One of my customers has gone live recently, and I am working on another at the moment. The feedback is generally positive, with most people preferring the user interface to FP11. In the course of these implementation, I have probably found every bug in the product.
As a result I have earned a few scars and have learned several lessons that will help.
- Publish early, publish often.
- Save, save, save.
- Test, test, test: create tickets, edit tickets, etc. Use a browser and login ID separate from the administration console.
- Export your configurations frequently: several times per day during active development; once before and after periodic updates.
- Be very deliberate about what you are doing and how you did it. Try to perform administration operations the same way once you discover a “groove” that works.
- Repeat all the above when touching the process workflows. These are especially fragile.
- Keep a test environment separate from production. If you are just learning and testing, don’t do it in the environment that is (or will become) production. You can usually build it in production much faster the second time.
- If you experience a bug, and you can do so repeatedly, document and submit it to support. I didn’t realize before that product management wasn’t aware of many bugs that I had deemed too obvious to report.
Most importantly I recommend patience, healthy amounts of focus and determination, and some tolerance for the unexpected.
In my experiences with BMC product management and support teams, they are very responsive to feedback and very actively working to improve the product. They have “turned the corner” on the real-world issues we are facing and are observing us closely. I am very encouraged with the product overall and with the pace at which bugs are now being addressed.
In addition the support and development teams are prioritizing showstoppers that prevent you from going live in the near future. If you are almost complete and ready to cut over into production, you can get fairly fast turnaround time from support the escalation teams should any late bugs arise.
The FootPrints 12 platform is now “ready for prime time” but not yet for all existing customers of FP11. The difference is in the maturity and rigidity of the process. Organizations who need predictability and adherence to existing process should stay on FootPrints 11 until the 12 platform matures a bit longer.