Friday, February 16, 2018

What happens when you ask for a change to Spinnaker

So you have found something in your study that needs to change. Heres a small insight into what we do when you ask for a change.
It could be that something in your CRF has changed, you have found a better way to do something or maybe something in Spinnaker is annoying you. Whatever it is, the path is the same and for the purpose of this example lets assume it’s a reasonable request and the change will be applied.
The change may begin with a Research Coordinator in a hospital who contacts the Project Manager with a suggested change.
The Project Manager passes reasonable requests on to us here at Spiral where the change goes through 3 phases …  development, staging/testing, and production. We have an environment for each of these.

New requests for changes are scheduled and assigned to one of our developers. They make their changes and create a new version of Spinnaker for your project. They test the changes work before the next phase …

Once the changes have been made one of our team checks and tests a few things around the change including testing that:
  • the changes made match the request
  • the new functionality actually works
  • Spinnaker is stable and continues to work as expected
Every project has a staging site which has a combination of the latest Spinnaker code on it and a copy of your study database. We have a whole server dedicated to our staging sites. If anything goes wrong here it’s not going to affect your study!
Then onto the next phase…
When testing on the staging site is completed we schedule a release date. We time the release for a quiet time of day when there are few or no people signed in to your study. During the release we:
  • check there is no-one adding or editing a form
  • compare the database structure between the production and staging environments
  • copy any database changes to the production environment. Only the database structure is copied, not any data.
  • copy the new code to the production environment
  • check Spinnaker is stable
  • tell your project manager about the release
That’s it in a nutshell …. except of course we keep doing this in a continuous cycle because that’s Devops and Agile development!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Past and Future choices

Have you made any New Year resolutions? It’s that time of year when many of us wonder about the fresh new year where we get a chance to begin again, to set new goals and make new choices.

Perhaps you looked back at 2017.  For us, 2017 was our biggest year yet with 11 trials on our books and over 5,200 patients randomised during the year using Spinnaker.

At Spiral we have already made a few choices about what we are doing in 2018, they are:
  • adding another server to our flotilla taking our total servers to 6. Five of which will be in Australia where most of our business now comes from
  • aligning all our security practices with the ISO27001 standard
  • completing 2 projects which are racing towards final delivery in March/April
    • One of these projects is a collaboration between Australia and Sweden,  two trials TAME and TTM2. I’ll write about that collaboration later in the year meanwhile you can read about these trials on our Spinnaker website.   TTM2 Trial »   TAME Trial »
    • The other (REMAP-CAP) is in the final stages of development and is big news for future health both in terms of trial design (it uses our response adaptive randomisation module) and in it being the largest study on severe CAP ever conducted … read more about REMAP-CAP »
With every opportunity presented we have a choice about how we look at it, how we plan and how we act; each new year is a new opportunity.  These are the choices I want to make this year:
  • to be curious, to challenge the status quo. This is how we improve Spinnaker and why we are always working on it.
  • to be kind. Even in business, kindness is the foundation to good work, not just in our relationships - we try to make our software kind i.e make it easier for you to use!
  • to participate. Sometimes the easy option is to do nothing, to participate is to care enough to be part of something.
Best of luck with your choices, following through on them and in gaining some exciting results in 2018.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Merry Xmas

Merry Xmas to everyone using Spinnaker  

During the year you randomised patients, published results and initiated new research. 2017 is our biggest year yet with 11 trials on our books. 2017 highlights include:
  • over 5,200 patients were randomised this year using Spinnaker
  • TARGET(Monash) and NovelSTART(MRINZ) completed enrolments 
  • Bryn Gilbertson joined the team to manage TTM2 and TAME
  • we added 2 new servers to our flotilla. We named them Platypus and Discovery (yes there is a new Star Trek series out)
Spiral continues to grow because of what you do. Your projects are the reason we come to work each day and the success of your projects is our most important goal. Thanks for being on board and using our software.
We are having a break over summer but be sure that OUR SUPPORT FOR YOU NEVER STOPS. 

While you are playing cricket on the beach or eating too much ham, our infrastructure team will be monitoring Spinnaker, making sure everything is running smoothly and that your trials can be accessed when you need them.
All the best for the New Year!

Friday, November 17, 2017


Enrolment completed this week!

What a phenomenal achievement from everyone involved in TARGET.  Congratulations because in just 18 months 46 intensive care units in Australia and New Zealand enrolled 4,000 patients.

That's an average of 7.5 patients a day!  

The busiest day was the 4th of August when 25 patients were enrolled. Crazy!

And it wasn’t just enrolling patients and following up … there were so many bags of treatment to reconcile! … and so many large boxes to manage! 

 Congratulations to you all.