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Southland Benefit Solutions, LLC
Summary

Client needed a dental insurance wizard created within one month before Open Enrollment. The client provided screen shots of what they wanted the application to look like, the specifics as to what needed to be done were left to our firm.

Estimated Project Duration: 3 Months

Actual Project Duration: 1 Month

Problem

The project manager had limited knowledge of the specifics as to how the application would need to function. Southland Benefit Solutions had to be approved by the State of Alabama to accept dental insurance applications online before Open Enrollment 2015. The application submitted for review was a paper application and the online application had to be a complete duplicate of their hard copy. It was a race against the clock to have a functional web application created with limited requirements within one month.

Solution

Development: Due to time limitations, WordPress had to be the base solution for the web application. We decided on two key WordPress plugins, WooCommerce (shopping cart) and Accept.Me (Signature Software), to reduce custom development to meet time constraints. Because there were no plugins that exactly met all of our needs, major modifications had to be made to WooCommerce and Accept.Me in order to complete the project. A custom WordPress plugin was created to hook into WooCommerce and Accept.Me events to perform the following custom actions:

  • Display real-time user information in PDF for signing
  • Generate signed PDF of enrollment application and ID cards
  • Correctly calculate enrollment effective dates
  • Create dynamic custom shopping cart items on application finalization
  • Dynamically generate wizard information
  • Store all application information in an external database

Administration: Once the application was launched, we recommended that Southland setup a test server to introduce changes to the application instead of making updates on the live server. Configuration management was also introduced along with a plan for peer reviews and issue tracking.

Cross-Training: Southland also needed to have one of their new developers, unfamiliar with web development, cross-trained. Within one day, developer was introduced the entire tool including tutorials on WordPress, WooCommerce and Accept.ME. Developer is now able to maintain the application with minimal assistance.

Development Environment: Windows Server 2010 / IIS

Tools
Applications
  • Visual Paradigm (Drafting)

    Preferred UML tool of our Elite Technical Team

  • CodeLobster (IDE)

    We currently specialize in Mac OS X development and preferred tool is Coda. After evaluation, CodeLobster was the best choice for object oriented development in a Windows environment.

  • Source Tree

    Source Tree is the primary Git repository client for our Elite Development Team.

  • mySQL Workbench

    Preferred database relational tool of our Elite Technical Team

Languages
  • PHP

    All WordPress plugins are written in PHP.

  • AJAX/JSON

    Chose AJAX over angular.JS for simplicity.

  • mySQL

    We encountered several access limitations when setting up SQL Server on the Windows server and decided to rewrite code to communicate with a mySQL database instead.

Methodologies
  • Agile Hybrid (Extreme Programming / Test Driven Development)

    Sprints are usually 30 days and we only had 30 days to complete the project so sprints were broken up into increments of 2-3 days for each component.

Deliverables
  • Custom WordPress Plugin

    A custom WordPress plugin was built that functions as the entire dental insurance wizard application.

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