I like to think SolarWinds has a pretty solid corporate sense of humor, especially surrounding that little four-letter word: GDPR. From the placard on the door of my boss's office reading "GDPR Readiness Valedictorian" to the various satirical Game of Thrones "GDPR is Coming" knockoff stickers you can find in various cubes, it's hard to miss the ominous feeling.
Don't feel dread, get read...y. Get ready. GDPR doesn't have to be painful, but it's also safe to say it can't be a one-size-fits-all solution. What you need to do is get yourself a plan. Plans solve problems, prevent breakdowns in communication, and (most importantly) cover you, your community, and your company's **bleep** in the scenario that you do eventually come across a request to be forgotten, or a request for data portability.
Oh, yeah, those. If you're catching up on the Geedz (pronounced "jeedz" - it's something only I call GDPR, but feel free to help it catch on), the General Data Protection Regulation entitles European Union citizens to certain rights with their data. Of which, thinks like the right to be forgotten and the right to data portability are covered.
Now, in the words of any good Texan, "I ain't got no legal expertise, so y'all will want to consult yer company legal teams on this."
To me, there are a couple of steps you can go through to make this easier than starting from scratch:
Meet with your company's legal team. They're busy people, but they'll appreciate you being proactive about this. As with all laws, GDPR is up to interpretation. Some companies will opt to read the law in its strictest form, some may be a little lax. Your legal team will be able to give you guidance as to how your company will comply.
Complete a discovery and write everything down. What systems are you using? What private information do those systems capture and store?
Educate yourself on how Lithium is helping us prepare in their ongoing development of the Lithium JX product. Here's a thread with some details.
Make a plan. Given how your company wants to comply with GDPR, what systems you're using, and what information those systems have, how are you going to comply with the various facets of GDPR? If you want an example of a plan, I posted mine here for you.
I guess you can party, at this point.
I know this isn't migration-related, but I hate seeing y'all suffer. Welcome to 'compliance'!
Ben Garves THWACK Community SolarWinds
... View more
I know this is going to be your least-favorite answer, but... I feel like communities are so personalized, UAT ends up being a process you have to build specifically for your community. What I do is take a snapshot of my webmap, write out basic acceptance criteria, and test a ratio of parent and child pages, by page type, until I have a personal level of comfort with deploying the work. Yes, it sounds miserable. Yes, it is miserable. Yes, it's something that makes my old SaaS Project Manager self get the willies, and no, it's not even remotely the way I'd run it on a more conventional system. The reason I recommend unconventional is because communities aren't conventional. They're huge, they're disparate, and they're under-staffed. It'll be nobody's favorite task, but a webmap may be your best bet.
... View more
There comes a time in every man/woman/undefined's life when we succumb to the masochists who fill the desks in our accounting departments and set our annual budgets. I'm using the term "masochist" with adoration. These people sign my paychecks.
#TheGreatMigration is no exception. SolarWinds has always been incredibly generous in ensuring we have enough budget to continually grow and develop our THWACK community. Not all companies are as generous - either they struggle with the concept of a community investment having significant ROI, or they believe a community is a one-time cost during setup, takes only meager moderation efforts, and can self-sustain itself until the end of time.
Even in our current state of abundance, we have to make some tough quarterly decisions on just what should be prioritized in our development budget.
What's more valuable? Allowing a user to open a support case from the community, or driving one of our biggest community engagement initiatives of the year? What's more critical? Solving a bug affecting blog posts, or doing A/B testing to determine if a new feature is worth spending money on?
Here's one place I've failed: I set a goal every six months to do the work necessary to modernize THWACK into a mobile-first experience. Is it critical? No. Is it valuable? Yes. Does my boss want it? Yes. Does my boss's boss want it? Super yes.
Have I delivered it? ...no.
Well then, how do I ever go about prioritizing the budget it takes to migrate my community? It's not easy. You have to say 'no' to things. In the same way you pinch pennies your professional life in order to live it up in retirement, it's a time and effort investment that will pay off. We watched Jive and Lithium go head-to-head for years in the external community space. When all the chips were down and it came time to show cards, Jive sold out, and Lithium doubled-down. It's only a matter of time before the Lithium platform grows exponentially out of the tier it currently shares with the JiveX-turned-Lithium JX product.
It's always going to have it's pain points, but I'd rather be at the bleeding edge of technology than be the community that couldn't catch up. So I make the cuts. I say "no" to feature requests. I do the work.
Who else out there is struggling to build a budget for their switch? What kind of cool features are losing out to your migrations? What kind of cool features are taking priority over a migration? I'm excited to hear what you think!
... View more
I'll be honest, Lithy, I missed you last week. Things went a little crazy on our creative side, so I found myself working on some cool deployment projects instead of writing for my favorite blog.
What's new? I'm glad you've asked! You'll notice the next entry of this blog has changed to a new name, #MigrationMondays. That being said, this week I'm making this much less about migration and figured I'd share one of my favorite initiatives we run each year on the THWACK community.
March is coming, and we all know what that means. March Madness!
A few years ago, some genius at SolarWinds (not taking credit, I wasn't event here at the time) decided it would be cool to let the community participate in a Bracket Battle of it's own. They picked a category, set up a bracket of people in that theme, put up polls for each matchup, and launched. Since then, we've done a number of battles, from Sci-Fi to Villains, Captains to Sidekicks. We're all super excited for this year, but our category is still hush-hush for a few more weeks.
Want to see who won each category? You can peek using the links below. Spoiler alert: our community is a bunch of geeks. We use that term lovingly.
2016: Oh Captain, My Captain
Conceptually, setting these up is super simple in Lithium JX. You have a graphics-savvy employee build a bracket image and deploy vote buttons, which lead to specific polls where users can vote on each matchup. Once you close a specific round of voting (polls can be scheduled to close and open at specific times), you post vote links to the next round of polls, where users vote on only the winners of the previous round. On, and on, until you users have once again made sure yet another Star Wars character wins. Four years in a row.
Whatever we do, we'll make sure no Star Wars characters are in the brackets this year. *evil laugh*
This year I've worked hard in moving our static image to HTML and CSS, so we can have a responsive bracket that looks good 100% of the time. Warning: Not for the faint of heart or the faint of code.
To be honest, we haven't conceptualized what this will look like in Lithium when we migrate next year, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.
By the way, Lithy, I'm out next week for some snow time in Eastern Washington State. I wish you the best, and can't wait to write another post when I'm back. Behave yourselves out there!
Ben Garves THWACK Community SolarWinds
... View more