As a Management Consultant, I routinely use a quality process of procedures and checklists for software installs. After having said that, most involve just a small set of procedural notes, if any at all. Some of the more extensive installs have a checklist to follow. I frequently try out new apps, extensions, and services. With that, I rarely go over a year without starting over on a clean system. The purpose of this is to reduce future issues. A secondary purpose is having an assured form of quality control.
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Procedures and checklists don’t have to be any certain size, and can be very small. In my past management work, one example of an important scenario involved about 14 pages of procedural steps and checklists for all IT staff to follow. The shortest checklist, involving no procedures, was about 3 steps.
This article utilizes an example of a Visual Studio 2019 quality install process. It can be easily adaptable to other application installations. Reduce future issues by having your own control process.
Start with a Clean System to Reduce Future Problems
Starting over with a clean system is best determined by a seasoned developer or manager. The operating system will have its own quality install process and is usually a major effort with a high impact on resources. Therefore, decide if you really need a new or clean system. Review this example list. Usually 3 or more is plenty of justification.
- A year of operating system patches and updates
- A year of several key apps patches and updates
- Many apps installed and removed
- Lots of configuration changes
- To ensure a clean security platform
- Others have used the virtual development system
- You might want to keep a system separated from other “typical” work.
The development team will appreciate the work done to reduce future issues.
The Start of a Having a Quality Install Process
Often, a quality process will involve creating a checklist of installation steps and procedures to adhere to. The procedures and checklists should allow for some flexibility. Regardless, there often will be cultural resistance if this is something new to the organization. With that said, it will be questioned as to why it’s considered a part of development. Therefore, as a part of all project management, it’s best understood as being a pre-cursor to development. It’s best to market it in advance.
Find someone on the team who is skilled in technical writing or who understands the need to reduce future issues. You can offer it as a guide, in the beginning. Keep these “guides” focused on the apps that are problematic already with users or IT staff.
After several of the needed guides exist, it often will begin to have a life of its own that others will follow. An article, “5 Ways to Reduce Reworks and Errors“, explains the need for having a quality process in place. Ultimately, you will reduce future issues with the more people on board with this concept.
Example Quality Install Process: Visual Studio 2019
Here is an example of a small quality process of the installation of Visual Studio 2019 Professional. With that said, it will involve a simple set of procedures that includes easy-to-follow checklists. Subsequently, it will entail these sequential phases:
- Initial Startup
- Settings Changes
Start by running the file “vs_setup.exe“. Then, this will install the “installer” and will prompt for a list of options to install. After that occurs, choose these options.
- ASP.Net and Web Development
- .Net Desktop Development
- Data storage and processing
- You will be prompted with choosing one install option. When that occurs, choose “Download all, then install”. This is a networked install that already has all the needed files available for this installation.
- Click <Install>. Then, the downloading will proceed by analyzing what needed files are available in the networked installation files path. Soon after this, the actual installation will begin. The installation time is somewhat lengthy and can be over an hour.
After it’s installed, it will prompt for 1 or more options.
- If you see an option to reboot, then you MUST choose to reboot.
- If you seen an option is to choose a visual development interface, you can pick one but only after a post-install reboot option has been completed.
- Add shortcuts of “Visual Studio xxxx” to Windows® START. Then, repeat this for the Taskbar.
Start “Visual Studio” for the first time. Then, respond to the prompts as shown here:
- Account login or creation: “Not now. Maybe later.”
- Development Settings: “Web Development”
- Screen options of Open recent and Get started: <continue without code>.
Check for latest updates of this app as well as for Windows® operating system.
This will change the default path settings. They’re all important.
Go to menu item “Tools | Options”. Then, in the left pane, select “Environment | Import & Export Settings“. Then, modify paths to use current version references.
- D:\Docs\Development\Visual Studio 2019\settings\16.xxx\CurrentSettings.vssettings.
- Check to see if there exists a previous settings saved to the networked path. If it exists, import those settings now and just verify the remaining settings changes below match correctly.
Go to menu item “Tools | Options”. Then, in the left pane, select “Projects & Solutions | Locations“. Here are the changes to make.
- “Projects location” to be: D:\Docs\Development\Visual Studio 2019\source\repos
- “User project template location” to be: D:\Docs\Development\Visual Studio 2019\Templates\ProjectTemplates
- “User Item templates location” to be: D:\Docs\Development\Visual Studio 2019\Templates\ItemTemplates
- Don’t create any new projects yet. If this is the first time opening this app anywhere on this system:
- Ensure paths have now been all changed
- Confirm the original path items (including their folders) have been copied over to the newly changed destination paths just made. However, if these items already exist on the networked paths, don’t overwrite them, and cancel the copy.
Go to menu item “Tools | Options”. Then, in the left pane, select “Web Forms Designer | General“. Then, here are the changes to make.
- “Start Pages in” to be: Design View
Go to menu item “Tools | Options”. Then, in the left pane, select “Database Tools | Data Connection“. Then, here are the changes to make.
- If applicable, “SQL Server instance name” is entered here.
Export the latest settings out via menu item “Tools | Import & Export Settings”.
Usage: Maintain Reduction of Future Issues
You can now use the software in its development environment. Report any recommended or needed changes in the future.
Of course, as things change, the need for modifying the procedural document and checklists will occur. This especially occurs after updates and patches have revealed new installation prompts and configurations. However, the idea of maintaining a quality process plan of installing an app is unfortunately going to be the most neglected area.
Anyone should be able to report issues or needed changes with the quality install process in place. This is one way of how you can maintain it to reduce future issues, which is your ultimate goal. So, if you don’t have a change process in place, you can begin by keeping it simple and easy for staff to merely report needed changes to the document owner. After any document updates, you can then ensure it’s available to all. With that being done, it’s usually available at a single location.
Hopefully, this article has given some insight into the future reduction of issues by having your own quality process of installing software. To read another example of a more complex installation of software, involving the reset of a NAS, click here to read “Improve NAS Performance: Reset QNAP NAS“.