Agile methodology, as it relates to software development, is the idea of implementing a short cycle of designing, developing, testing, releasing and getting feedback on features. We have been talking about how our policyIQ development team has been utilizing an Agile methodology over the past year, but for some of you the benefits of that agile methodology haven’t been obvious. If you have not yet been upgraded to version 7, you haven’t experienced any change over the past year.
With the release of version 7, we’ve been able to make enhancements and roll-out new features quickly.
Until version 7 was ready to go out the door, we had to stick with a more traditional “waterfall” development process. We had to have the complete set of functionality for version 7 ready to go before we could release it, as we already had clients relying on each of the features that existed in version 6. However, as soon as version 7 was released, we were able to truly put our Agile process in place.
Since the initial release in April, we have gone from version 7.0.0 to 7.1.6. Version 7 is considered a “major” release, where the functionality of the product has been significantly enhanced, updated or changed. 7.1 was a “minor” release, where we added enhancements, but did not impact the entire product. 7.1.6 would have been considered a “patch” release, where we rolled out some updates, enhancements or bug fixes – but most users would not notice any change in functionality.
Coming to terms with imperfection – and acting quickly to perfect
Utilizing Agile methodology requires a certain tolerance for imperfection. Testing is still critical. We need to know that the features we roll out will work. But we’re not always right about how they will work.
A good example is our recent update of Password Reset feature. Clients had asked for the capability for a user to request a new password if all that they had was their email address. Our team worked quickly to fill this request, building new screens that allowed a user to request their password with only an email address. Because the user might not be using the right email address – or that email address might be associated with more than one user account – we had to add some additional functionality to contact an administrator if the password couldn’t be reset. We added a “Contact your administrator” link.
It was quickly apparent after roll-out that our screen design was flawed. The link to “Contact your administrator” was far more prominent than the button “Reset Password”. Admins were flooded with emails about password resets – and users were confused as to why they didn’t get a new password.
If you didn’t notice the problem, you’re in luck – because it has already been corrected. We’ve updated the screen design and the option to contact an administrator is only available if policyIQ cannot perform an automated reset.
Version 7.2 is coming soon!
We’re about roll-out version 7.2, where the updates are primarily impacting clients utilizing policyIQ for their Conflict Minerals compliance. However, we’re also adding performance enhancements and a new feature allowing all clients to set up automated reminders (custom HTML formatted emails) on a recurring schedule for their open forms.
We’re getting into the groove and enjoy working in this Agile environment! We hope that you notice how quickly we respond to your inquiries and feedback. Let us know how we’re doing. We sincerely appreciate and enjoy hearing from you.