Digital roadmapping, Agile Process, Ruby on Rails, React, Systems Integration, Stripe Payments
Matrix Education is a High School Tutoring College with a huge number of courses across 5 Sydney locations. They needed a student, enrolment and timetable management platform that would better support their business now and into the future. Investing in the new platform would allow the business to grow, help more students and take the pressure off the Admin Team.
Matrix initially came to us seeking help with some extra Rails developers to complete the platform they had been working on. However once we understood their expectations of the new platform and looked at the existing code we realised there was more to consider.
The problem - Digital Project Planning
To be successful - the platform needed to support very different User groups in a wide range of complex tasks.
The new platform needed to:
- manage timetable complexity,
- allow for student self-service,
- integrate with other platforms, such as the Canvas (Instructure) Learning Management System
- accept payments via Stripe Payment Processing Platform, and schedule recurring payments
- provide reporting and business intelligence; and,
- be flexible and adapt to business changes.
What we did - Digital Roadmapping
Starting with a code review we could assess what had already been built. We found that while the new platform was a long way into development - there was a mismatch between the features envisaged by our client. It would not create the impact and business improvement they needed.
The key to success here was to put the business owners back in control. We embarked on a journey of discovery and planning together - to identify the different types of Users and uncover their needs. Then relate that to what they had, and create a Roadmap for closing the gap between the two.
We ran a series of workshops with the Matrix team so they were able to envisage what needed to be done to get to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that they could use in production. We prioritised the workload into a series of actionable Agile Sprints that delivered what was really needed to complete the new website and get them off the old system and onto the new.
When creating a Digital Roadmap it’s important to get the balance right with just the right level of detail. An approach that ‘defines absolutely everything’ can lead to constricting documentation that is impossible to execute.
Too little detail can result in the project going off course with:
- incomplete features, or
- too many features or
- the wrong features.
We aim for an optimum level of detail that engages business owners and gives developers direction and a clear list of technical expectations. It’s a fine balance.
With a series of actionable Sprints defined, the actual execution was a straight forward build with Ruby on Rails in the backend and React on the front end. All parties were aligned on the priorities for delivery and could engage in the process.
- A Code Review prior to launch gives you the clarity as to where you are and make sure what you wanted is being delivered.
- We worked closely with the Matrix team to define their User Stories carefully. Making it so much easier to understand what features needed to be built, what the goals were and the priorities for development. This creates the most successful application of time and budget.
- Product owners are often surprised by the level of detail required in a digital project discovery phase. It’s important to strike the balance in technical documentation so that everyone is on the same page - while not wasting time in bloated technical specifications. We employ an Agile methodology to provide meaningful documentation.
- Using an Agile methodology to define Sprints of work puts the business owner back in control of a complex digital build.
How can we help you?
If you need help to gain clarity on your website development and what is required to go live - take a look at our Ruby Code Review.