Sept 13, 2017 Update From Peter

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by: Peter Tung, IT Project Manager, Encore SVP Fellow

We made good progress in both Website implementation and Ux Visual Design.

For the website implementation, we completed Phase 2 Implementation Sprint 1-4 and validated the following key features:

  • Administrators login into the website, open the admin panel, upload content, customize the menu and navigation, edit the kitchen sink page, manage contacts, configure the donation page, edit the home page, “education landing” page, and “who we are” page.
  • A site visitor can create a user account, view the home page, “education landing” page, “who we are” page, make a donation to Mazamas, join Mazamas as a member.
  • All website information syncs to the Salesforce.

We identified and reported some problems back to OMBU.  One major issue is some features would stop working overtime due to some Salesforce API expiration issue.  OMBU has already root-caused the issue and delivering a fix this week.

On the visual design front, we made excellent progress on Phase 3 “Activity and Course” UX Visual Design work.  This week, OMBU completed and presented the Ux Visual Design of the following features:

    • Scheduling and Approving Activities
    • Post Activity Reporting
    • Withdraw / Cancellation of Activities

Also, we had a group Calendar White-boarding with OMBU to discuss “Calendar” vs. “List” view styles and what filters should be implemented.

In general, the key stakeholders in Mazamas are very happy about the Visual Design because it is easy to use and flexible for future  customization.

Site Demo

Yesterday we got to see a demo version of our website for the first time! While the functionality is still limited, it is great to see months (ok, years …) of work beginning to come to fruition. The home page is streamlined and easy to navigate, and the internal pages have a significant increase in options from our current site such as seamlessly embedding video, adding “people” blocks to identify individuals involved with certain activities, ability to enter almost unlimited photos in an easily viewable format, and more.

We’ll be posting more information soon!

Data Migration/Import

One of the big “to-do” list items for the new website and database is getting our data organized, updated, and into a specific format for OMBU to upload into the Salesforce database. Once the data is uploaded into Salesforce it will be linked to the new website, and will be accessible in a variety of ways to users.

Since our data is currently located in a bunch of different places AND much of the data we want to enter into the new system has never actually been recorded, this job is easier said than done. Thankfully, we have a dedicated group of volunteers helping to not only input old data, but source data from the internet, books, and other information sources.

Places

A good relational database is organized around tables of data that are linked together through the usage of primary keys. One of the many important tables we have in our new system is a table for places. We want to include every place the Mazamas could have an activity into the Place table. By adding places to this table, when we add activities we can link to a place, thereby allowing someone searching our site to see everything that takes place in a single location.

What does this mean for you? If you are interested in everything taking place on Mt. Hood, you’ll be able to search for that!

Activities

As you know, the Mazamas host a number of activities. While the term activities may be new, this encompasses climbs, hikes, outings, classes—some are shorter, some are longer, but they are all activities.

In order to make the system work, we have to create a table that contains all of the POSSIBLE activities we could schedule. We are doing this by going back through old records to try to locate all the activities we have done in the past and using this to start populating the table. We then add a bunch of new data to the table, things such as latitude and longitude, external website links, badges earned, and more in order to capture everything we need to know about the activity.

As you can imagine, this is a BIG job!

What does this mean for you? When you use the new site, if you look at the route description of Mt. Hood South Side or Table Mountain, you’ll be able to view a variety of information all in one place AND see the upcoming dates of that activity (if there are any), as well as past dates.

Participation

This is probably the hardest piece of the puzzle. Because the new system will heavily utilize Badges as a qualification for activities, we want to populate as much past participation info as we can. The problem is that information is not centralized. It lives with previous class coordinators and instructors, and sometimes it lives on paper sheets that are “filed” in a box somewhere. That said, we have reached out to all the committees to try to get any data they do have on participation. We also have climb participation in our internal database. By utilizing those information sources we are attempting to build as comprehensive of a profile for people as we can for the last FIVE YEARS of participation in activities with the Mazamas (specifically classes and climbs). This data will be imported into the new system and visible when you first login.

Do you think you might have some data to add to our data migration process, such as class, climb, outing, or hike records? Then please get in touch! Email sarah@mazamas.org.

A New Way of Doing (Almost) Everything is Coming Soon!

by Sarah Bradham, Mazamas Director of Marketing & Communication

We have completed the build of the new database (CRM) that will power the new website experience, completed our first round of data migration (importing data into the new system), and signed off on the new home page design. This project update provides you with a high-level timeline as well as details on some of the new website features that we will all be able to utilize starting in early 2018. At the end of the climbing season, you should start rounding up any old climb cards, because we will not be using them in 2018!

Streamlined

Your new Mazama website experience has been completely redesigned for simplicity. Four main navigation options on the home page align with what we do at the Mazamas: Education, Activities, Community, and Get Involved. Subnavigation on the homage page will lead you directly to other important topics, such as Volunteer, Membership Info, About Us, Calendar and Search.

