Enhancing Student Information Systems

The Client

A large state agency responsible for K-12 education curriculum, teacher certifications, and student performance reporting.

The Problem

The client contracted two Student Information System (SIS) vendors to make enhancements to their systems and then to offer their systems to school districts at a reduced cost.  Loblolly’s role in this process was project management and included the following tasks:

  • Business requirements gathering for SIS enhancements
  • Prioritizing the rollout of enhancements
  • Leading the review & providing feedback to the vendor on software design documents
  • Reviewing test plans developed by the vendor
  • Reviewing functional and integration test results provided by the SIS vendor
  • Leading the user acceptance testing (UAT) effort of end users

The Solution

Loblolly managed the UAT effort for each of the 5 releases completed during this project by coordinating a large group of end users to test specific enhancements to ensure business requirements were met and by providing consolidated feedback to the vendor.

One of the challenges of the UAT process was coordinating with end users who were not onsite and were working from many different locations throughout the state. Loblolly managed this process by having frequent checkpoint meetings via web conferencing  and also by providing a method for users to report issues as they were discovered so they could be reported in a timely manner to the vendor.

Another challenge was that the users conducting UAT had never done this type of work before. They were users of the SIS, but they had never tested software.  Loblolly spent time educating the end users on the purpose and goals for testing and once the users realized the importance of their efforts to the success of the project, they conducted in-depth testing of everyday scenarios encountered in their daily work. The result of these efforts created a very successful project and lead to very positive reviews once the enhancements were rolled out to users statewide.

The Team

1 Technical Project Manager who provided technical guidance and oversight of the contract. The scope of the project required the skills of a consultant with knowledge in all aspects of information technology, information security management and a complete understanding of data center operations, virtual systems, physical security, application security, networks, databases and the ability to guide the client in the processes development effort to successfully pass an SSAE 16 Type 2 Audit.

The Results

The student information system applications and services are currently utilized by over 750 of the 1200 independent school districts, and over two and a half million student records are contained within the applications offered by the client. The development effort successfully passed the SSAE 16 Type 2 Audit, and the enhancements received positive reviews statewide.