I often get the question, “how often does Foundant upgrade their software and how do you communicate what’s new?” If you use any software applications on a smart phone or tablet, you’ll notice there are a lot of upgrades which require downloading new releases often. This can be annoying. On the other hand, many large software products you use release new software every 6 to 24 months and it’s usually such a big change that people have to retrain themselves on how to use it. Foundant made a choice to fit somewhere in the middle.
We started using a release management mentality referred to as Agile back in September of 2012. Agile allows us to do more releases per year with a less negative affect on clients. Since our implementation of Agile, we’ve released an upgrade every month and are on track to continue that pace. With the Agile approach, we upgrade the software with smaller releases so you continuously get a new and innovative system without having to train yourself on all the new enhancements for the next four months. Another benefit for us is the ability to lead the market with innovative tools due to our short turnaround time, thus the ideas do not become obsolete during development.
For every release, we have an internal team whose job it is to evaluate all the information coming in and then allocate development time appropriately. Every week this Team gets together to discuss the upcoming release, trending ideas on our client Idea Lab and issues sent to Customer Support. Once the release features and enhancements are decided on, Development gets to start building each tool based on the specifications given to them. After the software has been developed to a state worth testing, our Quality Assurance team does everything they can to break code. They test each new enhancement and feature along with testing past features and common day to day workflows to ensure all will be ok when we release. We then send the upgrade into our clients’ demo sites and notify all Administrators of the release allowing them to test it in demo for 1 to 2 weeks prior to the live site release.
With releases happening each month, it can be challenging to communicate and train on each item. Check out my next blog post where I talk about how we communicate and train our clients on what’s new in Foundant GLM with each release.