Full Event & Activity List

All activities and events at the Mazamas will be viewable in one location and will be easily searchable. Interested in climbing Mt. Hood in June? You can search for that. How about going on a hike in the Gorge in July with kids? You can search for that too. Our homepage will have a short list of upcoming events, and you’ll be able to dive into a full list of opportunities with one click.

Search

A robust search feature will allow you to quickly and easily search the entire Mazama website and see your results sorted by topic, such as: Education, Activities, Volunteer Opportunities, and more.

Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in volunteering with the Mazamas? On our new site you’ll have the ability to add your volunteer interests and skills to your personal profile. You can then explore the volunteer opportunities available and sign up for volunteer shifts through the website. You can record your volunteer hours. The best part? We’ll be able to tally up all of the hours Mazama volunteers are donating to the organization AND recognize you for your contribution. Participant Profile All Mazama Members and anyone who participates in a Mazama activity can create a participant profile. This profile will include basic information such as contact information, but will also contain more detailed information—think the types of things you currently include on a climb card or outings application—and the user will have the ability to customize what data is public and what data is private.

Mazama Badges

Mazama Badges are going to be a visual way for you to track and display your involvement with the Mazamas. From activtity badges to skill badges to award badges, you’ll be able to earn badges for just about anything you do at the Mazamas! Badges will not only allow you to track what you do with the Mazamas, but they will also unlock opportunities for you within the Mazamas. For example, a certain climb might require a certain skill badge. If you have the badge, you’ll be able to apply for the climb. If you don’t have the skill badge, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for the badge.

Activity Registration

NO MORE CLIMB CARDS!!! You will sign up for all Mazamas classes and activities through the Mazama website. You’ll complete your Mazama profile so that all required data for a class or activity is already on file. When you are ready to apply for an activity, you be prompted to provide some activity specific information, but there’ll be no need to repeatedly enter your basic information, such as contact info, class history, and activity history into the system. Anything you do with the Mazamas will automatically be a part of your profile. AND, you’ll have the opportunity to enter relevant external training and activity history into your profile.

Activity Tracking

When you sign up for an activity—a class, climb, hike, outing, etc …—you’ll be able to see your status in your online profile. If you are accepted, you will receive all the relevant information through links on your personal profile. Once you complete the activity, your status in that activity will be recorded on your profile.

July 12, 2017 Update from Peter

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by: Peter Tung, IT Project Manager, Encore SVP Fellow

We have completed Phase 2 Website UX Visual Design.  In general, Mazamas stakeholders are very satisfied about the final Website UX wireframes and visual design. OMBU engineers are now implementing Phase 2 web software based on the visual design. Target completion date is late September.

We also kick-started the Phase 3 “Activity and Course” UX Visual Design work this week. OMBU proposed the initial UX design for BCEP and the feedback from Mazamas stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive!! We are definitely having a great start for the UX Visual Design work.

After multiple sessions to discuss the IT project schedule issues with OMBU, they proposed a new schedule to meet the Mazamas Jan 2018 launch date.  Some features (including Volunteer Registration, Notification, and Search) will be delayed to April 2018 in order to meet the tight timeline. The initial launch focus will be supporting BCEP Registration. It is imperative to hit this deadline in order to ensure online BCEP Registration for 2018 to fully test the system. BCEP will provide a real-world stress test on the system and allow us to find any bugs that made it through the Q&A process.

Even though the new schedule is more realistic than the old one, we are still concerned about the tight schedule and limited quality assurance resources from OMBU.  We will continue to work with OMBU to address these schedule issues.

June 22, 2017 Update from Peter

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by: Peter Tung, IT Project Manager, Encore SVP Fellow

We continue to make great progress on Web UX Visual Design & Data Migration this week. However, the project schedule for our targeted Jan 2018 product launch is at risk. OMBU will propose and review a new work plan to bring in the schedule next week.

  • Data Migration: OMBU has fixed most problems reported by us during the Data Migration validate. New Data Migration Software has been deployed and executed.   Also, OMBU is committed to doing 4 addtional rounds of Data Migration (Aug 17, Oct 17, Dec 17, Jan 18) to capture most recent data and fix problems before our product launch in Jan 2018.
  • Web Ux Design: OMBU has completed their Home Page Redesign and it was well received by Mazamas stakeholders. The final Mazamas feedback was provided to OMBU.
  • Overall Project Schedule: OMBU has delayed the launch schedule to Feb 2018 (one month after the target product launch date). OMBU is working on plans to pull the schedule in.  We will review the new plan on June 27, 2017.

Let’s Talk About Badges

by Sarah Bradham

If you have been following along with the Mazamas new IT Project and website you have probably heard the word badges. But what are badges and how are they going to be used? And why do you care?

