Case Study: KbPort
Transforming an inventory module into critical medical training software
User Experience and UI Design, Software Development, Quality Assurance Testing
Medical Simulation Software
KbPort: Upgraded tech stack + modern development methods
KbPort is a software and hardware development company focused on improving educational outcomes. With over 25 years of simulation experience, KbPort has been committed to enabling institutions to achieve exceptional educational outcomes by using the most advanced technology to offer the highest fidelity systems possible. Healthcare simulations offer powerful assessment capabilities that can complement current teaching methods and fill knowledge gaps to improve learner understanding and success.
Rivers Agile’s engagement with KbPort involved a complete rebuild of Version 6 of the KbPort Simplicity software. This rebuild would enable KbPort to present a modern user experience (UX) to customers as well as build a solution that was more maintainable and scalable, and one in which development was better able to support. Additional benefits to the rewrite included allowing the KbPort team to meet the VPAT accessibility compliance standard. For those unfamiliar with VPAT, the standard ensures accessibility and usability for individuals with disabilities.
Over the course of an approximately year-long engagement, our priority involved creating an updated foundation for the software functionality, scalability as well as the introduction of new modules. Prior to our involvement, a course model framework existed, but the software needed to serve a dual purpose, for both continuing or certification education. The initial objective was to deliver the Alpha (or sandbox) version for a health system client. After that goal was met, the second objective was to deliver the full minimum viable product (MVP) for production to live customers. The final, if not most critical milestone, was to meet the deadline to present the software at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) conference in San Diego, slated for January of 2020. The Rivers Agile team worked collaboratively with the internal KbPort development team to create a production-ready Version 7 of the Simplicity software to demo to potential clients. At the IMSH conference, the software and the KbPort team performed well, with attendee feedback being only positive. From the feedback received (added to the remaining final tasks), the team was able to launch the software to production.
After months of development work, the Rivers Agile team was asked to completely re-engineer the Version 6 worksheets module alongside the internal KbPort team, who reworked the rubric portion. To meet the demand, Rivers Agile provided extra development resources to continue to build features for approximately 6 weeks. This added development surge contributed considerably to the software product demo-ed at the IMHS conference, which was a complete success for KbPort. To put this achievement in perspective, after the Version 6 worksheets module was identified as a vital demonstration piece, our engineers worked steadily for 2 weeks prior to the event to ensure it was production-ready. If nothing else, this course change showed the team’s ability to quickly and efficiently shift focus and still remain successful.
The Rivers Agile team illustrated benefits outside of the traditional consulting role, helping organizations, like KbPort, mature their QA approach into a proactive keystone of the development lifecycle. During the engagement, the Rivers Agile team introduced KbPort to best practices for classifying and prioritizing defects. Additionally, we established a simple, yet powerful, QA automation solution to generate organic data in testing environments through Selenium IDE. Rivers Agile also helped to implement concepts of pairwise/combinatorial testing with the team and demo-ed the ACTS (Automated Combinatorial Testing for Software) tool for both development and QA team members. With our guidance, KbPort now has the tools and best practices for manual performance testing and templates to support testing web application response time.
In addition to Development and Quality Assurance consulting, the Rivers Agile team:
- Elicited requirements from stakeholders and reviewed them with development to ensure feasibility
- Created user stories with acceptance criteria to meet the needs of internal and external stakeholders
- Organized and provided weekly demos of progress
- Communicated priorities and handled change management between stakeholders and development
We created an interconnectivity between all of the KbPort applications, foundation and shared resources. The KbPort team now has the ability to build upon that in the future with less headaches and more scalability. That is probably the most substantial achievement – the ability to become scalable. Ultimately, Rivers Agile assisted the KbPort team in transforming a lone inventory module into 9 integrated modules in a fully-functioning, critical training software that is generating revenue.
The scheduling piece, which is modeled after Google Calendar, was rendered useless because of “load” time – up to 1 minute in some instances. Our engineers worked through a process to reduce both “load” and “save” times. Below is a result of that work:
The KbPort team knew the reality of the situation prior to Rivers Agile beginning work – their VP of Engineering, Valerie Angell, was very pragmatic, understanding they may need to completely rebuild a solution, and that along the journey, stops and starts would occur. Valerie always stayed patient and understood the abilities and constraints of the development team. She was an invaluable resource to understanding the industry as her domain knowledge was profound. The Rivers Agile team felt they had received a formal education about the world of medical simulation. Valerie had a remarkable ability to understand the technical details of her team and the software – along with the capability to adequately translate those concerns and needs to the KbPort business teams. In fact, we felt that Valerie understood the technology better than most executives and was able to accurately relay complex ideas to her team and equals.