Continue the discussion on IUG enhancement changes

On 12/18/2023, IUG announced with Innovative changes to the enhancement process for IUG members. If you missed the session, watch this thread for a :tv: video recording and grab the slide deck.

Reply to this post to ask additional questions and IUG Steering Committee members will work on getting answers.

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The first question that came to my mind is how will this process accommodate enhancements related to lesser used system features?

Back in the Idea Lab days we always struggled with how an enhancement idea related, for example course reserves in Sierra, could ever succeed when the academic members who strongly support it would never be able to have enough votes to compete with, say a circulation feature used by all the public libraries.


Agreed. Perhaps an expanded clarification on, as you are one site with one vote, how many votes will be given to that site towards the various modules / areas/ contractual functionality? And further, as Jeremy says, if only 20 of us have reserve bookroom, how do we ensure reserve isn’t left behind in favor of self-placed holds?

Thanks, Jeremy!



I had a question about the enhancements that are already in Idea Exchange and have been selected for development (or at least I think that’s what “Future Possibilities” means). I know for a fact there are some enhancements in there that came over from the Idea Lab, they’re marked for Future Possibilities, and still don’t have any timetable or real commitment for development. Will any of those garner a commitment for development and implementation?


Also for those areas with smaller user bases, how to make sure those users are represented within the working group? Sierra contains multitudes and sub products and the like and while I can claim to have expertise with it there are giant portions I know nothing about as they are not a part of our local configuration.


Likewise the upcoming ideas on the product board that are going back to the Exchange. On the Sierra side I’m pretty sure a few of those were Idea Lab winners, so they’ve already had a chance to go through a prioritization exercise run by IUG and came out on top. I understand that being done pre the new contractual agreement but it’s still less than ideal to make them have to find success a second time.


Here is the slide deck from the meeting, we’re still waiting for the video upload to finish.

This process is not explicitly designed to address this issue. Working Groups would need to take this into consideration as they select the ideas for pointing. It is one of the reasons Working Groups and their library make-up will be so important to this process.

However, ultimately getting the process through the final expenditure of voting points will require someone to champion and lobby hard for the value of the feature, particularly those areas with low usage as it often indicates limited market interest. Not impossible, but it will take hard work and also maybe lots of M&M bribes.

At this stage there is no plan to break out the voting process by module. The selection for pointing and the final allocation of points will be performed at the product level as shown by the Working Group signup areas. That isn’t to say it can’t be done, but that would be at the discretion of the steering committee and Working Group.

As a reminder, this is NOT the exclusive way new features can be developed. There are still lots of other ways new features can make it into the product. It is just that ideas that make it through the process will have certain delivery and communication guarantees associated with them.

It was a trade off the IUG Steering Committee had to make. Otherwise, we would be waiting until 2026 (or later) before any ideas from this new process would come to fruition.

For better or worse, I had a boss that would once say to me “Wes, if you’ve had to wait over a year for something to be done is it really as important as __________ (insert other priority here) - is it ever going to get done?”

I think the good news is that we are talking about a very limited set of ideas that would be moving back. We’re still working on getting that final list out there.

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Will there be a steering group size limit? Too large and they become so cumbersome nothing gets done. Too small and maybe there isn’t proper diversity.

Can more than one member of an organization be on a steering committee? I would like my circulation supervisor to be in the Sierra group (since that is the only group) but as site contact, with the vote, I need to be in there too. Is there a possibility of a group overloading the steering committee.


Is it too late to throw a name for this out there?

Library Idea Exchange Alliance … LIEA (because it’s I before E of course :wink: )

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Hopefully for the working groups that span both Sierra and Polaris will be evenly divided (as well as public vs. academic, consortia vs. smaller, etc.). The IUG Steering Committee itself seems heavily weighed towards Polaris, so hope that there are enough Sierra reps involved (no offense to the Polaris folks, btw).


In the Idea Exchange, will there be a way to distinguish minor from major enhancement requests?

For example, in the Idea Lab, I asked for one HTML change to one Polaris Language Editor String to be included as a default. This would take less than a minute for a Polaris programmer to copy/paste/save into the string.