Badges will be front and center in our new website and will drive much of the way you interact with the Mazamas moving forward. They are designed to be not only extremely functional but a fun way for you to track your involvement at the Mazamas and share your skills, education, and awards with others.

Types of Badges

There will be a variety of types of badges. Currently, we have Activity, Awards, Education, Leader Education, Outside Course, Qualification, Recognition, and Skill Badges.

How do you Get Badges?

Badges will primarily be earned through Mazama activities and classes, but they can also be earned by taking non-Mazama courses that are relevant to Mazama activities, as well as more administrative tasks such as completing a required form.

How will Badges be Used?

There are multiple objectives to employing the badge system:

  1. It lets you, as the site user, track your involvement with the Mazamas
  2. It lets the Mazamas verify that you have the skills for a certain activity or class
  3. It lets the Mazamas track that you have completed required tasks, such as leader training or volunteer training

That’s the nuts and bolts of it, but I’m sure you are all wondering how will this really work in practice? Let’s start with a couple of examples:

Applying for a Climb

Let’s say someone wants to climb Middle Sister. A Middle Sister climb is on the climb schedule and the prerequisites indicate that you need the Basic Snow (Skill Badge) badge in order to apply for the climb.

  • Case 1: Joe Smith took BCEP several months prior and as a result was awarded the Course: BCEP (Education) badge as well as the Basic Rock (Skill) and Basic Snow badges. Since Joe has the required badge he can apply for the climb.
  • Case 2: Jane Doe hasn’t take BCEP with the Mazamas, but she took a beginning mountaineering course with NOLS. She sees the Middle Sister climb on the calendar but it is greyed out as she doesn’t have the required skills to apply. But she sees an “apply for badge” link. She clicks on that link and applies for the Basic Snow badge because she feels the NOLS class provided her equivalent experience. Her application is reviewed and she is granted the Basic Snow badge. Jane can now apply for the climb.

Qualification Badges

Activities and volunteer roles also require other, more administrative, qualifications in order to participate. We are also tracking these requirements through badges.

  • Waiver Badge: To participate in any Mazama Activity you must sign a Mazama waiver. Whether it is a hike, climb, course … a waiver is required. You probably are familiar with signing a waiver every single time you do an activity. But no more! To participate in a Mazama Activity you must have an account on the new Mazama website. When you go to sign up for your first Mazama Activity, you will be asked to review and sign the Mazama waiver. Once the waiver is signed, you can then register for an activity because you will have the Waiver Badge.
  • Volunteer Orientation: All Mazama volunteers need to go through a Mazama Volunteer Orientation in order to sign up for a volunteer shift. Once you complete that orientation you will receive the Volunteer Orientation badge which will allow you to sign up for a volunteer shift.
  • Background Check: If you want to volunteer for an activity that involves kids, you will have to have a background check. Once the background check is complete, you will receive a background check badge (this is one of the only badges that will always be private, i.e. it won’t show up on your profile even if you make the badges portion of your profile public)

Involvement

Volunteerism: When your volunteer hours tick up past a certain number, we can award you badges, such as 100 hours, 200 hours, 500 hours, 1000 hours. It’ll be a great addition to your profile.

Awards: Have you climbed the Guardian Peaks with the Mazamas? Or hiked 250 miles? Based on your Mazama Activity history we will be able to award you these pages when you reach milestones.

Leadership: If you are a Mazama hike, climb, or outings leader you will have the appropriate badge on your profile. These leadership badges will allow you to do certain things, such as schedule a climb or hike.

There is a lot more to it than that, but this provides you with a broad overview of how the badge system will work. We have designed it to be flexible enough to allow for individuals outside of the traditional Mazama system to be able to easily participate in our activities by providing documentation of their training level. As well as to track your entire history of involvement with the Mazamas so you can quickly look back and see what you have done.

Questions? Please ask!

June 16—Update from Sarah

It has been a very busy couple of weeks, and we are thrilled to be making some major progress on the project.

CRM, Data Migration, and Home Page Design

We have instituted a new sign off policy so that all phases must be signed off by the Mazamas and OMBU. These three key phases were completed on June 9.

  • OMBU completed the minor tweaks that were needed for the Mazamas to sign off on the CRM Phase. CRM Phase is now complete.
  • OMBU completed a second data migration to test the new scripts. This data migration was 90% accurate and we signed off on the Data Migration with several defects noted that will be fixed on the next round of data migration. [Note: We will have three more rounds of data migration prior to launch]
  • The Mazamas reviewed and signed off on the second version of the Home Page comps. This allows work to proceed on finalizing the home page design and beginning the process of designing the internal pages.

