The Silverchair Platform was specifically designed to provide scholarly publishers software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform advantages with customization capabilities. Our model allows publishers to take advantage of our platform’s scalability, ability to support third-party integrations, community lift, frequent updates, and lower long-term cost of ownership, with the ability to efficiently add custom features, functionality, or interfaces to suit their particular business or mission needs. This platform model requires agile product development and management processes.

As we operate in a dynamic environment, and our customers’ scholarly publishing business are changing rapidly, Silverchair’s Product team avoids “locking in” specific feature development far into the future via a multi-year product roadmap or supporting only a few major platform releases a year. As such, the Silverchair Platform Development Plan (SPDP) is comprised of four categories: a parking lot, an on-ramp, the roadmap, and an off-ramp, and we release new platform functionality or enhancements every three weeks. Our four-part development plan corresponds with planning and release periods and, as the plan is accessible to all clients, it maximizes both transparency and flexibility for our community.

Silverchair Platform Development Plan Categories

Development Plan Categories

Parking lot

Parking Lot

The parking lot is our idea and theme repository. Ideas for platform enhancements, integrations, or things to research are captured here and they are regularly reviewed by the Product team. Parking lot ideas typically won’t be acted on within a year, but the Product team will regularly discuss ideas with Silverchair publishers at regular quarterly meetings. Items in the parking lot are prioritized by the Product team based on client discussions, industry observations, and by Silverchair’s internal platform steering committees that include Product Delivery Managers and the Customer Success team.



Ideas that are approved for development move from our parking lot to our on-ramp. We’ll typically complete items in our on-ramp within a 12-month period. The Product team, working with our Product Delivery Managers, discusses on-ramp items with clients to define high-level requirements.



Once we’ve defined the high-level requirements for an enhancement or project and we schedule work, ideas move from our on-ramp to our roadmap. Items on the roadmap will typically be completed within a six-month window. When items make it to our roadmap, we make an execution promise—we’ll deliver the expected functionality by the stated platform release.



The off-ramp, then, are our recently completed items, communicated to clients via release notes and available for reference on our live development plan.

For us, a successful platform development plan will be a mix of core service and tool improvements; support for industry initiatives (e.g., Seamless Access, JATS4R); third-party vendor integrations; feature enhancements; and, innovations that differentiate our platform from others.

Software Development at Silverchair

Silverchair employs an adapted Agile framework as the methodology and process used to plan and organize software development activities, and this framework informs the way we plan and execute our roadmap. Agile is an approach to software delivery that builds software incrementally from the start of the project, instead of trying to deliver it all at once near the end.

The Silverchair Platform is a living, dynamic application and is deployed on a continuous delivery mode with the platform receiving upgrades every 3-week sprint. This means that clients are able to view working functionality more often, track progress to the overall project schedule, and more quickly identify and resolve any issues in the translation of requirements.

Stuart Leitch at Platform Strategies 2019

For more on software development at Silverchair, watch the recording and read the transcript from “What Publishers Need to Know About Software Development,” a presentation by Silverchair COO Stuart Leitch at Platform Strategies 2019.

In all these things, our commitment is to providing our clients a market leading, stable, and secure content delivery platform along with the best possible services, developed and communicated in a way that is collaborative and transparent. Reach out to our Product Team to learn more.

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