Building an Assessment App

Sharon Muniz
December 7, 2022
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Building an Assessment App

NCN Architects and Develops a Building Assessment Application.

NCN was chosen to provide enterprise application development services for a small engineering firm. The client was anticipating major updates of its internal planning and costing applications when NCN submitted a bid. These interfaces are critical for the building engineers because they are used for tracking expenditures tied to budgeting and billing. Leadership felt that the firm had outgrown its current technology because it was running slow and not able to handle the volume of data. 

NCN’s development work covering synchronization of cost, schedule, and performance for technical programs was exactly what they needed to use data effectively within a user-friendly platform with good organization, accountability, and integrity. 

Take a look at how we planned out web portal development and hybrid application development for this client using our organizational structure consisting of a development team, a dedicated QA testing division, and a highly responsive support team.

Our Proposal for Helping Building Assessors Meet their Goals

After reviewing the needs, NCN proposed a custom technical solution using SharePoint 365, MySQL, and Hybrid Mobile app development. SharePoint was specifically chosen for its functionality for creating cost-effective, secure, and responsive solutions. 

Our team was able to customize software development to align with the business strategies using SCRUM, TDD (Test-Driven Development), and other agile methodologies within a web-based project-management setting for ensuring project tracking and transparency.

As part of NCN’s proposal, it was verified that our team would break down tasks into smaller development cycles lasting approximately three weeks. Each sprint involved a dedicating team working through a full development cycle that encompasses planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, unit testing, and acceptance testing. Working closely with the client, our developers would create as many versions as it took to get approval for release.

The NCN Development Cycle

It’s always exciting when we can allow clients who are considering an application reboot to get a peek behind the curtain to see what the development cycle looks like when the NCN team works with a client. Our clients are always provided with an itinerary for development cycles as a way to manage expectations. 

We also understand the importance of being able to anticipate a launch on the user end that will impact employee accessibility and productivity. Here’s a classic development cycle for the NCN team that was used when completing our scope of work for this engineering firm:

  • Sprint Planning: This is the initial phase of planning and meeting that allows us to prioritize the features we’ll be providing for the product owner. The NCN team forecasted which features would be capable of being delivered during our “sprint” period that divides larger projects into three-week projects.
  • The “How” Meeting: The NCN “how” meeting has become a famous step in our development process. During these meetings, we break down every feature the client is requesting into tasks. Next, our team provides timelines for when each feature will be completed during the sprint period.
  • Scrum Meetings: Once development was underway, NCN developers met with client product owners routinely to discuss progress, roadblocks, and other essentials. Meeting frequency was determined at the beginning of the project based on client preferences.
  • Sprint Review: As each sprint was completed, NCN’s developers presented the results to them for review and acceptance. We also conducted a survey to gauge satisfaction with each sprint.
  • Sprint Retrospective: Prior to reviewing sprints at their conclusions, NCN met with leadership to evaluate sprint progress. This process is repeated until all sprint work is done. NCN’s developers transparently presented templates, manuals, and training guides throughout the process.

NCN developers presented a technology selection matrix to assist with helping our client to make the strongest choices possible. In this type of matrix, we calculate the benefits of various forms of technology that can help our client to meet business goals at the lowest cost. Our matrix table ranks each factor on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (good). In this case, our criteria rankings included the following:

  • Development timeline.
  • Licensing cost.
  • Platform independent.
  • API integration (ability to interface).
  • Workflows.
  • Development testing time.
  • Upgrade/enhancement efforts.
  • Maintenance costs.
  • Online and offline capabilities.
  • Support costs.
  • Security.
  • Development flexibility.
  • Single language development.
  • Framework limitations.
  • User interface flexibility.

Finally, we presented the engineering firm with an effort estimation that provided concrete project schedules based on the client’s desired completion date. NCN developers have the experience necessary to know how to stagger development steps for efficient, cost-effective completion. In the end, we met the goal of developing a Building Assessment System to provide tools for executing nationwide building assessment reviews and calculating data collection points using different cost elements and predefined conditions that are managed by the client.

Notes on Testing

The new web portal and hybrid application were not released until all products had undergone comprehensive testing. Many of our clients are curious about the thoroughness of our testing process when inquiring about bids. NCN is proud to have a staff of qualified testing engineers dedicated to testing features and functionality on every project we handle. Here’s what the testing schedule looked like when developing the new product:

  • Smoke Testing: Our initial testing phase, smoke testing consists of a round of verification confirming that basic functionalities are working. High-priority test cases are selected. If bugs are detected, testing is halted until errors have been corrected by the development team.
  • System Integration Testing: This test phase puts application functionality under stress to test core transaction processing within the module. Integration with other modules is also put under a stress test. This testing confirms an integrated unit.
  • Regression Testing: This testing is done after bugs and modifications have been addressed.
  • User Acceptance Testing: This testing confirms that functionalities are performing to the specifications outlined by the client’s project scope. This stage of testing confirms that a product is ready to be rolled out to external users.

The NCN team was pleased to be able to develop a highly specific web portal and mobile application that would work both online and offline. The need for intensive data organization and search functions would be challenging for any development team. NCN’s developers and engineers showed up prepared due to our airtight development cycle that ensures every task is completed in the most efficient way possible. 

Our impeccable testing process ensured that the product we were passing on was exactly what the engineers needed to perform their duties. If you’d like a quote for an enterprise upgrade, contact NCN today!


About the Author

Sharon Muniz

Sharon Muniz established her software development consulting firm in Reston, VA after 15 years of working in the software industry. NCN Technology helps clients implement best practices and software to drive their business to success. Ms. Muniz is skilled at strategic planning, business process management, technology evaluation, project and agile software development methodologies.

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