Heroku Connect: How our Salesforce CRM will sync with our website

When we had initially scoped our project, OMBU was going to build a custom tool that would sync our CRM with our website. At the time this custom solution was our best option, and although somewhat expensive to build and maintain. However, over the last few months OMBU became aware of a Salesforce product called Heroku Connect that does exactly what they were going to custom build for us. The benefit of going with this Saleforce product is that it will be maintained directly by Salesforce. Although we will be charged an annual fee to go with this solution, over a five year period the cost for this solution is on par with what we would pay OMBU to keep our custom solution working. We have made the decision to move forward with Heroku Connect and are working on the final contract now and should have it signed by the end of the month.

Project Timeline

With a project manager change, a delay in our CRM Phase, and our rejection of the initial Home Page comps, the project schedule is getting a little behind. We have impressed upon OMBU the vital importance of having our Class Registration fully operational by the time BCEP 2018 registration is ready to get underway. They are aware of this very important deadline and will be presenting us with a revised schedule on June 27. It is possible we may need to launch the project in two phases, with Class Registration coming online a little earlier than Activities Registration. We will know more by next week.

 

 

June 1—Update from Sarah

Sprint 9

Sprint 9 is one of the smaller sprints we have reviewed. This sprint largely focused on Mazama Badges and how they would be displayed on the website and mobile site. In addition, this sprint also contained a workup of the “Who We Are” section of the new site. On this page we will have the ability to highlight the people that make up the Mazamas—our board, staff, activity leaders, instructors. This will be a great new feature on our website.

We had very little feedback on this sprint and it accepted it as is.

Visual Design

We had a very productive meeting with OMBU on May 18 regarding our feedback on the Home Page comps. Our feedback centered around the fact that all along we have felt that the wireframes were right on target with regards to the look and feel we were hoping to have for our site. We left the meeting with the Mazamas agreeing to go through the wireframes and to send OMBU additional photos and suggestions of where they should go in the wireframes. OMBU would then take the original wireframes, add in new photos and the colors from the mood board palette, and present us with a new Visual Design. The new comps are due on June 7.

Data Migration

The first round of data migration was completed in mid-May. Peter and I went through a checklist to determine if the data from the data migration templates had been migrated correctly into the Salesforce CRM. Overall the data migration was pretty clean, but there were a few problems with the data. We reported our findings to OMBU and they will be working to revise their data migration scripts and redo the data migration to test the new scripts.

CRM Acceptance

We are still working through a few minor issues that are holding up CRM Acceptance. We are hoping to sign off on the CRM in the next two weeks.

May 16, 2017—Update from Sarah

Over the last few weeks we have reviewed Sprints 7 & 8 and started into the Visual Design phase of the project.

You can review the scope of Sprints 7 & 8 here: http://mazamasitproject.org/index.php/2017/04/21/update-from-sarah-april-21-2017/

Sprint 7 Notes

  • Social Login: We are including social media login options for our new website; however users will be encouraged to create a standard account
  • Waiver: When a user signs up for their first activity with the Mazamas they will be directed to sign the universal Mazama waiver. This waiver will be in place for one year and will apply to all Mazama activities/education programs.
  • Join Process: We are streamlining our Join process to be more automatic with a double-check of criteria on the backend.
  • Pro-Rated Memberhip: We are reviewing the option of pro-rated memberships.
  • Renewal: When a member is logged into the site and they are getting close to the membership renewal period, they will get a visual indicator on the site that they should renew now.
  • User Profile: All site users, i.e. anyone who creates an account, will have the opportunity to create a user profile. This profile will include:
    • Contact Information
    • Personal Bio
    • Non-Mazama Training and Activities
    • Mazama Badges Earned
    • Mazama Activities
    • Mazama Volunteer Hours
    • The user will be able to determine which of these fields are publicly vieweable to other site users; an activity leader will always be able to see the user information that is relevant to the activity regardless of whether the information has been made public

Sprint 8 Notes

  • The Home Page is designed to heavily utilize photography with a large “hero” image.
  • We will have a What’s Happening section just above the fold that will allow us to highlight timely information
  • Climbing Education, Mazama History, and Stewardship & Advocacy will all be highlighted as you scroll down through the home page
  • We are tweaking the donation pages to provide a very streamlined, easy to use donor experience for anyone interested in supporting the Mazamas
  • The site search feature will be very robust and will provide your search results by category to make it easier to find the answer you are looking for.

Home Page Comps

The initial comps of the Home Page design were presented on May 10. This was our second presentation within the Visual Design phase, with the first focusing solely on the mood boards, i.e. colors, fonts, etc … The initial comps for the Home Page were not in line with what we had been hoping for with regards to our new website presence. Visual Design feedback was due on May 17, but we provided feedback on May 12 as we knew this rejection of the first round of comps might add extra time to the project. We are meeting with the OMBU team on May 18 to go over Sprint 9 and also to provide very detailed, in-person feedback on the home page comps to get us steered in the right direction for our new design.