They created the new system by collaborating closely with General Services, ultimately producing the first low-code application through a platform called OutSystems. For IT developers, low-code involves less hand-coding and more focus on the customers’ needs to provide a quicker product with more reliability.
With MOREuse, customers pick the types of property notifications they want to receive. They can customize their notifications by the type of property or by region in Missouri. The system then sends emails to customers notifying them that property — based on their specifications — is available to reserve. Previously, customers received an overflow of emails about available property.
They navigated the challenges of being on a brand new team, working in a new office, using a new methodology (Scrum) and learning a new platform (OutSystems). Against all these odds, they succeeded in not only completing the project within budget and on time, but also producing an end result above-and-beyond their customer’s expectations.
And, the team created a successful product in just 79 days.
“I look at all the OA CARES core values and this team definitely exhibited Adaptive. They’ve gone through so many changes and these people are still smiling. I had somebody who told me that if he won the lottery, he still wouldn’t leave his job,” said ITSD Director of Application Development Nikki Veit.
Scrum leads to happy, healthy, productive team
The continuous feedback, which is integral to the Scrum framework, helped the teams make changes on-the-fly and constantly evolve. The quick turnaround is also attributable to Scrum.
“I’m sold (on Scrum),” said ITSD Team Member Mike Adams. “I don’t know what else I can say about it except that having never worked with Scrum before and seeing how the team came together, and how vital the communication was, and how just successful we have been in this project with everything that we’ve done being completely new… I’m a convert. I don’t ever want to go back to the way that I’ve done things. I’ve worked for ITSD for over 10 years, and I don’t want to go back to the way things were, because this works wonderfully.”
This team was established solely for the purpose of working with the OutSystems platform, and for all of the members, it was their first experience using the Scrum process framework exclusively. It involved setting up short periods of time called “Sprints,” in which the team came together with its customer (General Services) to create, communicate, and problem-solve.
“It was a true partnership on both sides,” said Leslie Berhorst, Scrum master on the MOREuse project. “We were constantly inspecting and adapting, nothing was set in stone.”
Each Sprint ended with a deliverable product. The next Sprint would build on the previous product, and by the end of four Sprints, the MOREuse application was completed. It went live on July 18. About a month later, 230 people signed up for MOREuse, 157 pieces of property had been posted or requested, and more than $64,000 worth of property was transferred.
“The MOREuse project was a delight to be a part of,” said Cindy Dixon, Director of General Services. “It was great to watch this entire team come together — the business and IT sides — to deploy a system in such a short time frame. My biggest joy was watching a brand new team come together that had never worked together and truly enjoy learning a new coding platform. The team flourished under the Scrum framework. This was by far the best system design and implementation that I have been a part of in my career. We are very happy with the end product!”
MOREuse eliminates frustration for Surplus Property, customers
Prior to this project, MOREuse existed as an email list, which could be a frustrating experience for users. Members of the list would receive emails from other state team members with property they no longer needed – office furniture, supplies, toner cartridges, and more. Each post produced an email, which could quickly become overwhelming.
The only other option was to set up a “digest” mode, which would email the members once a day, but frequently by the time the digest emails went out, the property had already been claimed. New members joining the email list had no easy way to view property that had been posted in the past.
General Services wanted a more user-friendly platform, where property could be posted, requested, and easily searched, while also allowing the participants greater control over the amount and type of notifications they received. The end result also tracks the value of items exchanged, saving time and effort for the Surplus Property program.
The new-and-improved MOREuse application is a testament to the new direction of ITSD development, with customer-focused and communication-centric collaboration.
Interested in MOREuse? Go to MOREuse.mo.gov to log in to the application to transfer or reserve property.