Case Study

Case Commons

Family-centric Technology that Puts the “Social” in Social Services



"I can’t imagine how we would have succeeded with anybody but Pivotal Labs. Building something this complicated in less than two years is amazing and we did it at a fraction of cost of a legacy system provider."

Kathleen Feely, Case Commons CEO


Frustrated with the counterproductive technology and linear process used by legacy systems to support case workers in social services, Case Commons sought to create a more intuitive and holistic case management system modeled on social networking to further their mission of better serving vulnerable families and children through the use of web-based software and tools.


Case Commons came to Pivotal Labs to build a person and family-centric experience that contextualizes the case in terms of relationships rather than isolating it from the larger social picture. This socially-based approach makes it possible to track individual children and families over time, interact visually with collected data and share insights within the user community.

After designing a prototype for child welfare management at the county level, we built software to replace a client-server, legacy enterprise system that had become so cumber-some caseworkers avoided using it, preferring paper files instead. “Caseworkers were spending too much time fighting the legacy technology as opposed to helping families,” explains Josh Knowles of Pivotal Labs. “We built a system that lets them focus on what’s important.”


The Casebook software is a success thanks to the discipline of a large development team. Pivotal Labs and Case Commons engineers pair-programmed all day every day, using automated testing to iterate quickly and de-ploy with confidence in the product’s quality and performance.