Introduce your business and what you do there.
I am a product manager at Innova Systems. We focus on applications for the Department of Defense, primarily for the Navy. We have five products that support squadron readiness, aircrew readiness, aircraft carrier personnel readiness, and a learning management system that supports the aviation squadrons and their tactical postgraduate training.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What challenges were you trying to address with ThirdEye Data?
We needed to develop a scheduling and deployment tool that was easy to modify to roll out a new version of our application to aviation squadrons.
What was the scope of their involvement?
We were updating an application called Sharp to its newest version, which has a dramatic change in the architecture, technology stack, and functionality, and needed a scheduling tool. Based on deployment schedules of squadrons and timing of their readiness schedules, we knew that we would have to spread the deployment out to over 200 units across a roughly 12–18 month period.
We had to take into account each squadrons’ readiness profiles, which is a cyclical process of getting ready for deployment, deploying, remaining in the search capability, resting for a while, and then repeating the whole thing. Where they are in this cycle either makes the squadron easily attainable or means that we have to hold the deployment until they’re past the critical phases deployments and search periods.
We also had to take into account where the squadrons were located. While some of them are in high concentration areas, about a quarter of the units are geographically dispersed overseas or around the country.
We went to ThirdEye with this information and asked how they would build the schedule and scheduling tool. The tool they built enables us to modify the inputs to the scheduling tool based on travel arrangements and squadron accessibility and readiness.
What is the team composition?
At its peak, we had a team of five or six people dispersed through the U.S. and India. We worked most frequently with our project manager but had at least weekly communication with the whole team.
How did you come to work with ThirdEye Data?
We were working with a third party on several initiatives, including the scheduling and deployment. That company worked closely with ThirdEye and offered their services to evaluate possibilities and ultimately build the scheduling tool.
What is the status of this engagement?
We worked together from September 2017 through December 2017.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
The project was so focused that it didn’t have a company-wide impact; there weren’t any metrics that we were tracking. However, we have modified the tool for separate efforts and it has helped increase our efficiency in scheduling and deployments.
There were some bugs in the initial product, but once we identified them, the owner immediately took the product back. They worked on it in their own time, and a few weeks later they delivered a better product.
How did ThirdEye Data perform from a project management standpoint?
They were very engaged. I spoke with the project manager once or twice a week on top of our weekly team meetings. We coordinated convenient times for the entire team to get together, and they had very active participation.
With as geographically dispersed as the team was, they were extremely accommodating of my time and the time difference. For example, if we were to have meetings at 9:00 am our time, the team members in India would be speaking with us at what was midnight for them. They were incredibly responsive.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Since this was a unique project, we don’t have experience with other firms similar to ThirdEye so I can’t compare them in that way. However, I will say that they were engaged in working with us to find a solution, and I was impressed by the quality of their deliverables.
Are there any areas they could improve?
About halfway through the project, we had to significantly shift the project’s direction. I definitely carry some of that responsibility because I think I could have done a better job clarifying the requirements. However, I think the situation could have been improved if they had thoroughly documented and reviewed the requirements on their end to make sure that everybody understood what was intended.