Frustrations with the app approval process

New Contributor

Hello,

 

I have gone through the app approval process a couple times to publish and update apps on AppSource (MS Teams app store), and I have run into some frustrations that I would like addressed: 

 

1. The submission guidelines that the validation team uses to approve releases does not seem to be published anywhere. I found some of their criteria spread across multiple pages like this one https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/marketplace/checklist, but there is no single page of criteria and the complete checklist does not seem to be published. For example, during my most recent approval process, I was told I had to change the screenshots to include a background graphic and descriptive text. I have yet to find any support document that notes this requirement. This surprise requirement blocked my release for a while, since it involved getting help and approval from marketing. 

 

If these criteria were clearly documented somewhere, it would make the release process much smoother since we could plan ahead and have these additional changes, such as new screenshots, prepared beforehand. In this current system, we cannot rely on critical fixes to be released in a timely manner, as they often get blocked by changes to non-technical requirements.

 

2. As stated in the first point, the releases often get blocked by non-technical requirements, such as screenshots or description wording. These changes can take some time as they often require involving other departments such as legal and marketing, and do not have any effect on the functionality of the app. If these components were decoupled from the release process of the app itself, this would allow critical fixes and new features to be released quicker and not be blocked by these changes.

 

3. The release criteria do not seem to be consistently enforced. There have been times were we published an update without issue, and the next update (soon after the previous one), had many required changed requested. We had not changed these affected components since the last release, and it should have been caught in the previous release. This again surprised us and delayed the release, since we now had to change things that were previously approved.

 

4. There are times where the approval criteria change and we are not aware of the changes. It would be useful to have some mechanism of notifying developers of these changes, so they can plan for them before changes are requested on the release. Possible solutions include an email when things change, or just a banner/dialog before submitting to let developers know there were recent changes to the criteria. 

 

5. Lastly, we have also had significant challenges with assisting the validation team in validating our app functionality. We require the use of a 3rd party service, and the validation team has not been able to store the credentials between approvals, so we fail every one and have to re-invite them. We are not able to preemptively provide credentials as multi factor authentication is required. 

 

Our system also involves some setup on the customer's end with hardware that we can communicate with and pull data. We've gotten many complaints that the validation team was not able to test certain functionality, when it is impossible for them to do so without having the required hardware. 

 

There needs to be a better way to prove that the app is functioning correctly, since the validation team does not have the appropriate equipment to test this themselves.

1 Reply

@benalderfer-expel - Thank you so much for taking time to share your feedback with us. We have consolidated all validation docs and Overview is a good starting point. Please take a look and let us know if you have any concerns. For other concerns raised, we are discussing internally on how to resolve those to improve overall experience. I will share more updates on it.

 

If you're interested in talking to us about your experience, then please feel free to book a slot a.