In the past 12-15 months, we have changed our process to review enhancement requests. Internally many years ago, we got rid of the traditional language of “enhancement request” and “bug.” This broke down a lot of barriers and unnecessary discussion around “is it an enhancement, or it it a bug?”
Our lives were made so much easier when we simply refer to this as a “Change Request” – any request, either internal from our support staff or external from a customer, that requires a change to our software.
I receive a lot of questions about our process, particularly from new customers, and I am always happy to discuss it because our process has come a long way since I started working at Suntell nearly 10 years ago. Requests taken by customer service representatives are moved over to me, simply by changing one parameter in our ticketing system. Internally, we divide these requests into three groups: Current Focus, Future Focus, or Long Term. Current Focus refers to something that is on our immediate development plans. Rarely do tickets go directly into Current Focus, as by the time they are “moved” here, it is something that we have been planning on for awhile. Future Focus means that it is on our project plans, even if not immediately. Long Term means that we have no specific plans to include the request in a release, but we still consider it a valid request.
When I review incoming requests, I look at a few things: 1) Does this meet our overall company goals of providing a loan management solution? 2) Does this provide benefit to more than just this one customer requesting it? Sometimes requests are very specific to one organization or end-user, in which case we can look at other ways to accomplish the need, or a custom query when it is a report. Sometimes I will also go back to the support rep that took the request to better identify the business need or obtain additional clarification on the request.
The requests are reviewed constantly; they do not tend to “sit” too long without being prioritized or responded to. Due to our ongoing Credit Analysis Project discussed in our last newsletter, sometimes requests are immediately moved over to an analyst because it fits into the scope of what we are currently working on.
We strive constantly to make changes that will be well-received and beneficial to our customers, and feedback is a critical element of being successful in our development efforts.