My name is Elisse, and I have been part of the product development team here at Reducept for the past nine months. Lovely to meet you! I am here today to tell you a little about how the new version of our dashboard, which we released a few weeks ago, came to be.
I work as a software tester and quality assurance officer to make the Reducept software the best it can be. In non-tech terms, this means our programmer develops new things, and I put it through tests to see if I can break what he made. Every error I can cause during testing is a new bug for our programmer to fix, and the more I find before we send it to you, our users, the better! (Well, not for our programmer - it’s surprising that he still likes me.)
Not many people know this, but Reducept is a tiny company! It started out as the dream of just two people, and even today there are just a handful of us. This means everyone here wears many hats, and that there are always chances to learn new skills.
In fact, one of my favorite things about working here is that we have a lot of flexibility and freedom to get involved in different aspects of Reducept! This is how I came to manage the release of our new dashboard, which was unveiled a few weeks ago.
Version 2 of the dashboard was by far the biggest development project we worked on since the Reducept application was released to the public. We have worked on it for approximately a year alongside our external partners. The project was already full steam ahead by the time I came on board, and many people from different tech backgrounds had spent months laying down the foundation for our vision.
In order to create the best product we could, we started from scratch and did not reuse any of our old code. According to what you told us over the last years, we also had to completely change the way we think about your workflow and needs. Getting into this mindset can be quite challenging, as it requires us to be constantly aware of our thought patterns and not fall into what is easy and familiar.
As well as being the biggest project we ever took on, this release was also the most important so far. We wanted to drastically improve the experience of the hundreds of medical practitioners who work on our software every day, and provide them with all the data they need to ensure their treatment is working. We wanted to make administrative tasks much more intuitive and faster, so that professionals spend less time on making Reducept work, and more time on their patients. We wanted your voice to be heard, and we wanted you to know: We listen.
A project of this size involves many steps. First, we have to listen to our users (in this case, medical practitioners) to learn what they like, want to see improved, and what functionality they would like to have. We read every email you send and keep detailed notes on your feedback. This role falls to our customer support.
Then we translate this knowledge into features our new version should have. In this step, we have to think quite thoroughly about how to achieve what the users want, and make it simple and easy to learn. This is where our user experience (UX) designer comes in. We also have to make sure that the app does not lose anything from its therapeutic value. Louis, as our chief science officer, gets quite a few questions at this point!
Afterwards, there is the task of designing what the new product should look like. Our designer is the person who does that. The next step is writing down a series of tasks for our developers to work on, starting from the basics of the software. We translate all the features we decided on into small steps that can be programmed one by one. This makes for a really long list!
After we create this list, programmers read it and tell us when we can expect the project to be finished, as well as how long they think each task will take. This helps us coordinate with everyone involved, including our marketing team, who are in charge of all communication related to this product update. Informing our users about what we created is just as important as creating something new!
Finally, it is time for programmers to start developing. As they check off the tasks on the list, the software tester (that’s me!) decides whether it does what we wanted it to do, and finds any bugs that need to be fixed. This continues until all the tasks are completed.
As you can see, there are many people involved in bringing a Reducept project to fruition! With so many people and so much work to be done, we need someone who keeps track of all the steps that were done and everything that still needs to be done. In addition, messages must be relayed between different team members who might not know each other’s area of expertise, so any communication needs to be “translated” into a “language” both sides can understand (not everyone speaks Programmer-ese after all). The direction, priorities, and deadlines should be determined, and everyone informed. This falls to the project manager.
While demanding, this project was a great opportunity for me to work closely with a diverse set of very talented people. Our external development partners lent us years of their experience creating software, while you, our users, generously shared your time and thoughts through email, social media messages, webinars, and co-creation sessions. One of the greatest things about Reducept is how much the company encourages learning new things and gaining new skills, and one of the best ways to make that happen is to observe experts at work! I am very grateful to all of my colleagues and the Reducept community for everything I learned during this project.
On behalf of everyone who made our new dashboard a reality, thank you for your support and your patience. We could not have done it without your stories inspiring us daily.
As always, we would love to hear what you think, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
A letter from the Reducept Software Tester: how we built Dashboard V2