Written by Dave GrandPre, Project Manager Development
Customer Involvement in the Engineering Process
Novarad’s Development Department works under the Agile methodology, which essentially means working as closely with end users as possible throughout the process of developing new features and enhancements to our products. This methodology helps us “hit the mark” on new features: helping our developers understand just what you need this feature or enhancement to do. We realize as medical professionals, you are extremely busy, and your time is valuable, so the intent is to involve those who feel a new feature or enhancement is important enough to be involved. If you are not already participating, we hope you will have the desire to get more involved in our development and feedback process. With your experience and expertise, we are confident we can hit the mark, making your work life easier, more efficient, more profitable.
There are many ways Novarad receives new feature requests. The top three come from you as customers, our partners, and our clinical experts. Most commonly your requests come through your support rep or sales rep. These requests are written up as Change Requests and evaluated against all the changes people request to determine the most commonly requested changes. Once accepted into the development queue, the research phase of what is “required” begins. In this process, the “why” is usually the most important question. This helps us get to the root of the requested change, and implement a solution that will adequately address it.
From the initial research phase we move to the FDC portion of development. An FDC is a Feature Design Committee where specific requirements are discussed and defined.
Feature Design Committees
Feature design committees are the chosen method to solicit feedback on a new feature. They can be as formal as a group meeting with people from various organizations and expertise, or as informal as an email survey. These meetings are held with one purpose in mind—discuss a feature and determine what pieces need to be part of products, and which pieces will add no value. Some of the more common forms of our FDCs are as follows:
- Physical meeting
- Phone conversation between people at your facility and our engineers
- Webinar demo of the product or feature
- Email discussions
- Functional Mock-ups of features and email responses to those mock-ups
Many of the latest features have essentially been designed by you because of your direct involvement in the process. These will be available in both the latest releases of our software as well as future releases. I have included actual mock-ups, screenshots from demos, and screen shots from surveys sent out to our User Group during the development process for some of these projects. Click here to download an example, Alerts Mock-ups. These are examples of the kinds of items you may receive as an active participant.
The more customers involved in the engineering process, the more quickly we can improve our products, and the better the changes. We encourage you to become a part of the process as time permits. There are several ways to become part of the process:
- Email email@example.com to get added to the User Group email list
- Contact your sales or support rep and tell them you want to participate in the User Group
- Provide input at the User Group Meeting
- We will soon be launching a “User Voice” portal