Version Update Process (From Release to Live)

Overview

“Version Update” is the term we use to describe updating your CIMcloud platform from an older version (or release) of CIMcloud to the latest “current” version. This article provides an overview of the stages of work involved in the Version Update process from requesting the version update to publishing it.

This article covers the most extensive variation of the Version Update process, which assumes you will be installing a new major release or minor revision on a live CIMcloud platform.  We call this variation a “Live Version Update” to help increase everyone’s awareness to the risks associated with publishing changes to a live, business critical application.

Key Concepts To Understand (Prerequisite Information)

There are a few key concepts that your need to understand before diving into a live version update project.

  • CIMcloud Platform Version Update Basics – this article covers 1) what a version update is, 2) why they are important, 3) product release basics, 4) version update costs, 3) work you are responsible for, etc.
  • CIMcloud (Live and Preview) Environments – this article provides a diagram and basic explanations of the production / live environment (that your typically work in) and other environments that are used to work on and preview changes before they are moved to the live environment.  The “Sandbox” environment is used during Stage 1: Preparation” and “Stage 2: Dry Run” of the live version update process.

Process Overview

This is a visual overview of the 3 stages involved in a typical live version update project. The time it takes to get through each stage largely depends on 1) your engagement level in the process, and 2) how much Client and Compatibility work is needed to prepare for the Live Roll-out.  More details on the steps within each stage are included in the “Process Details” sections below.

Key Things To Expect

There are several key assumptions that you need to know and understand to successfully execute your next live version update project.

  • It’s a Project – This is a project.  It may actually be a really small, fast, and low risk project (if you have minimal customizations on your site and are just incrementing by one minor revision), or it may be more involved because you have significant customizations and/or you are several minor or major versions behind.  Regardless, it’s still a project and should be taken on with a deliberate focus.  Make sure these two key roles / job functions are filled by someone on your team (make sure they “GWC” their job function).
  • Size Up the “Client Work” and “Compatibility Work” – The primary risks and time involved in a live version update are tied up in what we call “Client Work” and “Compatibility Work”.  Your Project Manager should estimate how much time this work will take and who will do it… and get that incorporated into your plan.
  • Don’t Intermingle Extra Work – In many cases, a live version update is triggered by a new project or capability that you want to add or change on your site (i.e. adding & implementing a new add-on bundle, reengineering content or product data, adding a net-new custom modification, etc).  It makes sense to (or in some cases, you may be required to) update to the latest version of CIMcloud before tackling that project.  Go ahead and take on that new project… but don’t intermingle the work with a live version update.  Keep the live version update totally separate and clean.  Get the version update done and live, and then work on the new stuff.
  • Be Safe, But Do It Fast – Try to limit the start-to-finish calendar time on this.  Don’t drag out your tasks.  Pick a start date (in the future is ok if resources are back-logged right now), line up resources to handle any “Client Work” and “Compatibility Work”, and pack in the work as tightly as you can to limit the number of business days your live version update is in a “WIP” (Work in Progress) state.

Process Details

The following is a breakdown the the typical steps and tasks in each stage of the live version update process.

Common Triggers to Start The Process

There are three common triggers that start the version update process outlined below.

  1. CIMcloud notifies you that it’s time to update after a new major release (2 times per year).
  2. You request something (a quality improvement, new feature, new development, etc) and CIMcloud informs you that you need to update to the latest version before proceeding with your request.
  3. You request to update to the latest version (by submitting a support task / request).

Stage 1: Preparation (in Sandbox)

Diagram

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Step Details

  • Step 1: [CIMcloud] Version Update Preview In Sandbox
    • One of the triggers listed above starts the version update process with CIMcloud.
    • CIMcloud completed the version update for preview in a sandbox environment
      • CIMcloud disables any customizations you have and verifies the version update.
      • CIMcloud provides links to the preview in the sandbox environment.
  • Step 2: Size Up Your Client and Compatibility Work
    • Plan The Implementation Client Work (Tasks and Who)
    • Determine and Plan the Customization Compatibility Work (Test, Build List of Issues, Who)
  • Step 3: Complete the Client and Compatibility Work & Build Your Checklist
    • Complete the Client Work on The Sandbox (and Build Checklist)
    • Complete the Customization Compatibility Work on the Sandbox (and Build Checklist)
  • Step 4: Test Everything and Make Changes / Tweaks
  • Step 5: Create Change Communication Plan for Users
    • Any Change Management for Workers
    • Any Change Management for Customers
    • Plan These Parts:
      • 1) Before Go Live (What to Expect)
      • 2) When Go Live is Scheduled (Tell Them It’s Happening)
      • 2) At Go Live (IT
  • Step 6: Execute Change Communication Plan
  • Step 7: Make Decision on Next Step
    • Output: Draft Go Live Checklist (of content / data tasks to do for go live)
    • Decision: Proceed to Dry Run or Live Roll-out

Stage 2: (Optional) Dry Run

Diagram

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Step Details

  • Input: Go Live Checklist
  • Step 1: Version Update In Sandbox
    • Enter Task for CIMcloud Deployment Team
    • [CIMcloud] Version Update in Sandbox Environment
      • Verify Customizations Turned Off
      • Provide Copy With Customizations On
  • Step 2: Schedule Two (2) Hour Time Window for Version Update
    • With CIM Pro Services (if applicable)
    • With anyone else invoice in Go Live Checklist
  • Step 3: Complete Work
    • Follow the Go Live Checklist to Install Client Work
    • Follow the Go Live Checklist to Install / Update Custom Compatibility Work
  • Step 4:  Test, Verify, and Fix / Refine Checklist & User Communication Plan As Needed
  • Step 5: Make Decision on Next Step
    • Output: Verified Go Live Checklist
    • Decision: Repeat Dry Run or Proceed to Live Roll-out

Stage 3: Live Roll-Out

Diagram

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Step Details

  • Step 1: Schedule Two (2) Hour “Maintenance” Time Window for Version Update
    • With CIMcloud Deployment
    • With CIM Pro Services (if applicable)
    • With anyone else invoice in Go Live Checklist
    • Notify Users of Expected “Under Maintenance Window”
    • Notify Users of Changes Coming (if needed to diffuse change pain)
  • Step 2: Enter Task for CIMcloud Deployment Team
    • Provide Valid IP or Access Code??
    • Verify Date / Time Window
  • Step 3: Support CIMcloud Deployment Work (as needed)
    • [CIMcloud] Put Up Maintenance Message
    • [CIMcloud] Version Update in Sandbox Environment
      • Verify Customizations Turned Off
      • Provide Copy With Customizations On
    • [CIMcloud] Turnover to Client (and CIM Pro Services If Applicable)
  • Step 3: Execute Go Live Checklist
  • Step 4: Test & Address Issues
  • Step 5: Go Live
    • Approve Go Live
    • Remove Maintenance Message
  • Step 6: Test Again & Address Issues
  • Step 7: Monitor & Stabilize As Needed

 

 

 

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