Client: A Midwest educational service provider has for 13 years implemented special programs of learning, mainly in public schools, to address serious gaps in the core curriculum that prevent students from being fully successful in the classroom and on standardized assessment tests such as the SAT. It employs highly qualified educators, who in turn work with school teachers and administrators to improve test performance.

Challenge: The company wanted to take its services nationwide using a new online platform that includes different panels for students, teachers, and administrators. The need was for a scheduling and program management system for schools to build students’ curriculum, upload tests and assessments, and manage lessons, programs, accounts and reporting. The company was already working with a digital marketing agency to develop a new website. Due to inadequate in-house capabilities for project development, the marketing agency turned to Strategic Systems International (SSI) as a development partner.

 The challenge was made acute by a hyper-compressed implementation schedule that initially called for only four months of work for what would normally have been a six-month to the year-long project, and by the fact that SSI as a subcontractor did not have any direct interaction with the client, which resulted in a number of workarounds and changes. Development was kicked off with inadequate understanding of required software specifications; half of the project mock-ups and software requirements specifications were done with the partial understanding of the client’s requirements. The preferred Agile Methodology, in which cross-functional teams utilize adaptive planning to promote continuous improvement, could not be applied because of these limitations.

Solution: Working 25 to 30 hours of overtime per week, with a dedicated in-house team of 15 people and two consultants hired because of the demands of the project, SSI was able to deliver the project in exactly five months. The basic e-learning platform was made up of:

  • School management
  • Assessments
  • Accounts
  • Messaging
  • Bubble sheets
  • Files and lessons
  • Grading
  • Program management
  • Question bank
  • Reports
  • Data migration

Result: The client’s new user-friendly website has hundreds of lesson plans, sample questions, full-length tests and instructional videos for the four main exams used for applying to college. The client has fulfilled a goal of turning its powerful and effective teaching experience into easy-to-use online courses. With offices now in other major cities, the client is poised for major growth.

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