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)
17.10Oct. 22, 2017 Oct. 22, 2017 November 13 & 14 
17.12Dec. 3, 2017 Dec. 3, 2017 December 11 & 12 
18.05May. 20, 2018 May. 20, 2018 June 4-5, 2018 
18.10Oct. 21, 2018 Oct. 21, 2018 Nov 5-6, 2018 
18.12Dec. 9, 2018 Dec. 9, 2018 Dec 10-11, 2018 

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.

Track our plans and progress on major projects in the Kitchen
We use this page to introduce major projects and hot topics that are either in the design phase or in development. Check here often to see what’s cooking!

Review the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Policy (Updated: September 7th 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: September 13th 2017)
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.

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
July 24, 2017

Join Us for the September Tricks of the Trade Webinar!

Join Us for the September Tricks of the Trade Webinar!

Scheduled for Wednesday, September 20 from 3:30-4:00 PM ET, the interactive and engaging September Tricks of the Trade webinar will give you an in-depth look at documentation related to transitioning checking accounts between Dividend Applications, automating your Check Ordering process, Online Ballots for elections, and Patronage Dividends. Attending is easy! No registration is required for this drop-in webinar. Simply… Read more »

Sep 13, 2017

August CU*BASE Monthly Monitor Recap

August 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 August 2017 edition of the CU*BASE Monthly Monitor Recap! August 2017 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… Read more »

Sep 5, 2017

It’s Almost Time for the August Tricks of the Trade Webinar!

It’s Almost Time for the August Tricks of the Trade Webinar!

The August Tricks of the Trade webinar will be held today from 3:30-4:00 PM ET! Simply click here and enter this password: tricks. During this interactive and engaging webinar, you’ll get an in-depth look at documentation about the Membership Opening (MOP).  Learn detailed information about MOP including more about the pages specific to MOP (Experian Precise ID Verification page,… Read more »

Aug 15, 2017

Join Us for the August Tricks of the Trade Webinar!

Join Us for the August Tricks of the Trade Webinar!

Scheduled for Tuesday, August 15 from 3:30-4:00 PM ET, the interactive and engaging August Tricks of the Trade webinar will give you an in-depth look at documentation about the Membership Opening (MOP).  Learn detailed information about MOP (Experian Precise ID Verification page, Membership Complete page, Funding page, Online Banking Enrollment page, and Funding Options page). Attending… Read more »

Aug 8, 2017