At New Tech Tacoma, people are able to announce anything that might add value to the members attending. During one meeting Ken Hang a Software Developer instructor at Green River College made an announcement. He announced that his class IT 355 was looking for projects for the students to use for the class. The intent is to have an actual business provide a problem and let the students work on solving that problem.
To be one of the businesses selected you have to do an in person presentation to the entire class. Then the project groups (who are in teams of 3-4) select the projects they want to do. They select 3 projects and rank order them.
Because the project presentations were done during the day, I could not participate. But Ken was gracious enough to meet me after work and allow me to present my idea to him. Once I presented my vision for cavnessHR, he stated that he thought this would have lots of his students wanting to use it as a project.
Ken presented my idea to his students and there was lots of positive feedback. cavnessHR was chosen as a project and Jeremy Belt, Michael Peterson and Nicholas Perez were assigned it as their project. Myself and the team had an initial meeting. At this meeting I explained what I wanted them to do and asked for their feedback. We had a good back and forth and we all agreed on the way ahead. I provided them access to everything I had done so far to include all passwords.
The class involved 4 two week sprints. At the beginning of each sprint, I would explain what I wanted to occur. Then they would explain if it was feasible and explain how they would make it happen. At the end of the two week sprint, they would present to the class. Then they would be asked questions from the students and instructors of the class. All business owners were invited to attend these end of sprint sessions. Because of my schedule, I was only able to attend two of them.
Before the first sprint they asked me to rank order the following Trade Off Sliders to let them know how to prioritize their project work. I am placing them in the order I ranked them.
1. Ease of Use
2. High Quality, low defects
3. Feature Completeness
4. Deliver Project on Time
5. Stay within Budget
6. Detailed Audits
7. Don't make me think.
By providing this to them, it gave them clear guidance on what to do if they ever had a question of how I would want to proceed with something. Although, I tried to be as responsive as possible to all their questions. Sometimes, this was just not possible. This Trade Off Slider provided a great template for them to use.
The team did a great job of explaining why some items I wanted might not be the best direction to take the website. For example, I wanted a big blue button on the site that said, Push Here for HR. They explained the reasons they disagreed with this and I agreed to take that off.
After the first sprint was completed, I was happy with their progress. As part of the class, they had to send me questions to determine my level of satisfaction and some other items. Below are those questions and my answers.
Another thing the team did for me was redesign my logo and my website. I had designed the original website and logo myself. As with most people who build something, I felt strongly about what I had built. But the team asked to let them do another design to see how I liked it. When they showed me the new website design and logo. I liked it and agreed to use their versions instead of my versions.
As they continued to work on the site, I sent a link of it to Don Wesley. He has done UX for over 20 years and is the Founder of Papyrux - www.papyrux.com The link to the attachment shows all the great feedback he provided. The team used this to make improvements to the site.
We continued to meet weekly on the cavnessHR project and I continued to be happy with the progress. I made sure to let Ken Hang know how happy I was with the team. Before I knew it, the project was coming to a close. All that was left was the final project demo, sprint 4 and userability testing. Below shows sprint 4 and the userability testing.
During the final project demo for IT 355, each project team showed what they had built and explained the process. Of course, I am biased, but I believe the cavnessHR project was built the best and had the best team. Here is a link to the new site. www.cavnessHR.com Quite a bit of work still needs to be done. But I am happy with how the site currently looks.
But I still had the issue of not having a CTO. Although, the team was great. They are still learning how to be Software Developers and are not at the level of being a CTO. I talked to the former CTO of MyUnfold and asked him some questions. Like do I even need a CTO at this stage of the startup.
He stated that, I should continue to use the team from Green River. That I should use them to scale cavnessHR up to 20-30 clients. Then that would be the time to reconsider bringing on a CTO. He stated that I may need more technical expertise than the Green River team can currently provide in the future. But for now the Green River team should be able to handle all the current tech needs of cavnessHR.
So I have offered, Jeremy, Michael and Nicholas positions in cavnessHR as Interns for the summer. They have all agreed and will continue to help me in building cavnessHR. With their help, I can delay my search for a CTO for another time. This will allow me to focus more on building the other parts of cavnessHR.
cavnessHR will provide value to Founders, new business owners and companies with less than 50 employees by assisting them with their HR and helping to solve other problems.