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How Do Member Jungle Product Releases Work?

Date:
By Beau

Member Jungle is software as a service, which means that like other software products (e.g. Xero, MYOB, Canva, Hubspot etc) our customers can pay for a licence to use our product.  Member Jungle is configurable by our customers so it can be used in different instances, however the core system is shared across hundreds of customers, so one change affects them all. This gives us the power to provide continual updates and improvements without you having to do anything.

What goes into a release?

There's a wide range of reasons we continually update your Member Jungle site. These include:

New Features

Everybody loves new features, and we love adding them. From Group Memberships, Datasets or new Dashboards and reports. Every release this year has added a swathe of new features to help you manage your members and to help your members engage with your club.

Got a great idea that you think would benefit Member Jungle? Send in a Feature Suggestion. We regularly review these to help shape the direction of Member Jungle. Whilst we can't guarantee your idea will come to light, we do our best to cater to all our clubs and organisations, and we regularly incorporate your feedback into product development.

Performance Improvements

Sick of waiting for a page or your membership report to load? We continuously review pinch points and work to improve them to let you get on with managing your members faster.

Updated Requirements

From security requirements, to browser permissions, to updated regulation and government guidelines, we're always keeping Member Jungle up to date with industry standards and guidelines. This makes it easier for your members to find and use Member Jungle, as well as making sure your data is always safe and protected.

Platform Changes

Every now and then, the tools we use to make Member Jungle change or shutdown completely. Sometimes this is a simple process, and others (like our migration from Braintree to Stripe back in 2019) require significant effort and rewriting. We avoid this where possible, but external factors occasionally force our hand.

Bug Fixes

We do our best to make Member Jungle perfect and thoroughly test all aspects of the system before each release, but just like your house, bugs always find a way in. With dozens of modules with infinite configurations, we can't possibly cover everything.

Every Member Jungle release will contain fixes for bugs. Some bugs we find ourselves after a release, others we find from listening to your feedback.

What is the release process?

Generally every release contains a mix of these, as we constantly balance new features with fixing bugs and improving existing features. The release process itself is incredibly involved and can sometimes take months of work and planning.

1. Scope out the Work

This involves planning what each feature/change involves, and researching any flow-on effects it could cause. This step is critical in planning, as it allows us to estimate the development time involved.

2. Schedule the Work

Here, we plan out each quarter with a fixed amount of work, with some leeway for high-priority bugs.

Every month, we collate a portion of this scheduled work to be completed in that month.

3. Complete the Work

This is where our developers write the code to make Member Jungle awesome. Some work may take months or even years before it sees the light of day, whilst others are simple changes to a word or two.

4. Testing

Every new feature and change is tested thoroughly both in isolation, and as part of the greater system. This is to test both that the work is done correctly (i.e. it matches the specifications from the initial planning), and that it doesn't introduce any bugs.

5. Code Merging

Once a change has passed testing, it gets merged into a release "candidate". This adds the change (along with any others scheduled for the next release) to what will eventually become the full release.

6. Testing Again

About a week before a release, we lock off any new changes from going into a release candidate. This gives us time to thoroughly test every change again, and make sure no other unforeseen bugs have crept into the system.

7. Release Day

Once all testing has again been completed, we schedule a day and time to put the release live. The release happens instantaneously and you won't notice the cutover (although you may notice new features!). This also involves updating documentation and help articles, and informing customers of the new release.

8. Testing Again Again

The moment the release goes live, both manual and automated testing continues to sanity check changes and check for any missed critical issues. The varying nature of our customers makes this step necessary, as various configurations and sizes (e.g. incredibly large clubs) sometimes cause extreme edge-case bugs.

 

Why could you fix my issue immediately?

As you can see, each release is fairly involved. This is why we generally do monthly releases. There are a small number of critical bugs that simply can't wait a month or more to be fixed. These don't happen very often, but when they do, we expedite a miniature release to address the critical issue ASAP. We don't always announce these.

There are also some issues that can be fixed without a release. This is most often caused by an incorrect configuration or setting that we can change straight away.

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