SaaS Release Experience - NodeSource

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SaaS Release Experience

Last week we had a successful launch of our new SaaS version of N|Solid, making it possible for millions of developers to leverage the powerful insights and security that Enterprise self-hosted companies have experienced for years from NodeSource. I couldn’t be more proud of the great work our team put in to make this (and so many other product advances) happen. Beyond the accomplishment of the release (read more here) what I want to share is how the experience of the release was incredibly impactful - the best release experience I have ever had!

I have been launching software since the late 90’s and have long since lost track of how many releases I have been a part of. Back in the day, the process was often filled with fear that it would break, especially if we were updating something. As technology, software development, and DevOps has matured, that fear has largely gone away. Now, the butterflies of anticipation of bringing something we created into the wild are always there, that will never change.

What Made the Release Special

What happened last week was different on so many levels and had everything to do with my team. You see, NodeSource doesn’t just have some of the best and brightest and most committed people to Node.js, it has some of the kindest, most creative people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. You can feel it in any video from Liz Parody (here is one of my favs), when Adrian is making sure team members take time off, or when Juan makes a presentation that is just so, well Juan.

The day before the release, our head of engineering slacked Jayco and I to let us know he had a plan for the release event, a team event that would be a little “different”.

The team is spread across the globe and we have been a remote team since we acquired the company back in 2019. Google Hangouts and Slack are central tools for us, but Adrian had another idea in mind. He and some of the team worked to create an 8-bit workspace in Gather, with different meeting areas and of course our logo. After selecting our avatar we joined and “gathered” at the main conference table. Yes, the tool was super cool, and I look forward to using it again, but the people were the stars of the day.

After chatting and getting familiar with Gather, we began the release process. Ivan announced he was kicking off the deployment scripts, and the team cheered - and kept chatting. We had 3 birthdays in the team this week on top of the release so there was a lot to celebrate. Next, we pushed the documentation live, then the website. Once we heard it was live we all rushed to see it, more cheers!

Houston, we have a problem

Next was the announcement on Twitter and Linkedin, time to let the world know we have launched SaaS! Everyone went to their socials to see the announcement, I think there is always at least one issue with every major launch, and sure enough we had one, an error 404 on the link from the posts. The team quickly realized the issue and we fixed it, just a little hiccup on our way to being fully live. We did it! All that hard work was realized in a moment.

It wasn’t long before we had our first tweet, this time from a former NodeSourcer @brycebaril “Congratulations! It brings a tear to my eye to see this finally happening, I hope you all celebrate!” - awesome to have past team members continue to support us!

Next up was checking out the rest of our virtual office, where we could engage with other team members 1:1, play a hand of poker, or join a group conversation by entering one of the special areas.

The whole experience was perfectly NodeSource, great work with great people all working together, playing together, across the world.

What’s Next?

While I can’t wait to see the team in person again (we had an offsite just a month before the pandemic hit) there are a few I have yet to meet in person due to the pandemic. From that event I have great memories of cooking for them, laughing by the fire pit, walking on the beach and playing rounds of Super Smash Bros. They are smart, silly, fun, creative and really interesting humans who continue to surprise me.

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