Our aim in 2020 has been to advance the Spigit platform at a greater rate than ever before. This resulted in a shift from a quarterly release into a fortnightly release cycle back in May. Having settled into that cadence, we have been working hard to enhance our ability to deliver even more rapidly. We are now at the point where we can announce a transition to a weekly release cadence.
Beginning on the 22nd of September 2020, we will shift to a weekly release cycle. This will mean that there will be three releases in the month of September for Spigit.
The cycle will follow an established cadence each week that runs from Friday to Tuesday. We will be maintaining the same approach as we have had in our fortnightly releases. Each week, you will see the following regular milestones:
Friday – Release Notes Published & Internal Sites Upgraded – CSC updated
Monday – Staging Sites Upgraded – Defined maintenance window
Tuesday – All Production Sites Upgraded – Region specific maintenance window
Each of the milestones above is intended to provide a clear and predictable progress check point for each weekly release. This process will recommence in a continual cycle running from Friday to Tuesday.
As part of this more frequent release cycle, we are retiring the Point Release sequence that has been part of Spigit for many years. The last Point Release will be version 4.5.3. As we move into weekly releases, the version numbers will no longer be referenced.
In conjunction with the increased release cycle, we will be controlling the release notes process in a different way. They will continue to be hosted in the Customer Success Center but will now be organized by month.
As we hit the Friday of each release, the notes for the following Tuesday’s release will be added to the month. You can then keep track of them as a monthly group of releases rather than multiple version numbers.
There will be no references to version numbers in the notes in order to simplify the overall experience. As each release is delivered, the notes will be added to in the corresponding sub section (New Features, Bug Fixes, Security Updates, etc.).
In this section we’ve tried to respond to some of the questions that come up around releases.
Q. Why is Planview Spigit moving to this model?
A. This is fast becoming a SaaS industry standard and a client expectation. The days of large releases once or twice a year have passed, and we are moving to a model that improves your experience. The best way to do this is to continually deliver value through smaller, quicker releases.
As time progresses, we may move to a model which is even more efficient, delivering releases daily or when code is complete. These are stated aims for the product team as a whole and will help to modernize our client experience, bringing it in line with our sibling products at Planview.
Q. Can a we opt out of the weekly release schedule before it commences?
A. No. All client instances are opted in automatically and will remain in the schedule.
Q. I have a security (or architecture) approval process. What happens with weekly releases?
A. In these scenarios, you will be notified ahead of time of any sub processor (or architecture) changes that will require their review board approvals. Our intent is to plan ahead for these changes so that you can remain on the weekly release schedule.
Q. What do I do if I cannot take a release owing to a company policy such as a moratorium on upgrades?
A. Please register a case through customer care to track this ahead of time. We must be informed by the close of business on the Friday before the next upgrade in order to remove your site from the process.
Q. We are running a high-profile challenge. Can we not take the weekly upgrades during the challenge?
A. Weekly upgrades are intended to be small, agile deliveries of code. The entire intent of this purpose is to reduce the risk of large, multiple changes that were a feature of our old upgrade strategy. To this end, it is in your best interest to maintain the weekly cadence. The maintenance window itself runs to around 30 minutes currently and this is the only downtime you will see.
It is important to remember that if you run into an issue in the challenge, the only way to deliver a code fix is through a weekly upgrade. We do not back-patch or support older versions with specific updates. Furthermore, changes that are being shipped in the weekly cycle are either minor or defaulted into an Off mode wherever possible. This is intended to mitigate the risk of user interface changes to end users.
Q. How are you ensuring that weekly releases improve our overall experience?
A. We have implemented a swathe of automated testing to core features in the application over the last two quarters. This has driven up quality and assurance around our releases to a level where we see indicators of quality increasing release upon release. In scenarios where issues arise, we will review the issue and move to a “fix forward” model in the next available release window.
Q. What if a release introduces a really serious bug? Can we roll back the upgrade?
A. Our entire process is designed to stop this from happening and in 2020, we have not had to encounter this scenario. Generally speaking, roll backs introduce more risk than proceeding forward and to that end, we will not be supporting roll backs from this point onward. The new process will allow us to dedicate resources immediately to issues that arise, if they have not been caught in the QA cycle. We will then benefit from the ability to introduce fixes almost immediately and even within the weekly cycles themselves, should a scenario arise. Think of these scenarios as “patches” to releases but in effect they are micro upgrades.
Q. How will I find out about the release details?
A. We will be delivering release information on an established Friday cadence. This means that each Friday, you will have the details of the following Tuesday’s release in the Customer Success Centre Release Notes section.
Q. What do I do if I have a question about a release?
A. Please register a case with Customer Care. This helps us to track questions, queries and issues and prioritize them accordingly.