When Cincom Systems announced the newest version of Control back in the spring, we also introduced a new process for handling ongoing releases of that product. For many years, fixes, enhancements and new features were just accumulated and stored. A new release was announced when time permitted, when the product manager felt like it or when certain stars aligned.
Our new plan features a fixed release cycle that delivers new releases in six-month intervals.
Control was announced in June, so the first periodic release will come out in December of this year. This fixed release cycle has many benefits for our users. Let’s take a closer look at what this means to the user.
Plan internal maintenance well in advance
Budgeting and planning are difficult enough without having to second guess your software vendors on what will be needed to keep your assorted systems current over the course of a year. The fixed schedule takes all of the mystery out of this exercise. You know exactly which months you need to plan on accommodating the updates. Also, the fact that there are two releases per year eliminates the surprise massive update project from suddenly appearing out of nowhere.
Frequent releases mean that one troublesome fix or enhancement doesn’t delay the entire set of fixes from being delivered
Some updates require more resources and effort than others on the part of the software developer. Many times releases are held up because one single update is behind in the development cycle. The entire release is held back until the troublesome fix is completed. This means all the other fixes, including some that you might seem critical to your operation, are on hold.
The fixed cycle schedule features independent code freeze dates where incomplete fixes are re-scheduled for subsequent dates. Everything else stays on schedule and ships on time. This helps to assure fixes are properly tested and their effectiveness is documented.
Keeps the application current with platform or environment
One of the biggest challenges to users and publishers of software is the ever-changing environment in which products run and operate. Operating systems, hardware-related systems and other platform changes must be accommodated by the applications they host. Product failures, due to environmental conflicts, increase dramatically when extended periods of time elapse, without testing and subsequent modification within the application.
By shipping frequent product updates and applying those updates as indicated, these failures are much less likely to occur.