Twelve Months of Agile App Improvement At

Over the course of the last twelve months, PlanPlus Online has made some great progress in updating our agile CRM App.  About a year ago we revised our implementation of the “agile” development methodology through the study of the book Scrum by Jeff Sutherland.


While we always thought of ourselves as an “agile development” firm, we took this opportunity to re-focus about a year ago to really study the methodology of our platform. We’ve learned a few lessons and re-learned other lessons that have been re-implemented into our development process and how we impact our development life cycle.

1. Smaller and Quicker Release Cycles:


A few years ago we were happy to get out 3-4 releases per year.  Now we do releases every 2-3 weeks. We have started including fewer items per release to help them get out more quickly.  We do this because we want to fix problems and issue sooner rather than later, making the experience of PlanPlus Online more enjoyable for our customers and future customers.

2. Improved Development Process:

In the “old days”, our release cycles were a long drawn out process that meant different servers would recieve updates at different times on different days.  It was confusing for customers to know when they would bet getting the new releases of our software.

Not to mention, it was also confusing for our development operations team.  We changed this process so that we could send out new releases all at once to our server clusters for our main production in a matter of minutes rather than weeks.

3. Improve Quality Assurance Processes:

Something that is known by all developers is that all apps and software contain “bugs”.  The reality is that even when your Quality Assurance (QA) processes are running well, it’s hard to test every possible scenario that users could come across running our app.

Ideally, most bugs are small enough that you won’t run into issues with them.  As painful as it sometimes is to admit, we had more bugs in our app than we cared to admit, and we weren’t proud of it. We realized that it needed to change, causing some dramatic changes in our release policies and add an extra layer of quality check before any new changes came to the servers our app was on to face our clients.

With these procedures now in place, we have been able to improve our platform and experience for our customers. There are less bugs and when new ones arise, we are able to find solutions to them quickly with an even quicker turn around by releasing in smaller quantities. This allows us to give more quality release to our customers with specific bugs or issues in mind that are causing pain.  We are proud of our development team for working so hard to make great changes to our app to make it  more functional and reliable for everyone.

4. New Ideas:

Here at PlanPlus online, we talk a lot about a great word; culture, and the building blocks of culture.  One of these building blocks is :language. We implemented some new language into our vocabulary.  Sprint, Release and Blockers are just a few to name.  “Sprint” is what we call each of our development release cycles. “Release” is how the sprint makes it way to production and is facing our customers. You might have seen some of our blog posts with “release” in the title, for example; “ Release 156”.  We work on putting out information posts from our product blog to give customers a glimpse into our development and know what is coming forward. “Blockers” are bugs that need to be finished before we can actually put our spring into the production or release phase.

What are the results of this new system?

The results of this effort have been very valuable.  We have improved overall product quality, reduced the load times on our servers, and improvements based upon customers requests. By doing so we have increased customer satisfaction.  We have also increased our satisfaction of personal development requests from customers, which not only puts a smile on the customer’s face, but ours as well.

We also have a great announcement! PlanPlus Online will be getting a new user experience to our app! We are working to improve processes, decrease steps as well as make our UI (User interface) a much more user friendly place! Also we will be upgrading the looks to feel more modern and sleek to fit in with what our customers are wanting.

To conclude I’ve added links below that you can go to our blog posts that deeper explain all of the wonderful improvements we have done to our app to make it a better user experience for all of our customers:

PlanPlus Online Product Blog – Go Here to see product specific posts that provide insights on the happenings from the product team.

Release Notes 2015 | Quarter 1

Release Notes: 155

Release Notes: 156

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