App development for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation is the estate expert for defence, supporting the armed forces to enable military capability by planning, building, maintaining, and servicing infrastructure. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation is part of the Ministry of Defence.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plays a vital role in supporting the Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing the infrastructure that service personnel need to live, work, train and deploy on operations.
The Command Infrastructure Delivery Plan (CIDP) is the document that details what the DIO is expected to deliver and agrees to contribute to the delivery of a (Front Line Command) customer’s output.
The CIDP constitutes an element of the customers planned Infrastructure Programme of Work (IPOW) for 1+1+8 years and the DIO’s agreement to achieve those planned works to programmed performance, time, and cost.
Previously, the CIDP was made up of hundreds of individual spreadsheets supplied by the customer to DIO. These were combined by the DIO into a single source of information. Attempts to improve this process have been made previously and the consolidated CIDP resided on a Microsoft SharePoint site utilising the MOD’s Office 365 capability, however, this was not a long-term solution.
The project was to provide an altogether more efficient, automated, and integrated solution.
Phase 1 development provided the capability
to contain CIDP information within DIO’s Infrastructure Management System (IMS). Phase 2 delivered a TRIRIGA Perceptive App (commonly known as UX App) which will enable users to access the capability without having to enter the full IMS client.
DEVELOPING A BESPOKE APP
The solution was a new CIDP TRIRIGA UX app, that overlays a modern, easy to use interface over the existing phase 1 IMS CIDP capability. This allows the TLB customer to log and review CIDP entries, and for the CDM User Community to update, approve and manage the entries.
The Grid View in the application is generated by using the feature rich AG-Grid web component (AG_Grid) which resembles the features available in Excel, being a familiar and powerful user interface to incorporate into the CIDP UX app.
Whilst the UX app was developed using the Google Polymer based TRIRIGA UX tools, it is also loosely coupled with the underlying IMS, by utilising Application Programming Interface (API) calls and Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) to retrieve data from the IMS and to trigger updates from the CIDP UX app. Not only does this approach result in improved performance of the app, it keeps it in-line with Chief Information Officer (CIO) architectural principles and allows for potential portability of the UX app code should there be any major changes to the underlying IMS system.
The CIDP Views is a library of records in the IMS that identifies the visible CIDP columns available to the user. These are associated to a user in the IMS as an addition to the current IMS user set up/ update process. The CIDP UX App then references the user’s associated View Template and security access to build the user’s default Grid View.
In addition to this library of View Templates, the user can further filter the visible columns and rows within the CIDP UX App, using the in-built features of AG-Grid. Reporting is delivered within this Grid View feature, allowing flexible filtering and searching, along with the ability to export.We implemented the application using a fully Agile approach, so as to de-risk the UAT and delivery phase, ensuring maximum customer satisfaction, resulting in greater user adoption and realised benefits.
Working to a tight deadline, the MACS team had to develop and deliver a TRIRIGA perceptive App (also known as a UX App) enabling users to access the capabilities required without having to enter the IMS client. The development of Covid-19 affected the initial stages of the app, however the deadline was only pushed back by three months. This was achieved through strategic planning, engagement, and good communication through all stages of the process. All feedback from the client and users is positive, highlighting the adaptability of the MACS team.
“We have seen so many benefits from the MACS Agile approach to developing the DIO CIDP application.
Team members are empowered which encourages diversity of ideas, allowing the early release of benefits and promotes a culture of continuous improvement.
Agile helps build engagement because changes are incremental and evolutionary rather than revolutionary: it can therefore be effective in supporting cultural change that is critical to the success of most transformation projects.
Agile allows decisions to be tested and rejected early: the tight feedback loops provide benefits in agile that are not as evident in waterfall.
As the CIDP project moves from formal project to remedial/final actions, we really appreciated the hard work and brilliance in producing and delivering the CIDP UX.
The MACS team have been helpful, approachable, and patient. It was a pleasure to work with the team.”
AN APP FOR THE FUTURE
With the CIDP app now being live and utilised by the users, further updates will be likely to be developed and implemented, to ensure the application supports and evolves with the requirements of this function for the DIO.