This now lives here: How to ask for IBM product help: PMRs, RFEs, and more
PMR = Problem Management Record
Read about and file a PMR here: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21507639
Direct link to the PMR / Service Request tool: http://www.ibm.com/support/entry/portal/Open_service_request/
RFE = Request For Enhancement
Submit RFEs through here: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rfe
This is the general approach I would recommend:
- Create a forum post here as you start your investigation and gather data so that others are aware of the issue. Post links to any relevant documentation you are using to investigate / try to work around the issue. This will also give others an oportunity to add to the discussion and suggest fixes, particularly if they have had the same issue. This will also make it easier for you to keep track of the issue as it develops and what you tried as you try it. What doesn’t work to solve the problem is still valuable information to have.
- If things aren’t working, and there are no working suggestions, then file a PMR.
- File an RFE for every item you come across that could use an improvement regardless of filing a PMR or not and regardless if you figured out the problem on your own. If there is something that can be improved in the product to either prevent the issue in the first place, mitigate it easier, or aid in detecting the issue, then file an RFE. You should file more RFEs than PMRs and almost every PMR should result in at least one RFE.
An RFE goes to Product Managers, developers, and is public to anyone who is interested.
A PMR goes to support and sometimes gets passed on to developers if needed.
And the longer explanation:
Basically everything is an RFE, but an RFE has no actual time line for being fulfilled, it is a bit like a suggestion box. Expect them to be addressed in the 3 month to 3 year time frame, if at all.
PMR is how you get direct support from IBM. This should be the place to go if things are broken.
I file RFEs for many items that are not truly broken, but would be nice improvements for the future.
Almost every PMR I file ends up with multiple RFEs associated with it. The resolution to a PMR is often a work around, but not a true improvement or long term fix that would mitigate / prevent the issue entirely.
If you do file an RFE, I would recommend creating a forum post here about it / them so that others are made aware of it and can vote on it. Posting relevant info around the RFEs, documentation you used that is posted in various places around the web, etc… is all very helpful. If you followed step 1 and created a forum post around the issue in the first place, then it would all go in that post.
I have filed PMRs and have been told that the product works as designed, told to open an RFE, and the PMR is closed. Sometimes there is a fine line between a product being broken and it acting as intended and requiring enhancement, and it often depends on which side of the fence you are on. ( This is not really an IBM thing, this is just the way support often works, even in my own organization… we just don’t call it PMRs and RFEs )