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Release Management Feedback

adrian_vlzkzadrian_vlzkz Member Posts: 143 PRO
edited August 2019 in Data management
Based on another closed discussion, wanted to create a space to share our experience, ideas, concerns and everything Release Management. Per @philip_thomas comments on that other thread, I started to think why is it so challenging to accept the proposed irrelevance of Document level versioning; well I believe is because everything about Onshape currently is Document-Centric. From the UI at the home level, to the training content and so on.

In order to accept/embrace this approach, IMHO we need some drastic updates that are Release-Centric. My first idea/proposal is to add a "Releases" home tab at the forefront of Onshape, that would let use visualize in a "Contains" and "Where-Used" basis. Additionally, from the Documents tab we should be able to navigate the Document Structure without having to open the Document, in there, you should also be able to see Release Status for the elements contained.






Please chime in...
Adrian V.
CAD Engineering Manager
«1

Comments

  • adrian_vlzkzadrian_vlzkz Member Posts: 143 PRO
    edited August 2019
    Additionally in the Document details pane, we could see. What external Documents are linked (referenced) to the selected one, and what any outgoing links to other Documents. 


    Adrian V.
    CAD Engineering Manager
  • michael_bromleymichael_bromley Member Posts: 110 PRO
    Thanks for putting all the time into this and I agree that this is a topic that needs some more attention.  I'll think on this some more and read through it again later to provide more valuable feedback. 
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,055 PRO
    Definitely needs attention, I really want improvements in this area. So much potential. Thanks putting up your idea's, not an easy topic. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 350 PRO
    @adrian_vlzkz - I really like the mockup you put together! Good stuff.

    One additional bit of info that I would add to your suggestions is more prominent part numbers in the UI. I need those unique identifiers visible so that they can be useful. I can only come up with so many different variants of "axle" or "wheel" before the names stop being useful and just add to the confusion. 
  • adrian_vlzkzadrian_vlzkz Member Posts: 143 PRO
    edited August 2019

    One additional bit of info that I would add to your suggestions is more prominent part numbers in the UI. I need those unique identifiers visible so that they can be useful. I can only come up with so many different variants of "axle" or "wheel" before the names stop being useful and just add to the confusion. 
    Agree, I believe this goes with my Idea of a more Release-Centric UI, in your case Part-Centric, but same concept. It difficult to digest the idea that Version "Don't Matter", when they are the only way we have to access our Parts, Drawings and Assemblies. In a Managed Environment I believe Documents need to take the back seat, maybe something like what be get when you search for Parts, Assemblies and Drawings only:


     
    This is better in my opinion, but currently there's no way to add columns to the results. We need to be able to see more Metadata in this results.
    Adrian V.
    CAD Engineering Manager
  • Michael_CoffeeMichael_Coffee Member Posts: 87 ✭✭
    I'm a little confused about what you mean. Are we talking about improvements to the current system of release management inside of Onshape, or are we talking about a change in the system itself? Changing the system itself was discussed recently (see link below), so I'll leave my two cents in that thread and not rehash it here.


    I wouldn't say "Versions Don't Matter", because obviously they are important, but they are simply a means of capturing the data (model, drawing, etc) in a document at a particular point in time. What is done with that data is when releases come in, when manufacturing begins, and so on. Saying otherwise implies they aren't important, when they are, but I can see why it was said. It has less to do with the mindset of "I need to keep track of this" and more of it being the "nature state" of the program. It's meant to imply that it is a log of your data. Just like how one checks out a book from the library, a log is kept of when and whom. Whether we do anything with it is up to us.

    I do like the idea of a "Releases" tab being implemented. My thought process is if you click on the document, the detail view would list the releases, when they were done, and by whom. Maybe also a preview capacity where you click that release and see it. It'd be clean, straight forward, and not require us to complete open the document. 

    As for a "Where-used" capacity, I feel this is long overdue. I imagine how it will work will probably not mesh with every company, and that might be the reason for the delay. Ultimately, however, Onshape needs one. It will be appear simple, I have no doubt, but the code may be extensive.

