Top of Mind Networks Geeked Out Development update 5/17
Realistically, we’re another couple of weeks away from releasing suREFIre 2.0 enhancements.
Last week we took a very long, very hard, and very painful look at what we were doing from a technology perspective and ultimately decided that our technology approach was no longer serving our business objectives, even should we be able to meet our 5/14 deadline. Because of that, we decided to scrap our “re-engineer a new platform” approach in favor of simply building on the already working platform we have. Said another way, the technology objectives we were driving towards since last year were no longer serving our business objectives and were actually starting to get in the way of progress. On one hand, it was a very difficult decision; on the other hand, it was an easy one; nevertheless, at the end of the day, the technology objectives had to go.
If I thought it wouldn’t bore you to death, I could write tirelessly for hours upon hours about all the lessons we learned and pitfalls we encountered in attempting to re-engineer our technology solution, but that wouldn’t be a blog, that would be a book; and a large one at that… J
Our Action Plan:
Ok, so all sentiments aside, what are we doing now and where are we going from here? How do we re-wire our heads to make sure we don’t lose any more time? How do we keep from setting long target dates for complex coding terrain and then make sure we can hit the dates we’ve set?
This is our moving forward plan.
- Build on the platform we have. Simple enough.
- Re-alignment of development resources. With a bit of resource and task sharing and reconfiguration, we now have the right people spending time in the right places so that we can accomplish what we need to do.
- Smaller feature releases. We’ve broken down our entire desired feature set into much smaller, much more incremental components. So instead of us targeting large feature releases like before, what you’re going to start seeing from us is very small, incremental feature enhancements/releases, built directly into the current interface that you already know and love.
- More realistic target dates. Because we’re no longer trying to re-engineer the platform, everything we are doing is essentially going to be a feature enhancement or a feature fix. It should be much easier for us to plan towards realistic dates without a big X factor somewhere that could pop up and delay things. We’re going to set out initially with one date in June and fine tune the target dates more as we reconfigure ourselves.
- Continued communication. Ideally, we want to be in a place where we are communicating on a more regular basis, both on roadbumps and delays, as well as feature releases, updates, and improvements. This blog is part of that strategy, but we will be brainstorming on ways to keep our clients more informed moving forward.
So when is our next target date and what will be in it?
Keeping with the new idea of realistic target dates and incremental releases; our next release date is 6/1 and it will contain enhancements to the “contacts” area. Currently, the site is geared and wired almost exclusively towards borrowers. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be de-coupling many of the hard coded assumptions about contacts in the database.
Here is the short list:
Release 1 Enhancements planned:
- Ability to add/edit/delete notes for a contact
- Simplified data entry process for contacts without loans
- Ability to store custom data for a contact
- Ability to assign a referral source link for a contact
- Ability to create a simple email template
- Ability to send an email “blast” to your list of contacts using an email template
Target Date: 6/1/2010
Release 2 Enhancements planned:
- Ability to create a static group of contacts
- Ability to create a dynamic group of contacts
- De-couple industry partners from organization (put them at client level)
Target Date: TBD
Release 3 Enhancements planned:
- Smarter opportunities list with expirations and context sensitivity
- Personal Calendar with Outlook Synchronization of Contacts, Calendar, and Tasks
Target Date: TBD
Release 4 Enhancements planned:
- Ability to schedule and modify Email campaigns
- Ability to schedule emails, postal correspondences, and phone calls for contacts
Target Date: TBD
That’s our short list of releases for now. We will be able to fine tune the target dates for each planned release soon and provide a bit more guidance as we take the lessons from last year and apply them to this year.
We appreciate your patience with us. Everyone here at Top of Mind Networks is greatly motivated to continue to bring as much value to our clients as we possibly can. Ironically, we’re so enthusiastic about providing great value to our clients, we sometimes get in our own way. That’s a really odd place to find yourself in when it happens; but nevertheless, we’re all taking the steps we feel are necessary to make sure we keep our eye on the ball and continue to provide great value and exceptional service.
PS, next update in a couple of days.