on so-called upgrades…

December 2, 2009

Over the years I’ve been a member of a few internet forums. At least two of them have been through serious ‘upgrades’ and I thought that their mistakes may serve as a good reference for any future software upgrades that I am involved in.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Test, a lot.  Forum A lost members rapidly because they their new service was frequently unavailable (and, even worse, slow).
  2. Give users fair warning. Both forums A and B upgraded without any communication with their users.  One day I logged on and everything had changed.  I cannot exaggerate the ruckus and even rage that created.
  3. Do not assume you know how software features are used. Forum B took away functionality.  I don’t expect Forum B to retain more than 10% of it’s original community.