The Surplus Property department handles the disposal of assets at Virginia Tech – when a department no longer needs a piece of equipment, they contact Surplus Property to pick it up. Disposal requests were previously filled out on paper by the department, mailed to the surplus warehouse, and re-keyed into a pick-up/inventory system by Surplus Property employees. The Surplus Property department contacted me to help eliminate this duplication of effort, as well as to enforce a number of business rules on the front-end.
While working with the Surplus Property department, I used the lean software development methodology to deliver a number of crude prototypes. This helped us better understand the process and generate valuable feedback on the solution. After arriving at a prototype that covered the basics, I took the product to departments on campus that historically generated a significant volume of surplus requests, sitting with them as they performed the disposal process. Working with these departments uncovered the need for saving certain fields to HTML5 Local Storage to eliminate re-entry, providing validation that explained why certain items could not be disposed of through Surplus Property, and also enabled the elimination of unnecessary fields.
Because we were using a lean process with simple prototypes, I was able to quickly integrate the features sought by departmental users. Implementing these features generated buy-in from key stakeholders – the process users – and helped spread the new process by word-of-mouth rather than by decree from management.
To learn more about Surplus Request, feel free to contact me.
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