    I believe we can all agree, by virtue of our professions, we are detail orient individuals. Par for the course when it comes to forums such as this, we must be that with our words, and so, for-your-information, if I don't understand what you are saying, I'm going to ask you to clarify. By that same extension, we should all do that with each other. If we don't understand, ask.
  • adrian_vlzkzadrian_vlzkz Member Posts: 143 PRO


    Question:-
    Could we have an open source language, similar to featurescript, that allows us to run queries against our data and build graphical user interfaces?

    Yes please!  :)
    Adrian V.
    CAD Engineering Manager
  • adrian_vlzkzadrian_vlzkz Member Posts: 143 PRO
    @owen_sparks but that I think about it, that already exists... the Analytics in Enterprise are powered by looker. If I remember correctly they (Onshape) had mentioned Analytics would be customizable, so we just need access to that.

    https://looker.com/solutions/operation-logistics


    Adrian V.
    CAD Engineering Manager
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 350 PRO
    @owen_sparks - Yes! I want that! I was thinking that I would be happy if I could just use my own SQL type queries to pull data into tables. I'm sure there are many technical challenges in setting something like that up, but the end result of being able to query my data in a format that makes sense for me at that time would be very powerful. I like your analogy to FeatureScript, since it could function in a similar way - allowing users to experiment and develop features that could later be refined and implemented into the product. 
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 350 PRO
    @adrian_vlzkz - I went back to see what Onshape is pitching for the enterprise level and I see the analytics you're talking about.

    What's a little worrisome to me, is it appears they're blending the lines between analytics about "activities" and analytics about "CAD data". I don't much care how much time has been spent on which model, but I very much care where the most recent revision of a certain part number is. The former makes sense in a large enterprise perhaps, but the the latter is very much a core CAD/Data Management functionality that should be available to Pro users, at least. 

    This blog post shows the enterprise release dashboard, which looks like it would address many issues discussed in this thread (and others):
    https://www.onshape.com/cad-blog/5-examples-of-engineering-reports-that-can-improve-your-business
  • adrian_vlzkzadrian_vlzkz Member Posts: 143 PRO
    @owen_sparks - Yes! I want that! I was thinking that I would be happy if I could just use my own SQL type queries to pull data into tables. I'm sure there are many technical challenges in setting something like that up, but the end result of being able to query my data in a format that makes sense for me at that time would be very powerful. I like your analogy to FeatureScript, since it could function in a similar way - allowing users to experiment and develop features that could later be refined and implemented into the product. 
    We need DataScript! (Not sure id that terms is used already in Development)
    Adrian V.
    CAD Engineering Manager
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,055 PRO
    With release management as I am using it I am finding heaps of things I'd love to see improved, I've discussed a lot of these here on the forum and appreciate others input too and hopefully, this will help the developers get release management to where it needs to be. @lougallo what's the best way we should we be adding feedback and improvement request for release management?  I have not added been adding improvement request in for voting but will do if this is helpful. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • adrian_vlzkzadrian_vlzkz Member Posts: 143 PRO
    With release management as I am using it I am finding heaps of things I'd love to see improved, I've discussed a lot of these here on the forum and appreciate others input too and hopefully, this will help the developers get release management to where it needs to be. @lougallo what's the best way we should we be adding feedback and improvement request for release management?  I have not added been adding improvement request in for voting but will do if this is helpful. 
    My intent is also to provide "Real-World" feedback on how a team would interact with the tool. From my perspective it feels that everything in Onshape is very well though out from the technical (software) side of things, and works really nice for a single-user or few users collaborating where there's plenty of communication outside of the tool (in-person).

    In my experience larger teams tent to talk less to each other and expect the system to provide enough information to not have to talk to each other, with Onshape I'm seeing a lot of room for improvement with Release Management in terms of being intuitive and for users to be self-sufficient finding what they need.
    Adrian V.
    CAD Engineering Manager
  • Michael_CoffeeMichael_Coffee Member Posts: 87 ✭✭
    adrian_vlzkz said: My intent is also to provide "Real-World" feedback on how a team would interact with the tool. From my perspective it feels that everything in Onshape is very well though out from the technical (software) side of things, and works really nice for a single-user or few users collaborating where there's plenty of communication outside of the tool (in-person).

