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Agile Methodology and Stakeholder Engagement 

Our mission is to change how learning technologies are developed, delivered and purchased. Our primary propositions of flexibility and cost leadership are underpinned by an open source technology strategy. Open source enables "demand-side innovation", which means we rely on engagement with our partners and subscribers to inform the technology needs of our customers. We do this through active community engagement, where new features and improvements are openly discussed, debated and refined as they are added to our backlog. Our community site is here.Whilst having a clear product strategy is paramount, it is also critically important to maintain flexibility in defining the feature-set from version to version within a fast-changing environment. This is true for all software, but even more so in a collaborative partner network coalescing around an open source framework. In Agile, the focus is not on fulfilling a rigid long-term roadmap, it's on delivering business value on a consistent, iterative pattern.  It’s incredibly difficult (if not actually impossible) to have a high confidence yearly roadmaps at a granular level. Of course, the biggest advantage that there is in an Agile approach is summed up by the word agile – instead of trying to figure out right now what's going to be the top priority in a year (because we will all be wrong),  we define what's important right now and deliver that business value as quickly as possible.

However, we also appreciate that customers and sales teams would like to get some level of commitment for features released during the next year or two. To strike that balance, prioritisation of features comes from engagement with our stakeholders, including the introduction of Product Advisory Boards plus Evergreen as a continuous release methodology. As an outcome of these processes we define the next version release plus the medium term horizon priority areas.

The next scheduled update to this page is on or before July 31, 2017

Product Advisory Boards

Our partners are key stakeholders in our product direction and we are in the process of setting up a Product Advisory Board. Partners have a rotating membership of this board that meets 3 times a year to review current priorities and provide valuable insight into how people use our systems and the wider learning landscape.

As a result of this approach, we continue to build increasingly feature-rich learning platforms, focused squarely on the needs of a changing learning environment for companies.

As the Product Advisory Process gets underway, we will be updating this page to highlight items that will get attention in the medium term.

Last Major Release

Totara 9.0 was released on 19 October 2016. For a full list of features that were included please see the changelogs on our community site.

Next Major Release

We are currently planning to release version 10 In September 2017.

Evergreen

Evergreen is a supported, production-ready version of Totara Learn (formerly called Totara LMS) released more frequently (initially monthly but in the future as often as weekly or as appropriate). This will allow subscribers to have an ever-improving version of the product instead of waiting for our annual release to take advantage of new innovations.

All new features will be developed on Evergreen and these new features will become our next Annual release (version 10.0).

Evergreen may not be the best deployment choice for all customers. The suitability of deploying Evergreen vs an Annual version should be discussed with your Totara Partner and we have produced some guidance documentation to support that discussion. 

Current Focus

Below are details of the focus of our development in the short term.

AreaDetailProgress1Reporting

A wide range of important and often requested columns and filters are being added to existing report sources (e.g. an 'Event date' column will be added to the Seminar Events report source).

Status
colourGreen
titleIn Progress

2Users

The 'Browse list of users' admin page is being converted to an embedded report source, thereby adding key functionality and flexibility to this frequently used page.

Status
colourGreen
titleIn Progress

3Localisation

Totara's language pack creation application (called "Automated Manipulation Of Strings" or AMOS) is being updated to support:

  • Separation of language strings between learner and admin facing interfaces
  • Export and import of language packs via CSV
StatuscolourBluetitleCOMPLETE4Featured links block

A new feature that will allows admins to display for their users a very simple set of navigation options (to areas of the platform or external links etc) in the form of visually-rich cards (i.e. large blocks of colour or image based content)

StatuscolourBluetitleCOMPLETE5Course completion editorA new admin tool for modifying course completion records, similar to the program completion editor

Status
colourGreen
titleIn Progress

6Audiences, Courses, and ProgramsAn improvement to make learning available immediately to new users once they've self-registered. With this change, audience membership as well as audience-based enrolled learning (i.e. course enrollment and certification/program assignment) will occur before new users first log into the platform. StatuscolourBluetitleCOMPLETE7AppraisalsSupport for placeholders is being added to appraisal message templates StatuscolourBluetitleCOMPLETE8Site registrationApproval workflow for self-registered site users. Includes features to provide more fine grained control over which positions/organisations can be selected by self registering users.

Status
colourGreen
titleIn Progress

9Progress bar improvements
  • Program progress bars will track progress within a course set
  • Course progress bars will track course completion criteria and activity completion more granularly (rather than only reporting not started, in progress and complete)

Status
colourGreen
titleIn Progress

10360 feedback

Two frequently requested improvements are being made:

  • Support for self evaluation
  • Development of a 360 feedback report source

Status
colourRed
titleRequirements

11Moodle 3.1/3.2 integrationUseful improvements from Moodle 3.1 and 3.2 will be cherry-picked into the platform. StatuscolourBluetitleCOMPLETE

Future areas of focus

Next Short Term Horizon (July 2017 - Oct 2017)

These items will be having requirements and designs defined to potentially be delivered in the July- Oct time frame:

AreaApproach

Graphical reports in report builder

MATURITY

Review usability of aggregation and graphing and start re-design to make it simple

Replace existing graphing solution with a modern Javascript implementation

Performance Management

MATURITY

Provide a way to allow users who are not directly involved in the appraisal to access/view the appraisal.

Standardise Suspended and Deleted users

Status
titleMaturity

Make the behaviour of suspended and deleted users consistent across the system

UI Kit

EXTENSION

A UI Kit would improve the efficiency of front end development for both the Totara Team and Partners developing customisations. Investing in this capability early will deliver efficiency in later development cycles and improves our ability to deliver better UX/accessibility.

Delivering an improvement by using the UI kit prototype will prove the approach has value and we can then adopt this approach for future developments.

Medium Term Horizon (After Nov 2017)

To be reviewed at the next PAB to confirm priority.

Items identified as being the next most important areas for us to develop will move into the "Next Short Term Horizon" group where requirements and design will start.

AreaApproach

Course Catalogue

MATURITY

Implement a new catalog along the lines of the prototype that has been shared previously. The catalog is one of the highest traffic areas of any site. Improving this area will have one of the largest impacts on the user experience of Totara Learn and provide an experience of browsing for content with modern media-rich elements.

Course, program and certification pages

MATURITY

Simplify the visual design of how learning through course, programs and certifications is presented, making progress though content and what to next clear.

Add virtual classroom as a concept with similar capabilities to seminar activities

EXTENSION

Develop a framework for setting up an activity as a webinar and API's for partners to create specific integrations for multiple webinar providers

Disclaimer

We continually revisit the relative priority of items in our backlog and sometimes features are not developed because:

  • something else in the backlog is given a higher priority due to changing market needs
  • in assessing the new feature, a bunch of pre-work is needed to build it the way we would like and we will do that first
  • the change is much bigger than we originally thought, we need to break it down into smaller developments and deliver smaller feature improvements over time to get to the same end point.

The information presented here is intended to outline general product direction and should not be used to make purchasing decisions.

The content is for informational purposes only and may not be included in any contract.

The information presented is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code or functionality within a defined timeframe.

Any references to the development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for these products remains at Totara Learning's sole discretion.

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