul-Jones posts to the Money newsgroup when there seem to be big problems. I don't think he's posted in over a year - that's quite a useful benchmark on the more serious problems.

Hope this helps

theorbo said...

Yes, that was great. Thanks for sharing. Last questions ... do you get the impression that they actually use their products? It's often debated ... i would understand if they did, but could also understand if they didn't want to have anything to do with what they spend so much time on.

And lastly, do Money team members work on other projects or strictly Microsoft Money?


Anonymous said...

I've been looking for somewhere to provide feedback about Money for the last few years. Previously, they had a direct link on the Money page and several of my suggestions showed up in later versions (I'm sure I wasn't alone in my suggestions). Good to know you're hinting that they are going to bring this back. Especially since Money is kind of a one-trick poney.
Out of desperation, I'll post my biggest suggestion here in hopes that it might make it's way there. :)
I'd like to see 'accepting downloaded transactions' a little more intelligent. For example: highlight the amounts in green when they match exactly. The payee almost never matches, but they can remember that I previously matched "Publix #84" with "Publix" and again highlight it in green. Dates never match since the payee doesn't deposit it immediately usually. But again, they could intelligently highlight it in green if it's within 3 days after my entry. I'm thinking of quick visual ways to confirm if it's matched a transaction correctly. This is where I spend much of my time and the computer needs to be doing the boring legwork of matching names and numbers for me. Money makes quite a few mistakes for me to trust it to auto-match for me.

Glyn said...

David - sorry for not responding earlier, but yes, many of them do use the product.


Glyn said...


it's an interesting suggestion which I'll pass on. I can see an issue with it for color-blind people, but if the matching %age was used to determine the closeness, and then color coding used dependent on that value, I can see some mileage. Of course, it'll go into the pot with everything else though....

I do have a 'wishes' page on my main site FAQ Article 10, but due to the way the Microsoft site works, I can't always work out whether you end up at a real genuine wish submission page or not.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering if there are any other updates on the future of Money. Money Plus left the product essentially unchanged. Most of the features listed are either in the Insights (which I don't find that useful) or are available for free on It feels like Microsoft is putting this product out to pasture. Have you heard anything that would indicate that Money 2009 will finally be a release that gets some attention?



Glyn said...

Hi Glenn

this is something that I can only speculate on.

The removal of the number on the product name (ie, Money Plus and not Money 2008) reminds me of what happened in the UK with the 2005 release. All of the packaging, CD just said 'Microsoft Money' and didn't include the version number (although the actual software does).

I wonder whether the removal of the number means that MS want to untie themselves from an implicit requirement to come out with a version every year. I doubt it for any 2008 release, as a 2 year lifecycle for online capabilities ties their hands somewhat.

As for things in 2009 - well, I don't know what they would include in that. I suspect the Insights stuff could be expanded, assuming they have some good suggestions for other insights.

More and more stuff is going to the web, so perhaps more of the functionality will be moved their so they provide the software online. It'll probably cut their costs to do that, assuming people are more willing to put their financial information online (i get the impression people are happier to do this than a few years ago).

On a more cynical note, they've not updated the home page for a few versions.....


Anonymous said...

Hi Glyn,

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm also a little cynical about what is going to happen with Money. It's too bad too, because I've always considered Money to be a better and more stable product than Quicken. However, the lack of investment in the product has allowed Quicken to catch up and surpass it in many ways. And now Quicken is talking about Quicken Online.

Right now I'm waiting and watching and trying to decide what to do. Another release like the last two and I'll have to leave. It seems like the current plan with Money is creating its own self-fulfilling prophecy of declining sales (I'm assuming that Money hasn't been the hit MS would like, otherwise they would be investing in it).

I wonder what MINT will be like? An online version of Money seems very viable to me. They have many of the pieces in place at moneycentral. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.



Anonymous said...

I own Microsoft Money Plus Home & Business. It was workig fine until this past week. Now I log-in and the program freezes; "not responding" is displayed. Could you possibly explain what change in my system is preventing me from being able to use your program? Frustration is consuming me.

Glyn Simpson said...

Hi Laura

could be a number of things. First I'd suggest trying to open up a new file (select File->New on the toolbar). This will determine whether it's a file or installation issue.

Next, take a copy of the .MNY file (probably in your my documents area) for safe keeping - always worth having a backup.

I'm guessing it'll be a file issue. If you have a recent backup, restore that first and see whether things improve.

If not try running the repair options which are also on the File-> part of the toolbar against your current file.


Anonymous said...

I'm using Microsoft Money Plus Delux. Generally does what I want for day to day activities.

Two problems with managing investments:

1. Am I correct there is no specific support for Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS)? This is irritating because the valuations shown Money are grossly incorrect.

2. Is there no way to create new asset classes? Regular Treasuries and CDs are certainly different asset classes. Some argue that TIPS are a separate asset class from both CDs and regular Treasuries.

I can probably export Portfolio data and do what I want in Excel, but if I have to do all that I may as well go the the cheapest version of Money for transactions and do everything else in Excel.

Am I missing a way to handle TIPS and additional Asset Classes withing Money?

Any info on current or future solutions would be greatly appreciated.