One of the trickier aspects of managing the development of Talis Alto has been to understand the priorities of Alto users so that we can apply limited development capacity in a fair and effective way.
In the last few months we have been using a service which we call “Talis Ideas” to help us with setting priorities in the development of Prism 3, and several folk have asked us whether we would be extending this to Alto. We are now on the point of doing so, and plan to run an introductory webinar next week – more details at the bottom of this post
The Ideas service allows customers to raise requests for new features and/or to request that Talis prioritise the fixing of particular defects. Users can assign votes to any of these “Ideas” (whether raised by themselves or by others) and can also comment on them. The development team can in turn feed back on these issues and indicated when changes are planned or completed.
All this is a major improvement on the old static PERs and Defects lists, the occasional Friday-afternoon discussion of desirable features on LIS-TALIS and the static voting exercises used in the past. Proposals for change, discussions, commentary and voting are all in one place and updates dynamically.
Extending Talis Ideas to Alto has been a major exercise: unlike Prism 3, Alto has a long history in the form of a large number of pre-existing PERs and Defects. We did not want to swamp the new system by loading all of these, but neither did we want to throw them away and start again; so the approach that we have taken is as follows:
- We have provided read-only lists of old PERs and Defects on line for reference. These links will also be on the front page of the Alto website when the service goes live
- We will continue to whittle away at the older “pre-Talis Ideas” PERS and Defects as a background task
- We will however prioritise issues raised and voted on in Talis Ideas above old PERs and Defects; so if you have an urgent need for something in the old lists to be addressed rapidly, raise it again on Talis Ideas and persuade your contemporaries to vote for it.
One other difference from Prism: we have increased the number of votes per institution to 20 for Alto in view of its size and complexity.
The service will launch on 27th January with a free webinar. Register here if you would like to join us for this. If you cannot make that date then there is a repeat webinar on 3rd Feb. We will also post a recording on this blog