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#1 2014-04-24 20:30:58

vhubbard
Beta User
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: 2004-11-11
Posts: 220
Website

Successful enhancement request reporting.

We tend to average much higher than normal enhancement request implementation in many brands of software.  Many have asked how we do it.   Here are a few keys.  General recommendations, not specific to any one software company.

1 You have to write the report for 2 groups.  First is the decision maker, they need a business case.  Second the group that has to implement.  They need details.  Most only write to the second group who will never see it when it doesn't get past the business group.

2 The business case.   Best when it is the first paragraph.  Describe what the current problem is and the advantage to yourself and others is.   Show cost savings in time, dollars whatever.   The decision maker decides that what you are asking for will be funded.  Don't get into deep technical details in the business case.  The decision maker may not know the difference between a drill and a golf club.   Use stories to lock it in their minds.

3 For the implementation group be clear in defining what you want.   This may take mockup pictures and examples of use.   Define resulting function, not how to do it.  Tie in how existing function may be used or expanded if applicable.

4 Only turn in requests you are going to track and follow up on.   Be warned it takes 4-8 hours to define, document and properly submit an enhancement or bug.   

5 Pile on, get as many other users to sign on to your request as possible.

6 No recrimination, slander or name calling.  Be upbeat and appreciative.   

7 The only exception is when you find an embarrassingly obvious gap in function, then asking the embarrassing question may be better motivation than anything else. (Use embarrassment sparingly)

8 Be a bull dog, don't forget.  Ask regularly for updates on the status of your requests. (every 6-12 months) Whenever you talk to your salesman always make sure you discuss your top 2 or 3 enhancement requests and what the status is.

9 Understand the difference between tactical and strategic upgrades.   Tactical changes are 99.9% of the requests a company sees.   A truly new and strategic function is often not recognized, even if it is relatively easy to implement.   Strategic enhancements will take a lot of work defining the vision and educating others in what and why.   Strategic enhancements may require you to push the request to the top leaders in the company.   Be warned most customer support groups are there to prevent this from happening so don't forget #6.   You need their help.

Last edited by vhubbard (2014-04-24 20:32:22)

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#2 2014-04-25 01:44:39

Verifun
Senior Member
From: U.S.
Registered: 2005-03-31
Posts: 351
Website

Re: Successful enhancement request reporting.

vhubbard wrote:

We tend to average much higher than normal enhancement request implementation in many brands of software.  Many have asked how we do it.   Here are a few keys.  General recommendations, not specific to any one software company.

1 You have to write the report for 2 groups.  First is the decision maker, they need a business case.  Second the group that has to implement.  They need details.  Most only write to the second group who will never see it when it doesn't get past the business group.

2 The business case.   Best when it is the first paragraph.  Describe what the current problem is and the advantage to yourself and others is.   Show cost savings in time, dollars whatever.   The decision maker decides that what you are asking for will be funded.  Don't get into deep technical details in the business case.  The decision maker may not know the difference between a drill and a golf club.   Use stories to lock it in their minds.

3 For the implementation group be clear in defining what you want.   This may take mockup pictures and examples of use.   Define resulting function, not how to do it.  Tie in how existing function may be used or expanded if applicable.

4 Only turn in requests you are going to track and follow up on.   Be warned it takes 4-8 hours to define, document and properly submit an enhancement or bug.   

5 Pile on, get as many other users to sign on to your request as possible.

6 No recrimination, slander or name calling.  Be upbeat and appreciative.   

7 The only exception is when you find an embarrassingly obvious gap in function, then asking the embarrassing question may be better motivation than anything else. (Use embarrassment sparingly)

8 Be a bull dog, don't forget.  Ask regularly for updates on the status of your requests. (every 6-12 months) Whenever you talk to your salesman always make sure you discuss your top 2 or 3 enhancement requests and what the status is.

9 Understand the difference between tactical and strategic upgrades.   Tactical changes are 99.9% of the requests a company sees.   A truly new and strategic function is often not recognized, even if it is relatively easy to implement.   Strategic enhancements will take a lot of work defining the vision and educating others in what and why.   Strategic enhancements may require you to push the request to the top leaders in the company.   Be warned most customer support groups are there to prevent this from happening so don't forget #6.   You need their help.

Thanks for sharing this V. We've been successful with CGTech as well, we follow some of the tips religiously (The bulldog thing #8), but I admit your way is more professional and educated than ours. I'l keep this recipe in mind.

Thanks!


Daniel Santos

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