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Release Engineering at Openbravo

Posts Tagged ‘Support

Openbravo releases: life cycle and support plan

Let’s play a game: find a word that describes in the best possible manner how your ideal ERP should be. Think about it for a minute. Many of you have probably answered Stable. I mean, once you implement it in a customer you want it to behave as you designed it to be. No more, no less. No inconveniences, no surprises.  That’s stability, right? Admittedly this sounds pretty good.

Some of you, on the other hand, might have answered Featureful, Useful, Pleasant or even Gorgeous. But hey, hold on a minute… if you want something to be Stable it can’t possibly be Beautiful, Pleasant and Featureful at the same  time. You know, business software is boring by design. That’s how it’s been up to now and don’t expect it to change in the future. Learn to live with that.

Really? Is this true? How can we find a balance between offering a user a stable but featureful, pleasant and beautiful product? Imagine an ERP that you enjoy using. Is that even possible? We believe it is, and this is why we have redesigned our releases life cycle and support plan. We started applying it in June 2010, now let me explain you how it works.

Principles:

  • We care about the ERP’s stability: a major release should be there for a long time.
  • We care about eliminating headaches to the system integrator: upgrades should be easy. And don’t force me to upgrade to the next major version, let me skip one if I want to.
  • I want a featureful ERP: one that helps me get the job done in a pleasant manner. Allow me to get the latest features in an easy manner.

Based on these principles, we have defined three phases for every major release:

  1. Preventive Support:
    • Customers receive support according to SLA.
    • Customers are entitled to report defects and expect resolution.
    • Openbravo ships regular maintenance packs.

    This phase starts on the release day and ends 6 months after the second to next release, with a minimum duration of 2.5 years.

    Example: 2.40 was released on November 2008. And 3.0 will be released on March 2011. Therefore the Preventive Support phase for 2.40 lasts till September 2011 (March 2010 + 6 months).

  2. Reactive Support – phase 1:
    • Customers receive support according to SLA.
    • Customers are entitled to report defects and expect resolution (major severity only).

    This phase lasts for 1 year.

    Example: 2.40 finishes the Preventive Support phase in September 2011. And the Reactive support – phase 1 lasts till October 2012.

  3. Reactive Support – phase 2:
    • Customers receive support according to reduced SLA (no critical tickets accepted).

    This phase lasts for 2 years.

    Example: 2.40 finishes the Reactive Support – phase 1 in September 2012. And the Reactive support – phase 2 lasts till September 2014.

Let’s illustrate this so that we can get the idea visually:

Note that Openbravo 3.1 and 3.2 are fictional releases, they are not planned nor developed yet. They are listed here to illustrate the support plans for 2.50 and 3.0 if the future 3.1 and 3.2 were to be released in 03/2012 and 03/2013 respectively.

As you can see in the graph the minimum support length of a release is of 5.5 years. Feel free to check the complete document in our wiki for more details.

We’ve seen there are different user profiles: those more conservative who look for a “Stable” product above all. And those somewhat more aggressive who look for new features and additional stimulus. Which profile fits better to you? The good news is we have a plan for both.

Written by jpabloae

29/11/2010 at 16:01

Posted in openbravo

Tagged with , ,

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