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How To Stop Your Product Owners From Complaining About App Packaging Documentation

News | David Butler-McAllister | October 23, 2017 | 857 Words

Let’s just be honest for a second and come right out with it: No one likes to create app packaging documentation.

Creating the documentation is probably the most boring part of app packaging an application! So oftentimes, product owners skip through the steps half-heartedly, rushing to get through it as fast as they can, or ignore it altogether. And who can blame them? It’s hours of tedious work and it’s a pain in the neck.

How To Stop Your Product Owners From Complaining About App Packaging Documentation

But unfortunately, sloppy documentation will hurt your organization in the long-run. Proper and complete documentation helps to enforce governance across all applications, speeds up the learning curve for anyone else working with the app, makes troubleshooting easier should anything go wrong, and much more.

Because this is such an important part of successful application packaging, I want to take a few minutes today and walk you first through a typical manual documentation creation process and then contrast that with how you can automate it using Access Capture. Having packaged a good share of apps in my life, I feel your pain and hope this will inspire you to look into automating this and other steps in your application management.

Typical Manual Application Packaging Documentation Creation Process Is Tedious & Lengthy

Every larger organization approaches application packaging somewhat differently, but there are some common aspects to how you create the documentation during the application packaging process.

Typically, an application product owner within an enterprise acts more as a liaison between the IT services team and the business unit — building relationships, negotiating between the different teams, and managing and communicating trade-off decisions. He or she is responsible for mapping out an appropriate technology solution and maintaining its long-term road map. So, while they have a good technical understanding, they are usually not very technical people.

Most enterprises and larger IT teams have templates in Word format that the product owner will have to fill out, paste screenshots in and collect other relevant information, such as:

  • A list of all prerequisites and dependencies
  • App screenshots and installation video
  • Install script including any registry changes, files copy, packaging tool information, etc.
  • Licensing information
  • Any patching or uninstall scripts if needed
  • Application virtualization steps

As you can imagine, using screen captures, screen recording, and a lot of copy and paste isn’t the most efficient way to create this document — it takes hours!

How To Automate It With Access Capture

However, there is a better way that will enable even the most non-technical product owner to create complete and robust documentation within minutes — using our application packaging automation solution, Access Capture.

Doing so couldn’t be simpler. Simply walk through the actual installation process as you start your packaging process and Access Capture in ‘Discovery Mode’ will record every key stroke, relevant screenshots, and clicks to visualize the installation routine. After you have finished your installation, you can review the automatically-created documentation and add annotations and comments where additional explanation is needed.

Easy-to-Use UI, Powerful Workflow

As easy as this sounds, this process can seem daunting and highly technical to some product owners. That’s why we made the tool extremely easy-to-use even for non-technical people.

When you create documentation, you will be walked through the entire process by an easy-to-follow wizard. Should you ever get stuck, there are helpful videos and self-help instructions to point you in the right direction.

However, behind the scenes, this process is controlled by a powerful, predetermined workflow that allows you to automate most of your packaging tasks and results in complete and robust documentation every time.

Central Management Of All Relevant Application Data

But Access Capture doesn’t only streamline the documentation creation process — it also makes your application packaging process more efficient.

The automation tool manages and controls all relevant profile settings, such as regional settings, colors, and other customization, as well as application data, records, policy files and more of every product and application in one central database.

This allows you to efficiently automate your entire application packaging and testing process. In addition, you can then use this data to create a Change Management Database or complement and integrate with an existing CMDB.

Conclusion

With an average enterprise IT migration touching more than 1,500 applications and the velocity of change accelerating (just think two Windows 10 updates every year instead of one every three to five years), you can simply not afford to waste hours on packaging one application — not even to speak of creating documentation about it!

In order to be able to free up resources and budget to drive innovation and enable the Digital Business Transformation every CEO is demanding, IT organizations will have to get onto the automation bandwagon as fast as possible — and automating your application packaging and testing will significantly accelerate any IT Transformation initiative.

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