KRS is a competition data evaluation and data collection IT solution, that uses WorldSkills data evaluation algorithm. It facilitates data input and evaluation for competition experts and data input specialists, and provides reliable reports in real time.
Me and some other colleges from my team were participating in an EU project for popularizing and innovating vocational education. We were specializing in web development and graphic design. We enjoyed the teaching experience, but we were struggling with the enormous amount of paperwork. Then we had this idea, the global organization had a specific IT solution for result input that was being used during competitions. Arrogant as software engineers are, we decided to make our own.
A VAGUE IDEA OF HOW IT SHOULD FUNCTION
WILL NEED STATE AGENCY APPROVAL TO ACTUALLY USE IT IN NATIONAL COMPETITIONS
NEED A CLOSE DEADLINE FOR THE PRODUCT TO BE RELEVANT
CLEAR UNDERSTANDING THAT IT IS GOING TO BE PRO BONO
This was not ordered by someone and was our own initiative. The funding was private and there was little to no hope that it could be marketable. The algorithms needed were not known and it took good 2 months into developing user stories, till we had an understanding of what is it that we are making. At first the state agency wanted to hear nothing about it. An IT solution for something so simple, in their eyes, would only make it more difficult. And who could blame them. When we had the chance to present, it had to be incredibly precise. But it wasn’t. The first time we got to use it, there were multiple issues with data input and output. We were starting to understand that this project is taking up too much time and it might be time to drop it.
We soldiered through. We had many talks among ourselves, we analysed everything. We updated user stories, we tested manually, with scripts, and stress tests multiple times before asking for opinion. During competitions we made backups every few minutes. Yes, it was not kind on our resources. But that made it possible to give good demos to state agency team and to some experts on the competition. Each time we gave the access to another person, we made sure that one of our own were there to explain the system to them and guide through the designated path. That made the difference. The data input specialists and competition experts gave valuable input on what and how the system needed to be tweaked, and finally we had a needed product.
Our persistence and attention to detail paid off. Data input was made simpler. The calculations were precise. The process had been made more time efficient and more reliable. And people wanted to work with it. We had created a need for it. So we could finally make a pitch. The rest is history because now it had become a marketable product.