Case Study

Charity Water

charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations


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"The Pivots demonstrated their commitment to the product’s success by repeatedly going the extra mile to provide feedback and recommendations, asking excellent questions during iteration planning meetings, creating flowcharts and other detailed documentation to break down complex logic, and so on. We were fully confident that the product was in capable hands."

Saqib Bedi, Product Manager

Introduction

charity: water is a non-profit organization founded in 2006 which helps to build water points around the world in communities that lack access to clean, healthy water. They have helped fund over 13,000 projects and 4.4 million beneficiaries.

When they first came to Pivotal Labs, they were looking to build a comprehensive software solution to assist in managing their current and future maintenance programs. A real-time dashboard that regularly updated water point status with survey and sensor data would help both staff and field workers continuously monitor water points. In addition, a ticketing system would help field staff manage their time by prioritizing work and ensuring that critical issues could be addressed in a timely manner.

Challenges

Our challenge was to develop a system that integrates automated data received from sensors with survey responses delivered by workers in the field. This goal was further complicated by the fact that the survey questions change periodically and the physical sensor hardware and firmware were being developed codependently. Additionally, the system needed to function on a global scale.

Solution

By partnering with charity: water, Pivotal Labs developed Dispatch Monitor, a Ruby on Rails web application with the mission of aggregating survey and sensor data from the field to monitor and manage water points. With a simple dashboard and Google Maps integration, Dispatch Monitor provides a high-level, at-a-glance view of the current status of the water points around the world, while also allowing program managers and field workers to dive deeper into details when required.

By capturing survey responses from field workers and water flow information from sensors, Dispatch Monitor can determine the status of a particular water point. When a water point experiences reduced operation, Dispatch Monitor will generate a new ticket to help program managers and field workers coordinate their day-to-day operations.

Benefits

Dispatch Monitor provides in-depth insight into charity: water’s operations. As a result, they can now respond faster to water point issues and use donations more effectively.

While building Dispatch Monitor with Pivotal Labs, charity: water has been very outspoken about how pleased they are with the outcome. After demoing in Ethiopia, field workers were very impressed with the solution. charity: water plans to use the new application in marketing as a motivation for donors and grantors.

The chosen technologies integrate well with charity: water’s stack, which provides ease of continued development. Additionally, their team members improved their agile project management skills.

Conclusion

charity: water has expressed their interest in continuing development with Pivotal Labs. Dispatch Monitor will be used in the field over the next few months, and the feedback gathered in that period will help focus development of the next version.

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