Website Triage, Fixes, and Enhancements

Read about our website progress one-month post launch and learn about how we are triaging our fixes and enhancements.
Kristina Ciari Kristina Ciari
May 31, 2014

It's been nearly a month since we launched our new website, and we remain incredibly energized by the community's support of our new home and the positive impact this will have on our organization.

In the first few weeks post-launch we were inundated with help requests, which was to be expected. We put extra people on the phones and in our help system, and while we aren't yet fully caught up, we have made remarkable progress and are keeping up with incoming requests. We received and processed well over three thousand calls/emails in the first week alone. To put it into perspective, normally we get about 500 phone calls & emails a week. 

Many of you have asked how we're prioritizing the thousands of phone calls, emails, bug notifications, and help requests. The short answer is: we're doing the best we can to get back to everyone within 48-business hours, and we are prioritizing requests in order received and based on urgency. For the long answer, continue reading below.

Who is answering my questions and how are decisions made?

We have 1.5 full time staff people dedicated to Member Services normally. For the first two weeks we amped that up to three people and continue to ask many of our staff members to help with member questions. 

Our website team is led by Jeff Bowman, the Website Project and IT Manager, who has been working 12-hour days, 7-days a week, for at least the last three months. Thanks to his dedication many of the bugs we experienced early on were fixed in a matter of days, or even hours. He is our first line of support and will continue to be heavily involved in tech developments.

I (Kristina Ciari, Membership and Marketing Manager) partnered with Jeff for the last 6-months of the project to oversee content development for the site, and delegate tasks to our staff to keep us on schedule for launch. I continue to serve as a project manager, but will be slowly decreasing my involvement to focus on my normal responsibilities. 

Martinique Grigg, our Executive Director, and Leann Arend, our COO, are both also involved in the project at a high level. Martinique steered the project from the beginning - issuing the Request for Proposal and getting us set up with our current partners. Martinique and Leann continue to meet with me and Jeff weekly for a "Tech Triage" meeting in which we discuss the top priorities for our very limited resources (read below). 

However, the tech project is not just the four of us. All of the PC staff have been working extra-long hours to make sure you have what you need on the new site. Not that we're complaining - this just shows our incredible excitement for and dedication to the project. But, this pace is not maintainable and we will have to cut back soon. This could mean slower response times to some requests, but we will continue to do our very best to honor the 48-hour turnaround time.

Resources

We are contracted with Percolator Consulting and Jazkarta - our partners for the website launch - to fix any bugs we can't fix in-house. Our contingency retainer includes 15 hours of ongoing support per month. 

15-hours is a very insignificant amount of support, and we are stingy with how we use it. Jeff does everything he can in house first and only pushes to our partners when absolutely necessary. We currently have a list of over 100 "high-priority" items. Jeff is managing this list hourly as it's is always changing and priorities are constantly shifting. 

How are we prioritizing requests?

We request that all questions/comments/feedback be sent via email to our Member Services Team at .

All of the staff have access to this email feed, and each of us have "areas of specialization" in this queue. I personally spend hours daily sorting through the queue to do the first round of triage. I respond first to questions related to sign in problems and then assign the rest of the questions to our staff members based on their area of specialization. Each staff person is responsible for triaging their own queue.

We continue to meet daily to discuss the types of requests we're receiving, and when we have enough requests on the same topic, we often create a blog to better explain the topic to everyone. You can read examples of those related to Carpooling and Leader Permission Only

FIXES & website improvements

We have two categories for improvements: Tickets and Stories.

  • Tickets: a technical fix that can be done in 10-60 minutes.
  • Story: a process fix involving multiple actions, often taking more than 60 minutes.

Our contingency contract with Percolator/Jazkarta is just to cover the fixing of ticket items. Since launch a month ago, we have closed 32 tickets, and currently have 39 open for June and July. Since the beginning of our project, we have opened 764 tickets and closed 704 of them.

For larger story items, we first need to identify the amount of work (hours) that will go into completing each story, then we need to identify the source of revenue to pay for these fixes. Sometimes getting revenue approval involves our Board or Branch Leadership. This process can take time.  

How can I see where my request is in the queue?

We are constantly processing smaller requests which are easy fixes. Publishing a list of these would be more work than just fixing the problems in the first place, so that list is not publicly available. However, I can personally assure you my red pen has gotten lots of work lately crossing things off the list!

Jeff is maintaining a public list of our Future Website Enhancements, which will continue to be updated as we grow and evolve. Visit that list to see what bigger projects we're working on, and to view the timelines as they are established.

We are doing our very best with extremely limited resources. At this point it's just a matter of putting in more time, and we're giving all of the time that we can. Please give us a few weeks after a request is made to follow up and trust your feedback is very important and valuable to us, and we will get to it just as soon as we can.


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