Dear Dr. Dobb’s Portal and Rally Software

A two-page PDF of what is essentially two glorified PowerPoint slides does not count as a whitepaper. No, not even if you give it a title like “Build Release Plans That Deliver Customer Value.”

Please stop wasting my time with this shit.

Congenially yours,


5 Responses to “Dear Dr. Dobb’s Portal and Rally Software”

  1. Dru Jacobs Says:

    Thank you for the candid feedback. You’re right – probably a misnomer to have it labeled a white paper on Dr. Dobb’s. We’ll look at the program and see if we can either rename it or deliver a meatier paper.

    Dru from Rally

  2. protected static Says:

    Thanks for the reply, Dru. I probably wouldn’t have been so annoyed if I wasn’t in the process of speccing out how we’re going to improve our build process… You got my (real) contact info, and I got… not a whitepaper.

    If y’all do come up with something meatier, I look forward to reading it.

  3. dean Says:

    Real whitepapers are only of interest and useful to technical people who want to know, in detail, whether the software will do what they need it to do. But marketers look with horror on any written material going out without their stamp on it, and so they get hold of the whitepaper and ‘clean it up’. They avoid any mention of things the software can’t do. They simplify all the points, because who wants to read all that boring old stuff?

    And they wind up with two page Powerpoint papers.

    I deal with several vendors whose whitepapers are like that.

  4. protected static Says:

    I expect a certain amount of salesmanship to accompany anything being schtupped on me in email solicitations from publications to which I subscribe. I don’t mind that. What I do mind is when I feel like I got a bait and switch.

    To be fair to Rally, they do have some good content on their site. The Dr Dobb’s announcement coincided with a Dr Dobb’s announcement of a Rally-sponsored webcast by the same name. The whitepaper should have been called a program (as Dru, one of Rally’s marketing VP’s, does below). This strikes me as a more or less honest mistake on Rally’s part.

    I gotta say, though… I miss the old Dr Dobb’s. When they merged with, what was it?, Programmers Journal? their really deep content instantly shrank to zero. There used to be at least one article per issue that would go right over my head, but often even those articles shed some light on the workings of systems or concepts I did understand.

    I understand why they became web-only, but in doing so they definitely lost part of what made them such a great resource…

  5. Dean Says:

    Yes, I used to read Dobbs back in the day. Probably still have an old copy or two lying around… lord, they’d probably be 17, 18 years old now.

    As the world of programming has exploded, publications like Dr Dobbs have lost their relevance. 20 years ago, any programmer worth his salt could pick it up and (as you say) find at least one article in there that would increase his/her understanding of what he/she is doing. But now, with the explosion of ultra-high-level languages (do web programmers even need to know what a bit is?), the world of programming has just become too large.

    It’s the same thing that happened to Byte, which was always my favourite mag. There’s nothing like it now, not even close, because the world has just gotten too big.

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