Success in all facets of life is varied by its preceding preparation. Oh, you want to mow the lawn on Saturday, but did you think to ensure you have gasoline, the weather is going to be nice, and the mower is properly tuned? You have company coming Sunday and your hosting success is directly tied to your preparation! No one wants to play in knee high, sprouted grass entangled with dandelions…
ANCILE Product Support is weed whacking, trimming the bushes, and polishing the vehicles in preparation for the uPerform 4.50 release. The better the software, the bigger the bugs – it’s inherent with any piece of software out there. Nothing is perfect and neither are we. However, it’s vital to our successful product releases that we put a major internal commitment to over prepare for our customers’ consumption. We’ve certainly evolved over time and homogenized with our partners in Product Development so that we can take a phased approach to being successful via preparation:
Thinking Before Conception
Throughout the year, Product Support processes enhancement requests from customers. Our Product Management team takes those enhancement requests, direct feedback from customers, market analysis, and so forth to develop the market requirements for a release. Product Support closely works with Product Management for priority, but then also with Product Development during the design phase of each new feature.
Acting During Creation
Starting in the uPerform 4.40 release and continued in the 4.50 release, the Product Development team introduced “Bugapalooza” – hardcore crowd sourced testing. Product Support, as well as many other ANCILE business units get a pre-beta version of the new software and prizes are given to find the best bug. You bet that we found 20 bugs and won some prizes. But the best benefit is that we were able to dedicate our team to finding critical bugs before it was too late to fix them contributing to a higher quality release.
Maturing By Release
This is when the majority of our preparation for success comes into play. We start out our preparation with technical data dumps and functional demonstrations of new features from our Product Development team. Then we enter what we call the “4.50 Strategy Sessions” which encompasses a systematic effort to empower, motivate, and energize our Product Support team globally around the upcoming release. We have a 60 member team and each person is highly critical to the strategy sessions. We focus holistically on the following:
- Testing everything from the server install to each new piece of functionality.
- Identifying issues that need a solution created prior to release, as well as issues that need to be targeted for our first 4.50 patch.
- Technical and Functional training on the entire version going through refresher, environmental, and new feature training.
- Reviewing and updating the existing Product Support Center and internal knowledge base content, as well as creating many new pieces of material to ensure our customers and team can execute upon self-help.
- Working with customers to address their needs and help them plan/prepare for upgrades to 4.50.
We hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our preparation for the 4.50 release and urge you to reach out to us and share your needs and questions about the upcoming release. We are excited to ride shotgun on your road trip to 4.50!