Slow your Roll

This is a phrase that we’re all familiar in the US. It means to slow down, relax or calm down. It means to think about things before you let your enthusiasm lead you too quickly down a path that can cause more harm than good. As a VAR, MSP, System Integrator or an ISP, we know that in the world of software updates this can simply mean… don’t blindly upgrade all systems at once. No matter how many developers there are or how many tests a company performs, new software releases can have issues that need to be addressed after the release. Perhaps it’s better to roll the software out in a controlled, planned and well thought out fashion.

However, this can be easier said than done. We’ve all been faced with the pressure from customers that want a new feature now or demand a fix for something that, in the long run, is nothing more than an irritant.  

So what do I mean when I say a controlled, planned and well thought out fashion? I mean that you should consider all of the following:

  1. Which customers give the best feedback in regards to changes in behavior or issues?
  2. What customers are “friendlies” (customers with well established relationships)?
  3. Where are there unique combinations of features deployed?
  4. What environments are the simplest of most complex?
  5. How up-to-date is reasonable (we can’t keep old versions forever)?

The answers to these questions will be different for all partners, so each partner should consider these individually. The overall goal for thinking through all of these points is be a rough deployment plan for new releases.

Example:

  1. Deploy to PBX with greatest customer need for features or fixes. Soak 1 week.
  2. Deploy to simplest installed site. Soak 1 additional week.
  3. Deploy to “friendly,” to introduce more feature combination variants. Soak another week.
  4. Deploy to more complex environments.

Remember that this is a simple example of a high level plan that is NOT intended to say how YOU should do things. Each partner controls their own destiny in terms of how they can deploy software releases so this is completely up to you.

The important part is that it’s diligently thought through rather than haphazard. Find a nice balance between aggressively delivering new feature functionality to your customer base vs. exposing all of your customer base to a new issue inadvertently delivered in a new software/firmware release.

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