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  2. Getting Started with VisualSP
  3. Best practices for a formal launch plan

Best practices for a formal launch plan

Applies to: VisualSP
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VisualSP recommends a simple launch plan, as documented in our Quick Launch Guide. However, some customers want to coordinate preparation, deployment, and content activities to result in a more formal ‘launch day’ where everyone is given access to the tool on a chosen date – or the launch is synchronized with the launch of a host platform. If you prefer this type of formal launch, this guide recommends five phases to provide the maximum amount of control. 

Phase 1 | Evaluating features and pre-staging content 

The idea of this phase in an implementation is to only allow hand-picked users in to see and evaluate content, features, and configuration. A key principle to keep in mind is that no one except these hand-picked users can see anything in or from VisualSP. 

  • Deployment: Editors / administrators manually install the ‘Ask Vic’ browser extension in their own browsers. Since no other users likely have VisualSP installed – no one knows you are preparing. 
  • Content: Your subscription likely comes with a great many help items in the catalog already. You will likely also want to create sample help items for various use cases. 
  • User management: Manually add users that will be involved in preparing content and evaluating the subscription. 
    • Users > + Add User button 
    • Permissions > Add Members
      (allows you to grant a user access to editing / management tools / inline help / auto-loaded items)  
  • Configuration: Because your list of users is so small, no extra configuration is usually required in this phase. That comes later as you begin adding other users to the subscription. 

Phase 2 | Hide VisualSP from future end users while the software is deployed and your content is created 

Once your evaluation period is done, you likely need to begin preparing real-life content and configuration setup for launch. Because your IT department likely has change control procedures and wait times for technical deployment steps, you should start that process in advance – so that their approval process can run in parallel while you create content. 

During this phase of launch preparations, you will use the features within your subscription to hide the tool from end users until your launch day arrives. This allows the deployment to be completed and tested as soon as possible by IT. It relieves the need to synchronize their schedule with yours. 

  • Configuration: Your subscription should already be configured as follows in the ‘Manage my subscription’ box.  
    • Users > Block New Users = Enabled 
    • Users > Hide tab from Unlicensed Users = Enabled 
    • Look and Feel > Enable Inline help = Disabled 
    • Look and Feel > Disable Auto-Loaded Items = Enabled 
  • Deployment: Request deployment of the ‘Ask Vic’ browser extension by IT to your entire desired end user audience.
    (You could also potentially use any of our ‘Quick-start or supplemental methods’ as mentioned on the ‘Manage my subscription’ page.) 
  • User management: IT may need to have access given to users for deployment, security, and / or compatibility testing. You can grant access to these IT users in the ‘Manage my subscription’ box, much like you did for your evaluation users in phase 1. 
    • Users > + Add User button 
    • Permissions > Add Members
      (testing users are usually NOT given membership in admin / editor groups)  
  • Content:  
    • Delete any sample items that you no longer need. 
    • Begin creating real-life help items, but keep them in DRAFT mode to keep them hidden as more users begin to be added going forward. 

Phase 3 | Releasing to a pilot group 

It is common for customers to open up VisualSP to a small group at first to get feedback before launching to your entire intended audience. 

  • Content:  
    • Publish your real-life help items to make them visible to the new non-editor users.  
  • Configuration: Configure your subscription as follows in the ‘Manage my subscription’ box. 
    • Look and Feel > Enable Inline help = Enabled 
    • Look and Feel > Disable Auto-Loaded Items = Disabled
      (These 2 adjustments allow your non-admin users to see your inline help and autoload items, so they can give feedback on those experiences.)
      OPTIONAL: Look and Feel > Look and Feel Advanced Properties 
      • Some customers want the pilot users to only see the help tab appear in a subset of web apps. 
      • This section allows you to ‘Hide VisualSP Tab’ for any one or more you wish. 
      • NOTE: Inline help icons and / or autoload items that are in PUBLISHED mode will be visible, even if the help tab is not. 
    • The following settings should already be configured. 
      • Users > Block New Users = Enabled 
      • Users > Hide tab from Unlicensed Users = Enabled 
  • Deployment: None. This should already be complete from Phase 2 above. 
  • User management: You can grant access to your pilot users in the ‘Manage my subscription’ box, much like you did in earlier phases. 
    • Users > + Add User button
      (alternatively, you can import a CSV list of users if the batch is too large to do manually) 
    • Permissions > Add Members
      (pilot users should NOT be given membership in admin / editor groups)  

Phase 4 | Prepare to release to your entire audience 

Once the testing by your pilot group is complete, here are the steps to reset and make things ready for the real launch day. Essentially, we are going to allow your larger audience into the subscription to verify user counts and availability – but hide features from non-editors until the launch date. 

  • Configuration: Your subscription should now be configured as follows in the ‘Manage my subscription’ box. 
    • Look and Feel > Enable Inline help = Disabled 
    • Look and Feel > Disable Auto-Loaded Items = Enabled
      (Reverting these two settings insulate your larger audience from seeing these features until launch day.) 
    • Look and Feel > Look and Feel Advanced Properties 
    • Hide the help tab from all app scopes 
    • Users > Block New Users = Disabled 
    • Users > Hide tab from Unlicensed Users = Disabled
      (This allows your user list to populate with your entire user audience, so you to validate that deployment has reached everyone.) 
  • Deployment: None. This should already be complete from Phase 2 above. 
  • User management: Usually there are no changes at this stage. 
  • Content: Usually there are no changes here, unless feedback from the pilot group requires it. 

Phase 5 | Launch day 

On your chosen launch day only a couple of steps are required to go live.  

  • Configuration: Your subscription should be configured as follows in the ‘Manage my subscription’ box. 
    • Look and Feel > Look and Feel Advanced Properties 
    • Unhide the help tab from all app scopes 
    • Look and Feel > Enable Inline help = Enabled 
    • Look and Feel > Disable Auto-Loaded Items = Disabled
      (Turns these features on for your full user audience.) 

The following setting should already be configured. 

    • Users > Block New Users = Disabled 
    • Users > Hide tab from Unlicensed Users = Disabled
       
  • Deployment: None. This should already be complete from Phase 2 above. 
  • User management: Usually there are no changes at this stage. 
Updated on March 21, 2024

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