Specifically, for “PACMLPAYMENTBILLINGCSC_1017”, add a red asterisk for the CVV with this HTML:

< font size=“3” color=“#9B3131” style=“font-weight:bold;” > * < /font > Card Security Code

Easy! But my idea was closed with a request to choose another payment system. We simply needed a bold red asterisk to convey the CVV was required, which I accomplished with the above HTML.

If only 20 major enhancements are permitted, perhaps 50 minor enhancements should be permitted? Perhaps the qualifying criteria for “minor” would be that it could be accomplished in less than 10 minutes, due to a clear, simple, instructions. No research necessary. That would be a total of about 8 hours of effort, one day, for a single programmer. 50 * 10 minutes = 8.33 hours.

Mary Miller
Fort Bend County Libraries


Thanks for the questions.

The Working Groups* for this process are planned to be between 6 and 12 people.

Yes, we would consider multiple people or the same person from an organization for participating in one or more Working Groups. If there were more people than slots available, part of the selection process might involve placing the person into only one of the Working Groups.

All site contacts who are active IUG members will be able to vote on any of the final selections. You do not need to be a member of a Working Group to vote on the final selections for that product.

Part of the Innovative pointing process helps distinguish between the sizes of requests. So, for example, in the final voting members might elect to select 5 “smaller” requests to be implemented or 1 “bigger” request.

There is a limit of 20 total ideas that the Working Groups can select to be pointed.

Always important! And made easier when we have folks from all systems letting us know they’re interested in helping. A reminder, you can do that by indicating your interest in participating in a working group.

As a Polaris library, none taken. The current split is even with four of each system type on the steering committee. But this concern is one of the reasons we recently added a provision to the bylaws to make sure both systems had good representation on the Steering Committee.

*Note: A quick note on definitions, we’ll try to work on some graphics to better represent this.

  • Steering Committee: This is IUG’s main governing body or “board”. Steering Committee members are elected through an annual process (expect to hear results from the fall elections soon). For this process the Steering Committee’s main roles are: Signing the agreement with Innovative, establishing the Working Groups, establishing a voting process.
  • Working Group: A group of 6 to 12 people, per product in the agreement, appointed by the Steering Committee to select a list of ideas to be further refined and then “pointed” by Innovative.
  • Site Contacts: One person, per IUG member organization, who will be able to cast votes on the final selection of features to be added to a product.
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Will international Sierra users be represented on the working groups? While it may be trickier with timezones, it’s important that we are represented.

In case you couldn’t join us in real-time for today’s session, the :tv: video is now available for viewing.

We look forward to IUG members from around the world :globe_with_meridians: participating in this process by signing up for a working group.

One note about the agreement is that any required localization for features cannot “count against” IUG’s development point usage.

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The only ideas that would be guaranteed a timetable based on the IUG agreement would be ones that have gone fully through all the steps of the new IUG process.

Given that Innovative will still be taking into consideration other development priorities, they may share specific release dates for other features they’ve selected to implement that were determined outside the scope of this process.


I’m finally watching the video, and I’m confused on the voting. Can anyone still vote on Idea Exchange, but only site members can vote on ideas that come out of the working groups?

Yes! Your interpretation is correct! All Innovative customers can continue to vote in Idea Exchange which is a service Innovative provides to all its customers, only IUG members can vote on the IUG Working Group selected ideas. The IUG Working Group selected ideas will have specific delivery and communication commitments from Innovative versus the general ideas in Idea Exchange.

We’ll be working on a FAQ to help outline more details of the process. All the questions are a great starting point for us on the FAQ, so keep them coming!

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Is there / can there be a list of exactly which products within Sierra are included under the contract? Sierra has had a LOT of add-ons over the years and the dividing line between what is an optional part of the system and what is fully an external product is extremely blurry. Things like Decision Center, INN-Reach, Mobile Worklists, and Encore are all in that gray area and really need some clarity to properly set expectations.


I guess they would all fall under Sierra working group.

We’ll work with Innovative to get some clarification.