Short-iterative approach to building enterprise software

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Challenge

Over the course of two decades, our client’s key software solution transitioned through numerous iterations, collecting a significant number of add-ons along the way. The resulting system, although effective for core processes, was complex and difficult to alter any further. The effects of new add-ons became increasingly difficult to manage, and third-party software became increasingly difficult to integrate. Additionally, the software was inefficient in its current state as it only possessed a fraction of the functionality desired by end-users.

Kalles Group was tasked with helping to evaluate our client’s existing business processes and software, and provide a new solution that met all specifications. Kalles Group would provide expertise and talent at every level of the design team.

Approach

The scope of the project and the length of time since the last iteration suggested a need to redesign “from the ground up.” To this effect, Kalles Group deployed four consultants to integrate with each segment of the project team (Business Analysis, Project Management, Testing, and Software Development). One of Kalles Group’s Project Managers – an experienced Scrum Master – led the design team through 3 to 4 week sprints, utilizing the expertise of other Kalles Group team members to rapidly iterate through versions of the new software. During the course of the project, the Project Manager was able to develop consensus among the disparate yet valued opinions of high-level team members, fostering team solidarity. The new software package was launched in under six months.

Kalles Group led the design team through 3 to 4 week sprints, utilizing the expertise of other Kalles Group team members to rapidly iterate through versions of the new software.

Solution

Experienced Kalles Group consultants worked on every facet of the project to help plan, manage, develop, test and deploy our client’s software solution, providing essential service in the following areas:

Business Analysis:

  • Project definition: Drove requirements gathering sessions to define and develop project concept, objectives and approach.
  • Functional documentation: Created detailed documentation of business functions and user needs including workflow and program functionality.
  • Software specifications and scope: Coordinated the development of business and functional requirements for the software solution.
  • Software evaluation: Assisted personnel with testing and evaluation of the new application.

Project Management:

  • Project management: Managed entire project development life cycle.
  • Team integration and management: Developed consensus among senior team members with differing perspectives regarding scope and direction of final product.
  • Reduction and removal of team roadblocks: Outlined goals, milestones and deliverables, and ensured the team stayed on schedule; swiftly identified and eliminated difficulties throughout the development process.
  • Project documentation: Maintained release notes and change documentation.

Software Development and Testing:

  • Collaboration: Established a build and deploy system to enable continuous integration. Created a deployment package using Web Deploy.
  • Framework development: Implemented several business functional areas using ASP.NET MVC and entity framework.
  • SQL Server database deployment automation: Provided SQL Server stored procedures and scripts for appropriate business functionality.
  • User experience: Crafted and designed a clear, concise and responsive graphical user interface (GUI).
  • Bug reporting automation: Quickly designed and implemented a robust and flexible design to create reports from the system.
  • Quality assurance automation: Deployed and monitored open source automated testing software and procedures responsible for code-driven and GUI regression testing.
  • Manual quality assurance: Developed a rigorous testing methodology in conjunction with client’s software testers, utilizing all business functional areas of the software to ensure correct behavior.

Results

Our client’s new software solution is now live. By replacing its predecessor, the solution has met or exceeded its initial goals. In fact, the application is considered to be the first of its kind in our client’s field of expertise. The new software solution:

  • Is flexible and simple to update and manage, and provides much more depth for the end user.
  • Provides up-to-date, real-time data for the consumer online in a highly secure environment.
  • Holds, processes and manages more information than its predecessor, and does so more efficiently, saving time and resources.

…the application is considered to be the first of its kind in our client’s field of expertise.

Technology

  • Team Foundation Server
  • MSBuild
  • Web Deploy
  • Windows Communication Foundation
  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Entity Framework
  • Kendo UI
  • SQL Server 2008 R2