What was the scope of their involvement?
We’ve been involved with Atomic Object for multiple iterations of two primary projects. We had a general sense of what we wanted but realized it was best to give them the space to create the wireframes and design constructs. We focused our time on providing feedback and modifying things.
The biggest things we brought to the table were a vision and a clear sense of the different student, teacher, and school administrator profiles we wanted to solve problems for. This helped them understand our goals. They did both development and design work.
The initial project consisted of turning an instructional model into an iPad app. It’s a visual presentation of a model with boxes that users click on to get more details of our instructional model, thus helping both teachers and students. We had an elementary, secondary, and Spanish version. The basis of this app and our model was then taken to a broader project that we’ve since completed four different iterations of. The new launches were generally synchronized to release prior to each school year.
The second project focuses on bringing the model to life within the classroom and has three primary components. It has a forum-based teacher community and a content management system-based resource library where all of our downloads, instructional prompts, and teacher resources are stored for quick access and interactivity.
The third, more robust, portion of the platform has two parts. It has an interactive lesson building tool that’s based on our instructional model. After building a lesson, teachers can assign students who can then use the platform as their science journal to document what they’ve learned.
We had a pretty clear vision of what we wanted to do. We dealt with the design parameters quickly. They were awesome at helping us conceptualize possibilities in a web-based environment about how it might come to life. They went in two primary directions with the design construct in hand and the iterative nature of the work.
They did all the custom design for the teacher lesson plan and student journaling tools. They also helped identify the best off-the-shelf software platforms that we could modify to use with our own. They customized those two platforms, the CMS, and the forum-based teacher community piece. They reskinned it to look and feel like it was ours. The CMS they identified for us is Craft. The forum-based teacher community platform is Vanilla Forums.
What is the team composition?
We’ve scaled the team up and down to meet our operational needs. I’ve worked with as few as one person to a team of 10 compiled designers, project managers, and developers. We had a designer, project manager, and four teams of two developers before we launched in the summer of 2015.
How did you come to work with Atomic Object?
Some of my staff and I had worked with Atomic Object in previous venues. I was aware of their work processes, methodologies, and approach to Agile development because I worked with them in a similar capacity on a design and build for a different software tool. They were local and did high-quality work. We were very comfortable with their project management and methodologies.
How much have you invested with them?
We’ve spent more than $2 million.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in December 2014 and the relationship is ongoing. We have an active maintenance and support contract with them. We’re also stepping into the scope definition of a small enhancement project that we want to deliver for the summer of 2018.