    In my experience larger teams tent to talk less to each other and expect the system to provide enough information to not have to talk to each other, with Onshape I'm seeing a lot of room for improvement with Release Management in terms of being intuitive and for users to be self-sufficient finding what they need.
    Onshape can only work with the information we give it. The term "real-world" is subjective with each industry, but the process of extracting information out of Onshape sounds more akin to a data management program than a modeling software. That's just my two cents after reading everything so far, and that might be the answer for some people. 
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,055 PRO
    One of my frustration after switching a document over to release is losing the ability to navigate a document from the tree while remaining as working in progress, I use this all the time to find things rather than navigating tabs but once we change to a release there is no way to quickly open on the main. I would like to be able RBM and open a part at the main. 

     
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,055 PRO
    Another improvement I'd like to see is a black triangle on drawings. 


    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • michael_bromleymichael_bromley Member Posts: 110 PRO
    @brucebartlett I absolutely agree on both accounts.  I understand why the navigation is the way it is, but it is definitely cumbersome to use.
  • owen_sparksowen_sparks Member, Developers Posts: 2,660 PRO
    edited September 2019
    Hi All.
    Ok, so Documents have Revisions and Components have Versions, right? Wrong...
    To this day I still get these wrong :(  Frequently.
    How about we make this a clearer distinction? 
    To our company "Version" and "Revision" are already in our day to day vocabulary and are interchangeable... 
    I propose a document save point be renamed to something different.  A "History Node" or some such. 
    Cheers, Owen S.

    Business Systems and Configuration Controller
    HWM-Water Ltd
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,055 PRO
    Another one for me is, when working with released parts in an assembly, the black triangle doesn't tell you it comes from a different part studio to the one you are working, this could be a handy bit of info when attempting a switch back to main node. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,055 PRO
    Working on a document with release management again today and asking myself why I bother, I am sorry but it's really frustrating trying to get drawings out when you're under pressure and trying to do all the releasing and switching and then finding your drawing only to have to export to dropbox because it just too hard for others to find the released drawing in Onshape. I really want to use release but the process to get a drawing released is far too slow, I hope some of these workflows are being looked at to increase productivity especially around the release and access to drawings. 
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • owen_sparksowen_sparks Member, Developers Posts: 2,660 PRO
    We have a view only mode, perhaps we should have a mode that can only see released stuff?
    Business Systems and Configuration Controller
    HWM-Water Ltd
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 350 PRO
    I agree with having a view for only released stuff. I will give Onshape devs some credit though, they have made it easier to see released parts (and their part numbers) in the search results.

    While it's technically possible to limit search results to released stuff, even when sharing a search page link as a shortcut or something, I could see it being potentially confusing for a newbie or occasional user (someone on the shop floor that just needs to pull up the most recent released drawing for PN12345).
  • Michael_CoffeeMichael_Coffee Member Posts: 87 ✭✭

    Working on a document with release management again today and asking myself why I bother, I am sorry but it's really frustrating trying to get drawings out when you're under pressure and trying to do all the releasing and switching and then finding your drawing only to have to export to dropbox because it just too hard for others to find the released drawing in Onshape. I really want to use release but the process to get a drawing released is far too slow, I hope some of these workflows are being looked at to increase productivity especially around the release and access to drawings. 
    Can you give us an idea of your workflow?
  • TimRiceTimRice Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 277
    We have a view only mode, perhaps we should have a mode that can only see released stuff?
    Would you imagine this being a company wide role? Like Light users in an enterprise?
    Tim Rice | User Experience | Support 
    Onshape, Inc.
  • tim_hess427tim_hess427 Member Posts: 350 PRO
    @TimRice - I know you're not asking me specifically, but I imagine a hard-coded 'filter' like "Recently Opened", "Created by me", "Shared with me", etc. There could be a "Released Items" section.

    Everybody would be able to see this section, but certain users (but not all light users) could be restricted to only the "released items". The guy on the shop floor might be restricted to released items. An engineering director (who might be a light user?) wouldn't need to be restricted, because they still may need to view work-in-progress, but not edit things. 

