Tag Archives: Case Study

Over the past ten years, the number of educational startups has grown immensely. We understand that interest in developments in the field of education is directly related to digitalization. As such, we decided to share one of the recent case studies related to the educational system in Germany.

You never know for certain where a problem will arise, and what will delay the release of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for presentation to investors. Inevitably things change, and more often than not they change more than a few times. These changes can start with the MVP itself and end with changes in the goals of the project.

 

Let’s analyze the situation

Let’s say there is a client with a fixed budget, tight deadlines, and bloated functionality. 

Prior to the investor’s arrival, there was a clear deadline for the implementation of the MVP and its demonstration to investors. But without the investors, further, development was impossible, because a large chunk of work was related to the development of APIs (Applicable Programming Interfaces) for providing third-party services. The API itself was very crude and untested, and funding was needed to perform necessary tests and adaptations.

Thus, the work had not yet begun, and things were already getting tense.

This is how the development of an educational startup, “My German University” began. It started as a web application for students looking for a master’s degree program in Germany.

 

There are no unsolvable problems, there is only a bad BA (business analysis)

Before connecting all resources, our Business Analyst, based on client prototypes, formulated a brief for “User Stories”

It was with a short and understandable description of the functionality in hand, that we were able to define a scope. After that, our experienced Project Manager formulated a task prioritization and a tracking plan for all intermediate stages of work.

To keep the project within the budget and finish on time, we proposed simplifying the non-critical functionality. This allowed us to create a working application that could be easily demonstrated to interested parties.

To optimize budget and speed up development, we used an iterative approach with weekly sprints and releases.

 

We know what to do and how to reduce risks

In the beginning, we warned the client about the risks of integrating third-party services that do not have documentation for their API, and whose actual performance is unknown. We discussed the risks of changes, clarified the requirements, and potential adjustments.

After assessing all potential risks, we took responsibility and started development. For continuous monitoring, we proposed a task tracking system and regular meetings, and in the end the project was a huge success.

 

Eventually (In the end)

In the end, having won in early 2020 InnoRampUp (IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH), one of the most attractive government grants in Germany – the company moved from Berlin to Hamburg. 

According to their website, in May 2021 the number of unique search queries exceeded 237 thousand, and the number of views approached a million, while the viewing time was 05.08! The number of current programs has grown from 1660 at the time of launch to 2231, and 30 universities have already signed an agreement to provide unique offers to students.

We are proud to be involved in the success of such fulfilling projects, this creates a passion for us to continue to take on new ideas and improve our own skills.

 

Project

TeamOutLoud is a social app for companies (hotels, in particular) with a powerful employee engagement system. Just like in LinkedIn or Facebook, employees here are able to evaluate professional and interpersonal skills of each other, post news and comment other updates, add and take photos of their work activities. The app is dedicated to increasing employees engagement, retention, and happiness.

Problem

The end customers of our clients once came up with the problem. They had an idea to create an app that could solve it, so they came to us, as we already have some cooperation with them. The app should be a simple, user-friendly tool to involve employees into evaluating skills and build a friendly corporate culture, leveraging the human resource potential. What was required to consider is:

  • The quick result to test the market;
  • A convenient interface for users not to waste time on the functionality search;
  • A quick response, as it is a social app connecting people with one another. It was extremely needed to shorten the timeout and show new info immediately.

Solution

  • We decided to make a PhoneGap application. PhoneGap reduces application development time for iOS and Android to 30%.  Our company has worked with PhoneGap plugins before. It also allows reducing the budget by 20-25%, which is important for startups.
  • Standard patterns for unique solutions.
  • Firstly, as we had a considerable experience working with AngularJS, we started designing the solution using this framework. However, its efficiency didn’t match project needs. To make our social app operating as quickly as Facebook, we developed our own ReactJs-like library. Such a solution made it possible to build an in-app news feed quickly and show the changes instantly.

Result

TeamOutLoud is already have a rich success story. It is used by The Ritz-Carlton, Corinthia, Intercontinental, Sheraton hotels and serves more than 6000 users in total. IR is a development partner of the TeamOutLoud startup featured at WebSummit 2015 in Dublin, which then proceeded to the pre-accelerator stage and finally to startup accelerator which takes place in Lisbon in November during Websummit 2016.

Magento is a perfect solution for E-commerce. There are plenty of features included to meet any requirements and needs of sellers. However, there is a problem when displaying common static pages, such as the About Us and Contact pages, which is called CMS pages in Magento.

There is an option to edit and add them in the Admin panel, but when a user needed to display links on the main navigation bar, there was a problem.

It was impossible to accomplish without code customization, which required a great deal of time and effort. Given how frequently we were asked about this type of development, we decided to create an extension to simplify the process.

The solution we found is based on using a catalogue categories menu, which allows one to render CMS page links and titles instead of category link and category name. To ensure user-friendly management, we reached a solution of adding a new tab to the CMS page edit section following the Meta Data tab. Our custom tab contains a categories tree, like on a product edit page in categories tab, so we can assign a CMS page by clicking checkboxes on the tree nodes. We had to completely rewrite the cms/page model and implement our custom “after save and before delete” logic.

At first sight, it would seem that all we need is to create a reference to cms_page_edit_tabs  block and insert our categories tree inside. However, tabs in the product edit page and cms page edit page are different. We could not use the adminhtml/catalog_product_edit_tab_categories block as a tab in the CMS page edit, because it requires that the tab block calls  the Mage_Adminhtml_Block_Widget_Tab_Interface interface, but the catalogue categories tree doesn’t implement this interface. Therefore, we created a custom adminhtml block and extended the categories tree block. Then, we overrode the methods specific for categories tree view.

We’ve spent about 80 hours on development, but now it will only take a few minutes to install the extension. It creates a new tab in the edit section, where an Admin can simply assign a CMS page to a selected category without using any URL rewrite management or redirects. Moreover, this extension supports multiple stores, which is quite important due to its growing popularity.

If this is something you were looking for, please visit the Itera Research account on Magento Connect

 

Sincerely,

Itera Research team