3 Tips for Delivering Frequent Regular Releases with Your Veeva CRM Application
Delivering a great application is one thing, but maintaining greatness through release after release is another. After leading a large-scale CRM release management process, I have learned that every successful project shares a few common attributes. When approaching the release management phase of the project, give some thought to the following:
A process that delivers a quality release on a regular basis instills confidence in all users. With cloud-based applications like Veeva CRM, users expect frequent application updates. Keeping a fast pace can be a bit of a balancing act between speed and quality. With every release there is a certain amount of overhead, including documentation, approvals, and testing—so when choosing a regular release interval, be sure to factor this in when defining your process. Choosing an interval spaced too far apart means users become frustrated with the length of time needed for an issue fix or enhancement.
Is there a difference between application enhancements, application issues, and product enhancement requests? Yes, there is—and the release process must accommodate for all.
To most end users, the difference between these is blurred. But for the release team, distinguishing among them is crucial, because each needs to be handled separately. Ideally, these are entered into a single system where all stakeholders have visibility. Upon entry into the system, these needs would be triaged into their appropriate category:
Application enhancements are requested to include new functionality in the application through configuration and/or custom coding. Often, the group making these requests is not aware of the impact the change could have upon other teams A simple process must be in place to manage these so that impacts can be discussed with all affected users. In addition, the cost/benefit of the request should be evaluated and ranked according to priority. This will ultimately assist in deciding whether to proceed with the request.
Application issues are behaviors in the customer specific application that deviate from the requirement description. If no requirement exists, then how do you know it’s an issue? When a requirement does not exist it is considered an application enhancement for new capabilities.
Product enhancements are requested changes that are accomplished through a change to the Veeva product itself. Like application enhancements, product enhancement requests should be discussed with all user groups that would be affected by the change. Once consensus is achieved within the business, enhancements should be ranked according to priority and presented to the Veeva product team for possible inclusion in a future Veeva release. The business should review and reprioritize these requests regularly, at least once every 4 months, to keep pace with Veeva’s release schedule.
Again, everyone on the release team should have an understanding of product and application releases. The product release refers to the Veeva product itself, while application releases involve customer-specific configuration changes. A new Veeva CRM product version is typically released once every four months. Consider having your internal application releases align with Veeva’s product releases. Why, you ask? Simple: it reduces confusion to users.
The need for speed in release management should never be at the cost of a quality deliverable. Speed is nothing without quality. Balancing these two provides a great experience and a user base that is confident and happy with the application.