BEACON 2

Statement about Beacon 2 from APT

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Our Beacon 2 development partner, APT Solutions, has issued the following message to all u3a members.

As we approach the end of the year we wanted to share a brief u3a-wide update on the ‘New Beacon’ project and outline our current plans for the new year.

Project Update & Progress

Since signing the supply contact in January of this year there has been a lot achieved. Most recently we delivered our second release of the u3a Admin and Group Leader online portals, which represent the core products replacing the current Beacon system and an exciting milestone in the project.

We have also faced some unforeseen challenges this year and we would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank the teams involved for their collective efforts and unwavering commitment to ensuring the project continues to progress.

Although these challenges have resulted in delays, relative to our original estimates, there has been a lot of tangible progress in recent months and we are collectively encouraged heading into the new year by the improved ways of working and project momentum.

Key Learnings

  • The importance of ensuring the development team has a strong understanding of the fundamental needs of u3as and current Beacon users. This understanding helps to assess the deliverables from not only from a technical perspective, but from a practical one as well.
  • Our more recent approach of smaller, more frequent, releases has allowed us to better assess the work being done and make any necessary adjustments earlier within the project development.
  • We must prioritise defining any outstanding ‘unknowns’ within the project, to establish accurate timescales and allow clear expectations to be set with the various project stakeholders.

Recent Initiatives & Changes to Ways of Working

  • Establishment of a key technical lead within APT responsible for coordinating the various pieces of development work and scrutinising it against the underlying ‘needs’ mentioned above.
  • An increasing focus on producing product mock-ups and wireframes, to help all parties interpret the requirements and agree the best approach, ahead of development work commencing.
  • Increased communications with the Trust’s project team and increased knowledge sharing across both parties.
    Next Steps and Plans for 2021

Our immediate focus heading into the new year is to define and document any remaining technical requirements within the project, referred to as the ‘Specification Process’. Achieving this will allow APT and The Trust to accurately assess the remaining items and publish a revised project timeline to the various project stakeholders.

We look forward to sharing more news and updates soon and wish you all a very happy, and safe, Christmas.