Customization Request Process
Many of the clients that join Academy of Mine are not only just excited about our feature-rich platform, but also because we allow them to pay for custom functionality or changes to their platform. This allows our clients to add functionality that is tailored for how they are planning to run their LMS platform in relation to their business operations, something that is incredibly rare in the LMS industry. Instead of needing to hire a web agency to develop an entire LMS from scratch, our clients can use our core platform and build the most-needed custom functionality on top, saving a lot of money and time.
Clients that are looking to request changes to their platform will have to initiate our Customization Request Process. Academy of Mine is going to help clients work through the requirements of the functionality, evaluate what the platform offers out of the box and consider potential work arounds, spin up a custom proposal for the development work to be done which includes a price and estimated timeline for release, and schedule the work. It is important to understand that we expect clients to spend the time needed to really work through the details with our team in order to avoid unexpected surprises or complications down the road. Below is the process at a high-level:
Customization Request Process
- In order to request a customization or change to the platform, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating what functionality you are looking for and why. The support team might be able to point you to where you can already find this functionality, or perhaps suggest some easy work arounds. If, however, the functionality does not exist and has to indeed be coded for you, they will give you a range of hours of the cost associated. This is of course a preliminary cost estimate that will be adjusted once requirements are clarified, but we want to make sure there are no big surprises for you later.
- Once you have decided that you are willing to pay for the custom functionality, we will come back to you to work out the requirements. This process can include some back and forth - depending on the size and scope of the functionality - as we will want to fully understand what you are looking for, so we can present the best or perhaps multiple approaches considering budget and timeline. These discussions about requirements generally happen via the ticket as well as on Requirement Calls.
- Then we will write out the specifications for the functionality in a proposal which also includes the details on the cost of the work as well as the expected target release date. We will ask the client to thoroughly vet the specification details, including the assumptions and open questions included in the document, as this will be used directly by our development team to build the functionality. Discrepancies between the desired functionality and the specifications have to be addressed here.
- Once we have confirmation on the proposal and details, we will loop in Accounting to handle the payment, and schedule out the work with the development team. If there any questions the development team may have during the process, we will reach out to you for clarification.
- We will reach out to you when the functionality is ready to be tested. The target release date included in the proposal is a tentative release date for User Acceptance Testing. That means the development team has completed the initial build, has done their own sanity testing, and will now present it to the client for testing and sign-off. Depending on the activity on the client platform, the development team may decide to deploy the functionality on a temporary staging environment. We will do this to make sure that if there are unexpected issues, the live platform and users are not affected. It is very important that the client takes the time to go through the new functionality and confirm all is working as intended. Only once we have the sign-off can we deploy the functionality on the live platform and close the work.
Important additional details
- By default, any change request will be considered a paid customization. In exceptional cases, the team can decide to provide small functionality as a courtesy. Furthermore, we may be aware of similar functionality that has been provided to a client in the past and can suggest a direct copy of that functionality. This does not eliminate all costs as there is still work involved for requirement collection, extracting existing code, technical analysis to prevent code conflicts, deployment of the code, and testing, but it may significantly reduce the total fee.
- The hourly fee is set at $125/hour. Our minimum customization billing starts at 8 hours, depending on the complexity of the item.
- We calculate the target release data based on the development hours required and development bandwidth available.
- We do not develop multiple customizations for a client in parallel. Instead, when a client has multiple items that they want to pay for to get developed, we will tackle each item one-by-one.
- When feature items in your Academy of Mine contract have been agreed upon, they will be listed in a Statement of Work. If the requirements listed in your Statement of Work (SOW) remain in the initial scope, there will be no additional costs. However, if the scope of the SOW changes and supplemental work is deemed necessary, additional costs may be incurred.