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The software development continues.  Whilst very exciting, it is not an easy or predictable process.  In December our developer announced that the completion of the development would be delayed until April based on complexities in the development that were not previously identified.  We had expected a few delays and so applied for a no-cost extension on this project which has been approved meaning the software will still be completed within the project timeframe.

Aside from a break at Christmas and New Year, the last two months have seen our team fully immersed in meetings with developers to scope requirements for each stage of development, or conducting user acceptance testing on the iterations that have been released to us.  We have made two more trips to Exeter for the requirements meetings which involve a team of software developers firing a series of questions at us to determine what it is we would like the software to do.  Though demanding, the outcome of these meetings is always incredibly productive and useful in ensuring we all have a mutual understanding of where the development is going.

We have had 3 iterations released to us since the last blog, 2 of which have been tested.  Iteration 2 was released in December and included the login screen, set up of the different user levels within the system, data entry screen for feeding site data, maintaining user details, and a search screen for monthly reports.  Iteration 3 was released on the 10th of January and included screens to calculate the performance indicators from the feeding screens, some fixes from the last round of testing, improved versions of on and off line working, maintenance of countries and their geographic regions, submission of reports and identification of reports in need of review.  We have just received iteration 4 and testing is planned for the coming 2 weeks.

All testing at the moment is conducted internally.  Once the majority of the planned functionality is developed, we plan to open up the testing to partners (following the release of iteration 5 now instead of 4).  Invitations have been sent out to determine people’s interest in taking part in this testing phase and to block out time in peopless busy calendars.  Response so far has been very positive.

As always we continue to work in parallel to the actual software development on the additional components and revision of existing components that will be integrated into the new software.  Though the development is like for like, there are significant improvements being made.  We have sent out a survey monkey question to determine if a change of name is needed for the new software to reflect its increased functions.  Results of this will be reported in late February.

We are also continuing work on writing the new user manuals which will accompany the software.  Whilst we hope the new software will be as intuitive as possible, we will develop materials to guide users through the process of setting up accounts, entering, submitting and analysing data.  Both user manuals and the new software will be available via a website which will be updated.  Work is due to start on this in February.


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