Friday, March 1, 2013

Working Efficiently

Patient Dashboard, current status
We haven't been very good at posting recently (okay...we've been terrible). But it's always a good time to pick up writing again, and since I'm the first poster in a while, I can talk about what we've been up to recently.

In a word, "working." In three words, "working very hard." And in three more, "getting lots done"! :-) But I should say more about how...

As you know, we've been a distributed software development team, between PIH in Boston, ThoughWorks in Porto Alegre, myself in Seattle, with people sometimes in Haiti. And that's gone about as it could have. We do daily video standups over Google+ Hangout, remote pair programming using TeamViewer and Skype, and we chat on IRC.

But technology only goes so far, and there's nothing quite like being in the same room, especially when iterating on UX designs.

The hospital is seeing its first patients in less than two weeks, so leading up to that, we were able to get (almost*) the whole dev team together in Boston for 4 weeks. It was a reminder (not that we really needed one) that having a colocated team working heads-down can be incredibly productive. Of course, we significantly increased our velocity in those iterations, and I'm sure Emerson can provide some numbers. Some of the things we got done faster and better for being in the same room were:

  • completely redid the patient dashboard UI
  • added breadcrumbs
  • integrated the Provider Management module
  • a Vitals Capture app
    • our new template for "repeated-task" apps
  • a Diagnosis Capture form
    • an example of coding up best-practice OpenMRS data representations
  • an improved Concept Search widget
  • finished off the Archives Room app
  • refactored our "Patient Actions" to prepare for upcoming changes to the App Framework module
  • debugged a tricky synchronization- and transaction-related bug in IDGen
  • general UI cleanup and improvements to shared CSS

Some of these will surely get their own blog posts.

Another huge benefit was that we got the whole Mirebalais dev team, and people from TW India, OpenMRS, and MSF together for a 2-day meeting to discuss the future of the OpenMRS applications we're building, and how we can coordinate our efforts. (This one will definitely get its own post...)

I'd like to give a big thanks to ThoughtWorks for helping us make the colocation happen. It really sped up our development in the home stretch before Mirebalais Hospital opens, and let us iterate on UX in a way we just wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.

* = sadly, Alex couldn't make it, so we did get to keep up daily video calls between Boston and POA.

No comments:

Post a Comment