Building Software for Tomorrow by Listening Today

welistenWhat our clients actually see in a new release of our VitalSite content management system are just the tips of the iceberg of what we do every day to make sure VitalSite continues to serve our clients’ needs. Our developers do a lot of work that is never seen by the users of our software — from understanding client challenges, to improving the architectural design, to researching the best ways to present the user interface, to rigorously testing the software. These types of enhancements — those that aren’t quite noticeable but lay the groundwork for future advances in our product — are what makes up most of our newest release: VitalSite 13.

VitalSite version 13 will be our fourth release in the last two months. With each of these releases we have made incremental progress on making VitalSite easier to use, providing more hooks into the data, and improving how clients can customize their sites. And we plan to continue frequent releases that make VitalSite even better and friendlier.

In addition to our software improvements, and more importantly, we have been more actively engaging with our clients on new features. We have formed Client Advisory Groups (CAG) around several of our initiatives. Our clients who serve as CAG members act as experts in the domain. They tell us how they want to use the feature, what problems they want to solve with the software, and how they want us to directly test early prototypes. This means we are able to roll out software that meets client needs and the members of our CAG get early access to the software we develop.

In addition, we have been engaging internal Geonetric experts on what we are developing. Our Geonetric Advisory Groups understand a broad range of projects we have done for clients, special features they would like to include in the future, and changing trends in the industry. This ensures we aren’t just building for today’s problems but tomorrow’s potential opportunities.

With all of these different constituents providing input into our process, we are able to build a common language around what we are developing. This allows our domain experts, both internal and external, to directly influence not just what we create, but how we code and how we talk about the product. The end result is a better product that better meets our clients’ needs. You can see an example of some of the outcomes of this work with the new Geonetric.com website.

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This entry was posted in Admin Feed, Content Management (CMS), VitalSite by Jennie Ocken. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jennie Ocken

Jennie gets product development. With more than 10 years of experience in marketing, engineering and client services at a company that worked exclusively with Fortune 1000 OEM companies, she knows how to identify and prioritize customer needs. And she speaks just enough geek to be accepted by software developers. Skilled at both cross-team communication and agile project management, Jennie leads Geonetric’s engineering team, helping them prioritize, test, document and deliver new features and functionality. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree with a double major in creative writing and theatre from Knox College. When she’s not team building or wireframing, this world traveler can be found planning her next adventure, perfecting her Joong Bong Sul moves, or working on her latest science fiction novel.

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