    I think its also worth exploring whether the "released items" section ignores document structure as well. Just show the individual drawings/parts/assemblies and let me search by PN, name, tag, and other properties.
  • owen_sparksowen_sparks Member, Developers Posts: 2,660 PRO
    TimRice said:
    We have a view only mode, perhaps we should have a mode that can only see released stuff?
    Would you imagine this being a company wide role? Like Light users in an enterprise?
    I've not looked at enterprise yet (it's slipped to my Jan to-do list) but I could certainty see a scenario where a company admin sets a user's priveledges to "released only". 

    Also whilst we're chatting a way to make a hyperlink to a document direct to the "latest release" rather than a specific release would be very welcome.

    Cheers, Owen S.
    Business Systems and Configuration Controller
    HWM-Water Ltd
  • romeograhamromeograham Member Posts: 471 PRO
    edited December 2019
    I think there could be some value in seeing all the Released Items in a particular document. I find that my Latest Released parts often take several releases to get done (see @brucebartlett 's various well-documented frustrations)..so the "latest, valid, Released" parts are strewn over several Revisions, often over quite a bit of time. Especially if I've released most parts  (say, two months ago) but had to update one or 2 of them this week - I want to surface only the correct and relevant (Latest) Revision of each of those parts, regardless of the Release date.

    And while we're at it, please surface different Released Configurations somehow. Right now, it's not clear that there's another configuration that is released...

  • romeograhamromeograham Member Posts: 471 PRO
    My goodness, going through this process is a real challenge.

    I have:
    top level assembly
    >Sub Assembly 2
    >>Sub Assembly 1
    >>>part (with drawing)

    To update & release the part and drawing, I have to do 4 (four! or even 5 if I mess it up) Release operations (I think). 

    Currently, I try to have all Sub Assemblies and parts in an assembly as Released revisions (because I need to share the top level assembly with suppliers and want ALL of the parts to be Revisions). This means, though, that I have to
    1. edit the part; release it.
    2. Go to Sub Assembly 1. Update the part to the new Revision...then release Sub Assembly 1.
    3. Go to Sub Assembly 2. Update the Sub Assembly 1 to the new Revision. Then release Sub Assembly 2.
    4. Go to the top level assembly. Update the Sub Assembly 2 to the new Revision. Then release Top Level assembly.
    5. Release the drawings of the parts (after Changing to the new Revision of the parts).
    (What I did this time, thinking that I'd be able to combine some steps is: change the Sub Assemblies (1 & 2) to Workspace Versions first. Then Updated subassy 1's parts to Revisions. Then tried to release Top Level Assembly (and also released each sub assembly - yay!). BUT this doesn't give me a top level assembly with all Released Parts and Sub Assemblies in it!!! The Top Level assembly is Released, but (because they were workspace versions when I released them) the Sub Assemblies are still versions! NOT Revsions, like I want. Now I have to go to my Workspace, change all the Sub Assemblies to Revisions, then (and only then) Release my Top Level Assembly.

    Consider that to release 1 part that is 3 levels down in an assembly that I have to do 4 - 5 Releases just to end up with a proper Released Top Level assembly (and drawings) to share with suppliers. And that's only if I don't make a mistake along the way!!

    As @brucebartlett said in December..."...asking myself why I bother...", it's really a tough slog to keep things in order. 

    I'm sure there are many good reasons that this is the way it is, and I'm not entirely sure what I think it should do...but I guess an answer could be: When I have an assembly that is full of Revisions of parts and Sub Assemblies: If I update the revision of a part, and then release the top level assembly: ONSHAPE SHOULD CORRECTLY CASCADE THE RELEASES ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP LEVEL ASSEMBLY. I think it's very clear which assemblies need to be Released: "did something inside me change? Then I need to become a new Revision!"

    Anyone have a great solution or smooth workflow for this? Am I missing something?

  • romeograhamromeograham Member Posts: 471 PRO
    ...and to top it off, now I have various releases strewn about over the last 5 release nodes in my Versions & History Tree....
    (this is why we need a "show me all the Latest Released items in this document" filter).
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