Release Planning

Ever wonder what’s coming for CU*BASE or It’s Me 247 online banking or other CU*Answers tools?  This page is intended to help you keep in the loop for things that are in the pipeline or nearing completion.  Just remember that our development cycle is a living, breathing machine and we are committed to remaining flexible and nimble so that we can continue to meet the needs of our clients, partners, regulators, and, most importantly, your members.  (In other words, all dates and slated projects are subject to change!)

What we hope you will get out of this page is a general understanding of the procedures and policies our teams must follow in reviewing project requests and monitoring how they move between the various stages of the development process: from initial request, to approval, to design (the “specs”), to production, to testing, to documentation, to communication and training for clients, then finally to implementation and follow-up. The process is time-tested and your understanding of the procedures will help you understand how our “factory” operates on a daily basis.

What drives development decisions?

There are many factors that control what projects can make it past the “what an interesting idea” stage into actual design specifications and programmer development (meaning: spending the CUSO’s money!).  Here are some key drivers that influence your CUSO every day (in no particular order):

Business Drivers

Event Drivers

Client Drivers

Professional Services that push software development

Annual or periodic events that prompt changes in software

Client-related needs that push software development

  • Xtend SRS Bookkeeping
  • AuditLink
  • Lender*VP (including Lender RE, Collections, Retailer Direct, Payday Lending, etc.)
  • Xtend (including Member Reach, Shared Branching, CU*OverDrive, Xtension, etc.)
  • Earnings Edge
  • Imaging Solutions
  • SettleMINT EFT
  • OpsEngine
  • Leadership Conference
  • CEO Strategies
  • Focus Groups

 

  • Industry and regulatory directives
  • Sales contacts and contractual obligations
  • Custom work
  • Changes by 3rd-party vendors
  • Direct requests from clients, including via Idea Forms, focus groups and other special events, training contacts, daily client service interactions, etc.

 

What drives implementation timing?

The Production Team meets on a weekly basis to evaluate projects that are moving through the pipeline and getting ready to be slated for a release.  There are a number of factors this team considers when slating specific projects for a particular release date:

  • Progress and results of Quality Control testing – is the software good to go?
  • Are there potential conflicts between different projects that touch the same programs?  In some cases we delay one project because another, concurrent project may involve the same programs, and we do not want to risk one set of changes interfering with another.  Sometimes the projects can be merged, but occasionally it is safer to implement one project, make sure it’s stable, then proceed to the next project in an orderly manner.
  • What’s the availability of resources?  Can the project actually be completed in time?
  • Are there regulatory deadlines or conversion dates or third-party mandates we have to work around?
  • What specific promises have been made that we are working to keep?
  • Will there be ample time for alerting clients and offering training?  Sometimes a bigger project is delayed to a later release simply so that we have enough time to offer several training sessions and disseminate documentation to all affected parties.
  • Is a beta period important for this project?  Again, we often slate projects for a major release simply because it will be critical to run the changes in the more controlled environment of a beta-test before releasing them to the network at large. Want to get involved in our beta testing process? Jump in the Beta Pool to sign up.

Who manages this development at CU*Answers?

Unlike a traditional department or specific group of staff, software development at CU*Answers is driven by a network of leaders from all areas of the organization as well as external players from partners to clients and members.

Driving the day-to-day work is the Product Team.   This team consists of the key leaders for “the factory” – meaning all of the different phases in the development of software tools, from programming to QC to documentation. Our planning includes EFT, online banking, imaging strategies, audio response, and CU*BASE, and the tools often intertwine and share resources.

When are releases scheduled?

Version CU*Answers
Online CUs
(Sunday)
CU*NorthWest /
CU*South
(Sunday)
PTF for Self
Processing CUs
(Mon-Tue)
16.05May. 15, 2016 May. 15, 2016 June 6 & 7 
16.07Jul. 17, 2016 Jul. 17, 2016 August 8 & 9, 2016 
16.10Oct. 23, 2016 Oct. 23, 2016 November 7 & 8 
16.12Dec. 4, 2016 Dec. 4, 2016 December 12 & 13 

Starting in 2016 our release numbering scheme was changed.  A CU*BASE GOLD release in February, for example, will be numbered 16.02, and one in May would be 16.05.  (The month # is based on when online CUs are scheduled to receive the release.)  All dates are subject to change.  If a release is rescheduled, depending on the timing the release number may be changed as well. 

How can I keep track of what’s coming down the road?

Check out a Big Picture View (the coming year in development)
Every year at the Leadership Conference we introduce some of the major initiatives and projects that we will be working on over the coming year.  Check out the presentation from the Leadership Conference for big-picture ideas for your credit union’s next Business Plan.

Review the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Policy (Updated: January 12th 2016)
This policy documents the rules and procedures for approving, tracking and communicating the status of software development as it moves through the CU*Answers production factory, from initial request all the way through final implementation for clients.

Review the working Project Release Plan (Updated: May 25th 2016)
This is the most important document used on a daily basis by our Production Team to plan for software releases.  Remember that this is a working document, and it is subject to change at any time.  No promises should be implied by this document: we reserve the right to change, remove, or reschedule any project from this list, even those that have already been slated for an approaching release, based on QC test results or changing priorities.

