Thoughtful Analysis + Practical Innovation
Our job isn’t just about writing code. It’s about building trust and solving problems. That’s why, long before any coding happens, we immerse ourselves completely in your industry, your processes, and the story behind your data. We want to see everything you see – and all the stuff you don’t see, too.
Our project development process involves total transparency, continuous collaboration, and a laser focus on supporting what drives your business.
1. Free Initial Consultation
Every job we do begins with this step. You describe your objectives, your budget, and your timeline, and we evaluate whether J Street can provide a solution that fits all three. This step also offers all of us a prime opportunity to decide whether we’d make a good team.
Sometimes when projects are very large or complex, an initial consultation can’t produce the clarity we need to develop a reasonably accurate picture of your project’s scope and cost. In that case, we may suggest that you hire us for step two, a detailed Requirements Assessment.
2. Requirements Assessment
This step (which we often call “Phase 0”) is where we steep ourselves in your business. First we meet with key staff to learn all about your existing systems. Then we meet with the people who will use the new system to ensure that we fully understand the needs driving their requirements. Throughout this process, we maintain a detailed Q & A archive to ensure that we’re communicating effectively with you and vice versa.
Next, we document your existing environment “as is”; thoroughly analyzing your current systems and processes, and identifying which features to keep, which need improvement, and which are no longer needed. From that document we build a Features List that describes all the activities the new system will perform or support, and defines the overall scope of the project. We refer to this list throughout the project to ensure that the project scope remains both understood and controlled.
Finally, we create a system architecture document that describes your company’s current computing environment and defines the server and application technology we recommend for the project.
Now comes the challenging part – defining and estimating your project. We build a Project Plan, which includes cost and schedule estimates for your project, including all the main activities and modules. At this point we don’t try to identify individual pages and screens. These are high-level estimates that use our experience with similar projects.
Once you give us approval to proceed, we start diving into the details. We describe and sketch the database structure, screens, web pages, reports, etc. and review them with you to make sure we’ve got them right. Reviewing sketches is a critical part of saving you money – it’s so much easier to change a sketch than it is to modify a developed system!
We also work on defining your business rules – the validity checks, error messages, formulas and automatic processes that give your system its “smarts”. We define security permissions for different types of users. Throughout this work we keep your Q&A document up to date.
As we go along, we refine the estimates. If we discover more complexity in the project and the estimates trend upward, we let you know what’s going on so that you can choose to simplify or postpone features of your system if you like.
Once you’ve “greenlighted” the sketches and estimates, we start development! This means we construct the screens, pages and reports, along with the programming to make them all work together. We also test each component to make sure it’s working properly, both by itself and together with other pieces.
During this process, we’ll continue to ask you questions as they come up, and we’ll also demonstrate completed modules of your system so that you can see how it’s going.
6. Go Live!
This is it! The day that you start actually using your system for real work is called Go Live day. We’ll schedule the best time to install everything, do one last conversion of your existing data, and get you running on your new system. We’ll also deliver all the source code, database diagrams, etc. so that you have everything you need.
7. Support & Enhancements
Custom database applications are often very complex, and there are sometimes support and enhancement tasks that still need to be done after you go live. And as more of your employees use your system, it’s normal for issues, questions and enhancement requests to come up. We’re available to answer questions, resolve issues and make system modifications as needed.
You may have set aside some features for future phases. If you decide to move forward with those, then we’ll work on those using this same process – starting with Step 2 above!