We had our first meeting to discuss our first planned software update for 2009 last week. Such is the complexity of balancing supplier and user requirements that we need to set specific targets four months out. Years ago we would code and release. Today, with a large user community and with a host of live online supplier interfaces, planning, designing, coding and testing is considerably more complex. The result, as experience in recent years shows, is more stable sofwtare updates.

So, last week we started to focus attention, from management through to development, on our first update for 2009.

While some members of our development team have been working on the update for some time – there is always overlap – others are doing work on our current update since there will be some small enhancements to this between now and early next year. Such is the challenge of dealing with some suppliers who do not release changes in a manner which suits our development cycle.

Developing a software update involves various departments within the company: development, marketing, sales, support and management. Over the course of the next four months these will meet many times to ensure that the goals for the update are achieved.  These will cross over with meetings reviewing the most recently released update and meetings about other 2009 updates.

A considerable amount of our time is spent working with suppliers and ensuring that our software meets their needs and that our customers are therefore able to meet requirements of their suppliers.

While all of this sounds dry and formal, it is necessary when you are serving a sizeable user community.   Our size affords us opportunities and we respect them by taking a formal and conservative approach to software development.