Monitor the projects you’ve submitted
Want to see what’s happening with a particular project number?  Need to track the status of a special custom project? To track your individual projects, check out the Monitor site.  Monitor lets you drill down to see the current status of every project # that has been entered on behalf of your credit union.

Read about projects already implemented
All major releases (and most monthly GOLD updates) are communicated via a Release Summary that is emailed to all clients and posted on our News page.  This same information is also available via the “What’s New?” topic in CU*BASE GOLD online help.

Join the beta pool! We’re always on the lookout for credit unions willing to participate in the beta-test period for major CU*BASE software releases. If your credit union would like be in the pool considered for beta testing new features and enhancements, we need you (and there might even be some $money$ in it for you!!

Be a part of the Active Beta Study Group! Get the first look at newly introduced tools and provide valuable feedback via a new collaborative community website.

 

Updated
May 10, 2016

Reminder: CU*BASE GOLD 16.05 Has Arrived!

ComingCUBASERelease

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SITE-FOUR PARTNERS: Another CU*BASE Release Has Arrived! Don’t forget that on the date below, you will receive CU*BASE GOLD Version 16.05: Online credit unions: Sunday, May 15 Site-Four partners: Sunday, May 15 Release Documents 16.05 Release Summary 16.05 Menu Changes 16.05 Database Changes Release Training General Release Training Release training occurred on May… Read more »

May 11, 2016

Come see what’s blooming!

ShowMetheStepsGrowth

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS Need help with CU*BASE? Check Out the NEW Topics & Videos in Show Me the Steps! New Topics Issue Cashier’s Check via Shared Branching Issue Miscellaneous Receipt via Shared Branching Issue Money Order via Shared Branching   New Videos Accepting a Person-to-Person Payment in Online Banking Cancelling a Person-to-Person Payment… Read more »

May 10, 2016

May Tricks of the Trade Webinar

TricksoftheTrade

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS Mark your calendar for the upcoming Tricks of the Trade webinar! Scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 from 3:30-4:00 PM ET, the interactive and engaging May Tricks of the Trade webinar will give you an in-depth look at documentation related to OpsEngine, including services and automation, as well as information… Read more »

May 10, 2016

April CU*BASE Monthly Monitor Recap

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS: Our projects hatch from your input! Check out recent programming changes in the April 2016 edition of the CU*BASE Monthly Monitor Recap! April 2016 Monthly Monitor Recap The CU*BASE Monthly Monitor Recap is designed to keep you informed of feature improvements, vendor enhancements, and other changes to CU*BASE and accompanying core-software products…. Read more »

May 2, 2016

CU*BASE GOLD 16.05 Coming Soon!

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS AND SITE-FOUR PARTNERS: Another CU*BASE Release Is Coming! Mark your calendars for the date below, when you will receive CU*BASE GOLD Version 16.05: Online credit unions: May 15 Site-Four partners: May 15 Self-processing credit unions: June 6-7 Note to self-processing credit unions: Please email us as soon as possible to let us… Read more »

Apr 26, 2016

Reminder: April Tricks of the Trade Webinar Today

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS The April Tricks of the Trade webinar will be held from 3:30-4:00 PM ET today! Simply click here a few minutes before the webinar starts and enter this password: tricks. During this interactive and engaging webinar, you’ll get an in-depth look at the CU*Answers Risk Assessment Center and the… Read more »

Apr 19, 2016

April is National Financial Literacy Month!

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS April is National Financial Literacy Month Be sure to check out your FREE financial literacy resources! We believe financial literacy is more than just book learning. It comes from the interactions Board members have with each other and with credit union teams. It comes with the confidence you gain… Read more »

Apr 12, 2016

April Tricks of the Trade Webinar

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS Mark your calendar for the upcoming Tricks of the Trade webinar! Scheduled for Tuesday, April 19 from 3:30-4:00 PM ET, the interactive and engaging April Tricks of the Trade webinar will give you an in-depth look at the CU*Answers Risk Assessment Center and the It’s Me 247 Risk Assessment:… Read more »

Apr 12, 2016

Northern Michigan Area Regional Training Events

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS We’re getting ready to head out for another Regional Training Event! Northern Michigan Credit Unions – we’re coming to a credit union near you to offer you two chances to attend a FREE Regional Training Event! Traverse City, Michigan TBA Credit Union May 17 9 AM – 3:30 PM ET… Read more »

Apr 11, 2016

Come hear new information for 2016 in the Business Continuity Planning course!

ATTENTION ONLINE AND SELF-PROCESSING CREDIT UNIONS Join Jim Lawrence, CBCP, Business Continuity Manager at CU*Answers, as he discusses the business continuity planning process, including steps to help you develop, implement, and test your continuity and recovery plans. Updated for 2016, this course will highlight two recent FFIEC publications,  “Appendix J: Strengthening Resilience of Outsourced Technology… Read more »

Apr 5, 2016