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3.0.1 to 3.4.2 a Year of WebWiz@rd 3.X - Part 2 of 5

 

 

We're celebrating our first official year of WebWiz@rd 3 here at REM and I thought it would be a great time to share some of my experience and thoughts related to it.

 

Now for part 2, the Beta stage.

 

Beta

  • The beta stage was a lot less scary than I had thought it might be.
     
  • We grabbed a bunch of unrelated customers that had a few things in common:

    1. They wanted bleeding edge tools.
    2. They weren't afraid of bugs.
    3. They didn't mind the unfamiliar and sometime un-trainable aspects of the new system.
    4. They had the time to provide quality feedback.
     
  • We then migrated their code using 80% automation, 20% manual configurations.
     
  • We tracked everything related to our migrations.  What broke? What worked? What did we miss? How long did each step take? Which person at REM could best tackle an aspect of the cut-over?  What rollback options to do we have?
     
  • After 10 or so beta sites were finished, we found that we had compiled a fantastic list of procedures that everyone understood and could carry out without too much trouble.
     
  • I was particularly proud of our support team (Jillian & Laura) for their expert ability to create the training notes for our customers.  They were/are designed to bring a 2.0 customer up to speed in less than an hour.  
     
  • Some of our betas came out with minor bumps and scrapes but nothing catastrophic happened,and most importantly our betas had a largely positive impression of the new tools and loved providing feedback to help shape the future of the software.
     
  • This stage of development was very satisfying for me, because the entire company focused on one objective and it was one of the largest sprints our company made to accomplish a single common goal.  (Obviously we all have one common goal in general, but this type of project was a distillation of that feeling)
     
  • We still needed more icons by the way.
     

Stay tuned for the exciting launch customers memoirs in my next post.

 

Photo Courtesy: Petr Kratochvil

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