Podcast Episode 42 - This Duck is on Fire!
Let's jump in: v8!
Version 8 of Rock was released to Alpha testing a few weeks ago. Since then, we've made some changes to the code again, to prevent anything from being broken for developers. So we're repackaging Alpha in a new release and will be releasing it as a second Alpha test, hopefully by the time you are hearing this. Once it's tested there, assuming few or no issues, we'll move it into Beta testing. We don't know exactly when the final release will be; we hope it will quickly follow the conference, but it depends on how quickly we can get some rigorous testing done by the community. Assume that Beta testing will begin a week or shortly thereafter from the time this podcast is released.
So ... thank a tester from our community when you come across them! And if you want to join the ranks of testers, please drop Nick a line
It's pretty rare that we have to do a second alpha, but we try really hard not to make any breaking changes. And it's a challenge, because we also want to make sure that our code is as high-quality and elegant as possible, but we have to look at everything we do through the eyes of the ficticous personnas we've invented; so we've backed up and redone this test like we mentioned, to keep things as consistent and reliable for everyone in the ecosystem as possible.
So, what's coming up next?
Well, as we're preparing to put out a major release, we're already hard at work on the next version (v9). The major feature is Volunteer Scheduling, which is probably the most thoroughly pre-considered features we've ever added to Rock. This is a potentially huge feature- entire companies have started based on this feature. But in Rock, it's just a new feature. One that we want to get right, one that is important, but it's not what Rock does. So we want to manage expectations on this; it's not going to do everything for you. But we are excited to see how churches can leverage this new feature, to help you use Rock to manage relationships (which is what Rock is all about). And development is probably going to start in the next week, so it's an exciting time. If you're interested in this feature, check out this "issue" in GitHub
Other features will also be coming in v9 as well though. If you're interested in those, we'll be talking about some of them at RX2018
On that note,
We can't wait to share with you what has happened this year in the community, and the vision of what's coming up. We have over 60 sessions planned, and you're going to be blown away by our guest speakers. You'll hear from people on personality tests, and you'll get some hints about where we're going with that. We're going to talk about tons of technology, communications, marketing, and other items that might not be specific to Rock, but rather best industry practices in these fields. Then we'll be able to take that information and talk about how you can apply those practices using Rock. You'll hear from a Business Intelligence expert who will talk about how churches can use this information to further their missions; bringing people to Jesus and building relationships.
BUT! Don't come to the conference on your own! One person will not be able to take in the whole conference. So, bring your team because we honestly believe you just need this information. Talk about what you each get out of the sessions you attend, and schedule a real debrief when you get back home to talk about how to apply everything you've learned to your specific ministry and church, and talk with your leadership about the new tools you have to make your ministry more effective.
The other really important part of the conference, is the relationships you make with people you meet. You'll hear what other churches are using these tools for (things that aren't shared in the sessions), get some tips and be able to brainstorm with some wonderful people- all kinds of things that you just have to attend to get. This isn't just a "conference", it's an experience.
There's even some technology that we're going to be showing (and trying out in front of you) that you're going to love- beginning even at the conference check-in (hint, hint). The conference is the 19th and the 20th...do not travel on these days. Travel the day before (or even Saturday, and attend church at Southeast on Sunday), and travel out on Wednesday. Use the evenings to connect with people outside the conference.
We love the conference also, because it gives you a little visibility into the core team- we don't always get to share everything we're doing, but the conference is where we can really show you what's going on with Rock, behind the scenes.
On the topic of the core team always working furiously, you've probably seen our recent announcements about some new staff hires. Some of them have been known and planned for a while, and some have just been a natural progression. The timing isn't an indication of a lack of furious paddling; we're not sitting around while we bring them onboard. We just need to keep growing just to try and keep up with the needs of the community as it continues to grow (although we'll probably never keep up with the pace of growth of the community itself). We can't wait to show you at the conference some of the metrics of what's happened this year, even with the size of team we had for most of the year, and we can't wait to see what we can do with the team in the coming year.
Have we mentioned that you don't want to miss the conference? We've never heard anyone say that they regret coming. We only hear people say that they didn't bring enough people, or that they're sorry they missed it. Don't miss it!
These are events that occur at our headquarters three times a year. You get a lot of inside information and experience at these classes- we're always keeping our curriculum up-to-date, and the classes are led by the core team. Most organizations send 1-3 people, and that seems like a good size. Check out the schedule at rockrms.com/masterclass and let us know if you have any questions.
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