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Making an Impact: Prioritizing Your Novi AMS Feature Requests
Making an Impact: Prioritizing Your Novi AMS Feature Requests

A message from our founder on how we incorporate the ideas and feedback of association professionals into every line of code we write.

Pete Zimek, CAE avatar
Written by Pete Zimek, CAE
Updated over a week ago

From our inception through today, Novi AMS has been built “for associations, by associations.” The ideas behind every line of our code have come from association executives and their staffs. This has unquestionably been the “secret sauce” behind our success as a software platform and as a partner to a growing list of associations across the United States. As we continue to grow, it is even more important that we actively solicit ideas and feedback from the people who best know how an AMS should work – association professionals.

Many of our clients ask what happens to their ideas after they’re submitted, so I’d like to share some insights into the way we work.

Agile Development

The Novi team follows an agile methodology. We maintain a backlog of your ideas and work in two-week "sprints" to launch updates to your Novi subscription at no additional charge to your association.

The Backlog

We constantly evaluate our backlog of ideas and requests to ensure that our team is consistently working on the features and “little tweaks” that will have the biggest impact on the associations we serve. We avoid announcing “expected completion dates” for specific features because we know that priorities can change over time. We’d rather work on today’s most important feature instead of the one that we promised to get done by a certain date.

This approach might be different from what you’ve seen in the past, but we believe that the only way to create transformative software – software that truly drives change – is to take a different approach.

Guiding Principles

  • We’re in the business of helping associations create change by reimagining how an AMS should work.

  • We’re not in the business of re-creating the past business practices of individual associations.

  • We draw our inspiration from conversations with association staffs and their members, not other AMS platforms.

  • The work we do should benefit all of our association partners.

  • Bugs that impact an association’s core operations will be prioritized above all other work.

  • We would rather do fewer things exceptionally well than lots of things marginally well.

  • Our association partners should have a strong, collective voice in the strategic direction of our software.

Grouping Requests Allows for Transformative Software

  • On a micro level, grouping requests by functionality group allows us to do deep dives into particular areas, gaining considerable economies of scope. Put simply, we can deliver more work in less time.

  • More importantly, reviewing requests as a group allows us – our association partners and the Novi team – to look for transformational wins. Just like an association uses strategic planning sessions to drive wholesale change, we use these deep dives to continue to redefine the very nature of an AMS.

The Backlog is a Living Thing

  • No less than once per week, our team reviews the backlog to better define feature requests and re-prioritize our work.

  • We suspect that your priorities will change over time as well, so please continue to keep us updated on what is the most important (and most impactful) request on your radar.

Feature Requests

How to Get Your Idea Prioritized

  • Define the business goal: Why do you need the feature? What is it that you’re truly trying to accomplish?

  • How would this new feature affect your staff, organization, and members?

  • How would other organizations be transformed by this feature?

  • How important is this compared to others on your list? Remember, if everything is a “top priority,” then it will be hard for us to determine which feature you’d like us to prioritize.

My Top Priority Isn’t Getting Done, Why? 

  • Since Novi is Software as a Service and not custom software, we must make sure that we’re doing the most good for the most associations. Transformative change will be prioritized over re-creating past workflows.

  • Your “must have” might be someone else’s “don’t you dare!” Occasionally, we will assemble a task force of association staff & Novi team members to debate some of the more contentious requests. Please understand that these task forces can’t be called for every feature and that some decisions may have been made in this way before your organization joined the Novi family.

  • “Quick fixes” might require significant re-tooling.

Submitting Your Requests

  • Have Lots of Ideas? That's great! Keep the ideas coming. Novi AMS is a collection of your ideas coded into reality.

  • Be sure to subscribe to the methodology above and define the business goals and impact of the requested feature.

  • Please submit all ideas through Intercom so that nothing falls through the cracks. 

Watch a short clip (cut from a previous roundtable) of our CEO, Pete Zimek, answering the question: "What happens when I make a feature request"?

Custom Software vs Software as a Service

Building quality software is expensive. With a digital agency, the smallest “tweaks” would cost over $1k to implement, and feature work could soar into the tens of thousands of dollars, taking months to complete.

By joining together, Novi’s association partners can access enterprise software at a small fraction of that software’s true cost to build and maintain. Our partners are also able to benefit from the best practices that our other clients and the Novi team routinely share.

Making an Impact

Associations create change. Novi AMS amplifies that change. Let’s go change your industries, your communities, and our world together.


Pete Zimek is the founder & CEO of Novi AMS.

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