Adventis CG, a Financial Modeling Certification program that prepares undergraduate students for careers in investment banking, private equity, & other fields by teaching practical, hands-on financial modeling & valuation skills, began a partnership with BuildThis back in March of 2016 after an increasingly difficult relationship with their previous development agency. BuildThis inherited a “frankenstein” CodeIgniter-based application that was in need of some TLC. Over the past several years, BuildThis has completely rebuilt the application – moving to a more powerful & supported framework, developed & implemented additional functionality & features, & continue to work with Adventis CG leadership to craft the direction of the application & business strategy.
- The functional requirements of the project have shifted dynamically over the course of our relationship. When BuildThis & Adventis first began working together, the functional requirements were:
- Restructure the relationship of core data within the application to communicate effectively with each other.
- Re-develop the system to no longer treat courses as single days of instruction but multi-date bootcamp workshops.
- Allow admin more autonomy within the system to create courses & interact with individual user records to provide refunds, add users to courses without payment, or to move a user as a registrant from one course to another.
- Over time these functional requirements matured to adding or optimizing features:
- Utilize a CMS (WordPress) so that internal staff members could be trained to manage the website’s front-end content.
- Uphold consistency with the company’s branding and digital requirements.
- Develop a single platform that could support a dozen regions globally, with separate administrative dashboards and unique frontend content.
- Create a ‘low barrier to entry’ process to add additional locales.
- Migrate select data and content from the legacy site to the new platform.
- Allow registered users of the company to sign on the to platform with their account credentials via SSO.
- Allow registered users of the company to subscribe to relevant content from the website within their company-wide account preferences and pass that data to WordPress via an API.
- As they are created within the website, pass subscription options via an API to the company-wide accounts platform, to be made available for users to subscribe to.
- Send daily notification emails to users containing published content pertaining to their preferences.
- Improve upon the SEO of the legacy platform.
- After BuildThis’ introductory meetings with Adventis leadership, the process began with a review call with the previous development team to uncover their logic for the initial development of the application & identify known pain points.
- The initial Discovery phase of Adventis included:
- Unit Testing of the legacy software
- Database architecting documentation
- New Site architecture for relationships between core data, handling multi-day schedules correctly, et. al
- At this point, the main goal was to address ‘fires’ & major issues within the system. Later on BuildThis was able to go back to the drawing board to complete a full Discovery, Design, Development, & Deployment cycle to develop the application from the ground-up & leave the legacy software behind. This phase included:
- New Database architecture
- Content structuring
- User Flows
- Data Flows
- The Design phase, and how design is used ongoing within the BuildThis-Adventis relationship for feature & functionality improvements, includes:
- Adventis & BuildThis Design sessions
- Initially designing the web style guide to provide standards for design throughout the application
- Visual Designs & User Flows for particular views & actions
- BuildThis follows an Agile development process while working with Adventis, breaking down feature requests & new functionality into Project Sprints generally 2-4 weeks in length depending on the scope of the sprint. The relationship requires a high level of communication & involvement from the Adventis team. Our ability to collaborate & co-create effectively with Adventis is paramount to the success of the application & our working relationship.
- BuildThis uses its internal project management system, Function Point, to manage and track Adventis deliverables. BuildThis & Adventis ‘stay on the same page’ via a shared Development Plan that is updated & reviewed during every weekly status meeting.
- Lastly, prior to deployment or pushing minor edits live, BuildThis performs extensive testing which can include: Quality Assurance Testing, System Integration Testing, User Acceptance Testing, End to End Testing, and Security Testing.
- Backend: PHP, Laravel
- Testing tools: Postman, SqlPro, Visual Studio Code, GitHub, Bitbucket, Laravel Forge, Vagrant, Virtual Box
- Cloud Platform: Digital Ocean – Ubuntu
- The nature of BuildThis’ relationship with Adventis allows us to continue to improve the application from feature releases to optimization as Adventis progresses toward their business goals.
- The newly developed application is fast, secure, & significantly easier to use by both the student & the admin.
Future/ Current Relationship
- It doesn’t stop here! BuildThis & Adventis have a mutual respect for one another’s contributions to the betterment of the Adventis application & the Adventis business as a whole. Adventis has lofty goals for the scope & functionalities needed within the application & BuildThis is thrilled to be a part of for the long term.