If you've ever suggested a change, an improvement, or a new feature for your Galaxy Digital product, then you've likely made or contributed to an enhancement suggestion. This article explains just what an enhancement is and outlines Galaxy Digital's enhancement process, from the initial client suggestion to the release notes. It goes over how to submit your suggestions and helps answer the question, "Whatever happened to my great idea?"
Before we talk about what an enhancement is, let's consider what an enhancement is not:
- An enhancement is not a customization. Enhancements are applied across the board, typically to all Galaxy Digital Products. While some enhancements may be limited to just one product (such as Get Connected) or just one module of a product (such as the Service Learning Module), all enhancements apply to all clients who have purchased the product. A customization is a change that applies to a single site. Customizations include language overrides (such as replacing "agencies" with "organizations") and changes to user login page (such as removing the option to log in using Facebook).
- An enhancement is not something we can guarantee. While we love making our clients happy, we unfortunately can't add every suggestion we receive. In some cases, a suggestion will "sit" for a while as we wait for additional feedback; in others, we may reject an idea as not being in the best interest of our clients. Click here to learn why some ideas may not be adopted immediately or at all. When you do share an idea, please be aware that, while we promise to take all of your suggestions seriously,
we cannot guarantee that your idea will be adopted as a new feature.
- An enhancement is not usually a large-scale change. New modules, new products, and overhauls to existing products are large-scale projects at Galaxy Digital, and they have their own development timeline outside of the enhancement cycle. If you'd like to see a new module or product, please let us know! Just be aware that, due to the number of hours and expertise involved in such major undertakings, such changes will be addressed separately, outside of the standard enhancement process.
So, what is an enhancement?
An enhancement is a small- to medium-scale change to an existing Galaxy Digital product. An enhancement typically takes one of three forms:
- An entirely new feature
- An update or improvement to an existing feature
- A "fix" to a problem that couldn't be corrected using our routine processes
As you can see in our various enhancement-release notes, enhancements are categorized as "New Features," "Updates," and "Fixes."
We typically operate an eight-week schedule for enhancements. This timeline allows us to facilitate scheduling, provide plenty of time for testing, and ensure that we get input from multiple people in order to make good decisions.
Listed below are the major milestones of that schedule:
- Collect ideas - This is an ongoing process; we are always ready to record your ideas! Your Customer Care Team is the primary group responsible for gathering and reporting client suggestions, so let them know how you'd like the Galaxy Product improved.
- Submit ideas for consideration - Once a week, various Galaxy Digital teams meet to discuss the most recently submitted suggestions and consider whether they should become proposed enhancements. A proposed enhancement is a formally written document that considers all angles of a potential enhancement and estimates what tasks will be required to make it a reality. Following each weekly meeting, new proposed enhancements are written up.
- Prioritize proposed enhancements - We receive dozens of ideas every month--far more than we can code in a single round! As new proposed enhancements are written up, we prioritize them based on various criteria. For example, if multiple people have requested a proposed enhancement, it will likely move up in the list.
- Present prioritized enhancements - Every eight weeks, each Galaxy Digital team presents its prioritized enhancement proposals to management and development. Your Customer Care Team's focus is on presenting the best ideas that have come from you--our clients. We may contact you prior to this meeting in order to garner additional information that will help strengthen the argument for your request.
- Make final decisions - After considering how much time and labor will be required for each potential enhancement, our Development Team works with management to finalize the list of enhancements to be adopted.
- Development and testing - In this next stage, our Development Team gets to work making your ideas a reality, and our testers work to ensure that all new, updated, and fixed features are bug-free before they're released.
- Release - Enhancements are released as a version number (2.5, 2.6, etc.) and are accompanied by release notes in our Help Center. As a system administrator, you'll also see an alert in your admin panel informing you of the release.
While ideas sometimes originate from within Galaxy Digital, the vast majority come from you--the system administrators who use Galaxy Digital's products daily and can report, firsthand, how you think the system can work better.
These ideas often arise when a client reports finding some aspect of their Galaxy Digital product confusing or unclear. You can, of course, directly share and idea at any time by posting to the Feature Suggestions Forum in our Help Center. When posting, please provide the following information:
- Examples from your experience that show why your idea would make the system work better for you, your agency managers, or your volunteers.
- If you're asking to change how something works, tell us how you'd like to see it work.
- Reason(s) for your request. Do you want a new feature because it will save time? Because it will make data more secure? Because it will look nicer or less cluttered on the screen?
Note: Your reasons are so important! We use them to support our arguments when we decide which ideas to present to Development, when we prioritize our proposed-enhancement, and when submit a proposed enhancement for final consideration.
It's a long road from an initial enhancement suggestion to the final release, and many ideas never make the full journey. Those that do become enhancements typically have at least one, and usually more, of the following qualities:
- It makes a Galaxy Digital product easier to use. Ease of use is a huge priority at Galaxy Digital; we strive to provide volunteer-management software that is attractive, intuitive, and easy to learn, use, and manage. We recognize that there is always room for improvement, and we're eager to consider ideas that make our products easier to use.
- There is a clear desire for the enhancement. When multiple site administrators submit the same (or similar) idea, we take the hint. If the request is a good fit for our enhancement cycle (in other words, if it doesn't require a large project or hasn't already been included in plans for an existing large project), it will have a good chance of making the final.
- It will benefit a majority of users. Enhancements take time, and we want to devote that time to improvements that will benefit the greatest number of users.
- It will make data more secure. Your data, and the privacy of that data, is of utmost importance. While we constantly work to keep your data secure, we occasionally receive ideas to that end, and we consider them seriously.
An enhancement suggestion should meet at least one of the criteria listed above; if it doesn't, the ideas that do meet the criteria will be given higher priority.
In addition, some enhancements are not accepted because the system already provides the feature being asked for--just not in the format being requested. For example, someone may request that certain information be included in an automated notification when the notification already has a link to that same information. Since the user already has access to the information being requested, we may opt to focus our time and efforts on ideas over this one.
Of course, if enough people express dissatisfaction with the "workaround," we will certainly consider changing how something is done!
Typically, when we don't act quickly on an idea, it's because we're waiting for more information: We need clients to provide reasons for the suggestions, or we need more clients to come up with the same, or a similar, idea.
Sometimes we delay because we're planning to upgrade an existing product and hope to fold a similar feature into that upgrade. For example, many people requested a greater ability to sort and filter tables in the manager panel back in 2015. Because we were planning a major upgrade to the manager panel (version 2.6) in 2016, we held off on this particular request until 2.6, the layout and coding of which allowed for more sophisticated sorting and filtering.
If you've shared an idea with us and are wondering if we ever acted on it, please let us know. Because we receive so many suggestions, we can't provide updates for every single one, particularly those that are in a "holding pattern." However, if you ask, we'll be happy to let you know where it is in the enhancement cycle.
With each new enhancement release, we publish list of the enhancements, along with brief descriptions of each. You can read about all past enhancements here.
Note: Because development schedules and priorities can change even after work on an enhancement has begun, we don't typically announce enhancements until after they have been released. If you want to know if we're actively working something you suggested, just reach out to our Customer Care Team.