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7 powerful benefits you get from our switch to a shorter release cycle

After the biggest Totara release ever in October 2020, when we launched Totara’s Talent Experience Platform, we’ve moved from a yearly release cycle to a six-monthly cycle.

There are many benefits to making the switch to more frequent Totara releases, so we thought we’d share exactly why we’ve given you the option to upgrade your Totara platform more frequently.

1. A faster response to unprecedented change

We could all do with a little less unprecedented change right now, but as the last couple of years have shown us, it pays to be prepared. Having a shorter release cycle ensures that the features and functionality we develop and include in each release are better tailored to the current technology or learning needs of our customers.

For instance, the release of Totara 14 included Zoom and Microsoft Teams integrations, introducing virtual rooms to your platform. This was in response to COVID-19 and the rapid switch to remote working and learning. Our Q2 2021 release allowed you to benefit from this powerful new functionality as soon as possible.

2. We can be more responsive to your feedback

We’re always listening to your feedback, whether that’s in our conversations with customers, via our Totara Partners or in the Totara Community . If someone suggests a great new feature and we decide it needs to be in the core product, we can get it out into the world much sooner.

Two releases a year essentially doubles the opportunity for you to suggest features and functionality, so we can ensure that your voice is heard and reflected in the product improvements we make.

3. A shorter wait for new features

On a related note, our highly experienced developers, product managers and learning experts are constantly coming up with new ways to solve your challenges. Our six-monthly release cycle means you don’t have to wait 1-2 years to reap the benefits of our innovation.

When there are challenges or roadblocks disrupting your learning and development, impacting your compliance level or even affecting your organization’s revenue, we want to make sure you solve those issues as quickly as possible. Releasing twice a year helps minimize disruption to your organization and people, helping you keep up in the new world of work.

4. We can constantly refine our new features

We don’t just wash our hands of a new feature once it’s released. We collect feedback, understand how it could better meet your needs and then our development team makes any tweaks we feel would help you.

We can now refine our features and functionality, make any necessary improvements and include them in our next major release just six months later.

For instance, we introduced our new centralized notifications framework with just the programs and certifications notifications messages migrated over to the new system. This gives Totara Partners and customers the chance to familiarize themselves with the feature and offer feedback on how it works before the rest of the messages are switched over, ensuring we get this important feature right.

5. Drives robust, automated testing processes

Switching to a rapid software release cycle means that we’re constantly testing our products. Our six-monthly releases take place on top of our regular maintenance releases, but they ensure you’re covered when it comes to functionality and performance improvements, and of course, they will always come with the latest security updates.

With every release cycle comes more experience with the release process, so we’re used to constantly refining and improving the process. The more release cycles we go through, the better the process will become, which benefits both us and you!

6. Keep up with supporting infrastructure technology releases

Alongside Totara, the rest of the software in your technology ecosystem is constantly evolving. Our open technology integrates seamlessly with many of the other tools and systems our customers use, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams and more, so we make sure we’re in step with the technology releases of your wider ecosystem.

This means that we don’t miss a trick – Totara adapts to changes elsewhere in your technology ecosystem, meaning we’re always giving you the best possible user experience and helping you make the most of all your systems.

7. Easier change management 

With smaller releases, the change management required by subscribers using Totara to implement becomes less onerous. It’s easier and less labor-intensive for organizations to adapt to step changes in terms of training and support, rather than dealing with one giant upgrade once a year.

In addition, the more upgrade cycles you go through, the easier it is for people to get used to change. Over time, this change in attitude helps you become a more adaptable organization that is open to change and ready to move with the times.

With Totara, you have the freedom to choose when you upgrade. While upgrading to the latest version will always give you access to our new features and functionality, the choice is yours – we will never force you to upgrade if it doesn’t fit in with your schedule.

And don’t forget: if you ever want a new feature that doesn’t currently exist, you have the freedom to innovate. You are free to customize, adapt, extend and grow your Totara platform in line with your organization’s unique requirements – you’re never tied to our roadmap (though we can assure you that there’s lots of great stuff on there!).

If you have an idea for a new Totara feature you’d like to see, we’d love to hear from you! Leave a post in the Totara Community , and our team will be sure to review them.

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