One of my earliest posts here was about revamping release notes. I talked about what makes release notes better, but in today’s post, I want to talk about why release notes are good in the first place.
What are the benefits of having release notes?
- Publicity. Have you ever wondered how much of the stuff you release even goes noticed? If you put them into release notes, more people can appreciate the work you/your team has been putting forward.
- Marketing. I am a big believer that a great developer can sell their stuff as much as they can make it. This is your chance to demonstrate new features and show the benefit you/your team bring to the company and user base.
- Transparency. Proof that you are working hard and (hopefully) proof of release goals being met. This is the easiest way to keep your stakeholders informed about changes to your product.
- A story of progress. A paper trail that shows your product’s evolution. When chronicled, it’s even easier to celebrate your team’s work and see how your instance has grown.
- Builds trust with Change Management. Drafted release notes demonstrates to your CAB your exact goals. At UCSD, our CAB accepts our release notes article itself as a core document.
Banner Release Notes Button
Realizing why release notes are such a great tool. We added a feature to our ServiceNow instance that makes it even easier for our users to access the latest instance release notes and see when new release notes have been published
Displays a button on the UI15 or UI16 banner that when clicked will bring the user to the latest kb_knowledge article published in a specific kb_category.
- An unread “!” badge will also appear on this button for some time to let the user know that a new article has been published that they haven’t seen yet.
- The badge goes away if too much time has passed or if the user has already viewed the article.
- Note: sometimes, the icon will not appear on first loads of dashboards due to too many AJAX calls, but will appear usually on the next visited page.
- Credit to James Neale for the code I found in his Xplore toolkit for displaying a button in the banner which is used in these update set.
- You can configure the hover text for the button
- You can configure where the user will read the article
- You can configure how long the unread “!” badge will appear on the button before it goes away. We use 7 days.
- You can configure which icon to use for the button
- A way to publish new articles but suppress the “!” badge.