What was the scope of their involvement?
We’d been doing everything with Excel and email. We met with AndPlus to lay out what we thought we needed and determine how to turn it into software that would make everything more efficient for us. We came to them with a loose wireframe of what we thought this thing is, and what it should do. Essentially, it’s a project management system for our entire company.
The first couple meetings were them introducing us to the scrum methodology because we had no idea. We thought "scrum" and "MVP" were sports terms, if that illustrates how much they walked us through the process.
They walked us through it step-by-step, outlined the language and the team. It was a rudimentary introduction to how they work and how they’d work with us. It was important enough for us to fly out there and meet with them. At that point, there were three of us and five of them. Four of the developers who would be working with us were also in that room.
Because this was going to be a company-wide software, they helped us determine a couple modules that would be a good introduction to their process. Also, when they were finished, it would be a good introduction for our employees to get used to the system. The first couple features were just a simple in-and-out board and a place to leave messages for one another. It was really just, at a glance, who is in the office and who is not. It seems simple, but for us, half of our staff is traveling at any given moment. We needed something more efficient than email to handle that.
The second module we focused on was a portal for people to request time off. It would calculate people’s time, how they accrued time depending on how they were hired. People accrue vacation and PTO at different rates. AndPlus helped us devise a system that would allow all that to be automated. Instead of an employee sending an email to their manager to request time off, it was all online. They just go a simple page, request a day off, and it would go to the manager for approval. It made everything a lot easier for us.
The third module was probably the most helpful. It’s an estimate generator. Our clients call and give us the details about an event. Before, we were literally pulling up Excel templates from 2005 and deleting everything we didn’t need, saving it as a PDF, taking it through various departments, and then sending it to our clients. AndPlus walked us through a complete restructuring of how that whole quoting process worked on our side. In the end, our clients were getting quotes in a matter of minutes as opposed to a week. They took that long process and crammed it into a couple hours. They assessed how we were doing things and white-boarded the whole process for us. They provided a good, outside perspective as to how we were doing it and how it could be made more efficient.
How did you come to work with AndPlus?
One of our long-time associates in Boston introduced us to AndPlus.
What is the status of this engagement?
The work is ongoing. We’re currently refining some of those first three modules. We have modules planned in the future for an additional travel calendar system, assigning teams, and an employee directory. It’s probably going to be ongoing for a couple years. It’s been a good relationship for us, and we don’t really see an end yet.