Background

Lions Befrienders Service Assocication (Singapore) In this project, our client was Lions Befrienders Service Association (LBSA).

LBSA is a Voluntary Welfare Organisation which was founded in 1995 by the Lions Clubs of Singapore and a Lions District Project. LBSA is a registered member of the National Council of Social Service. Their vision is to keep Singapore “a nation where every senior is active, healthy and happy”.

LBSA’s operation is split into 3 main sectors: Befriending, Seniors’ Activity Centres (SACs) and Cluster Support. Our current system handles the operations of Befriending and SACs, with a future plan to extend the support to Cluster Support as well.

LBSA Befriending program reaches out to seniors who are at risk of social isolation. Trained befrienders (volunteers) provide social and psycho-emotional support to befriendees (seniors)  through weekly home visits. Seniors aged 65 years old and above with limited or no family support are eligible for the service at no charge. The aim is to help them age in place within the community and alleviate them from loneliness and social isolation.

LBSA SACs’ goal is to improve senior citizens’ quality of life, especially those with financial difficulty. The centres conduct activities and programmes that help seniors in certain neighbourhoods to be physically and mentally alert, and continue to keep them involved with the community.

Project Objectives

Since 2010, LBSA has been using a system developed by CVWO to handle all of their daily operations. However, as they expanded over the years, their requirements changed significantly enough that the old system can no longer provide effective support. The old system, built on the PHP Drupal 7 framework, was getting obsolete and unmaintainable. A complete rewrite of the old system was required. Our goals for the project:

Port over the existing functionalities to the new system: The bulk of the project was focused on porting over all functionalities from the old system to the new one. While porting the system over, we used the opportunity to enhance and redesign the system to fit any new operational requirements from Lions Befrienders, as well as fixing any existing issues.

Redesign the database: Since the first deployment of the old system back in 2010, LBSA have made significant changes in their workflow. A redesign of the database was required.

Laying groundwork for future Cluster Support functionalities: Due to time constraints, porting over the old system alone was a sizable task. We did not have the resources to implement the Cluster Support functionalities, but we have conducted requirement studies to understand their workflow better, so that we can design a base that can accommodate it.

Project Process

Requirement study

In order to understand the problem we are trying to solve, we conducted a series of meetings with LBSA at the start of the summer. We met with each program (Befriending, SAC & Cluster Support) separately to learn about their workflow, as well as their internal conventions. With that understanding, we could evaluate how the old system addressed those problems, and which parts need to be redesigned to fit the new requirements. Since the existing system was sizable, this step was crucial.

Development

There were 2 main phases: Basic CRUD Functionality and Reports.

During the Basic CRUD phase, we focused on getting the models and associations done. Members who worked on closely related modules were grouped together to abstract our common components. Members were also tasked with writing unit tests for each component.

After the basic functionality was done, the team was split in 2: the reports team and the features team, working in parallel. The reports team worked closely together to identify common queries and templates to make sure that we minimized duplicated implementation. Meanwhile, the features team was in charge of implementing more advanced features and polishing the system.

The mobile app was developed by another CVWO’16 team, led by Tham Zheng Yi. We defined a set of APIs prior to development of the mobile app, to prevent any miscommunication.

Throughout the development cycle, we conducted meetings with LBSA to show them the features we had implemented and gathered their feedback.

Deployment

A live version of the system is running on LBSA’s server. Meanwhile, the system is still under development. Tentatively, the system will be launched this coming December 2016.

Screenshots

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Project Team

  • Le Ba Hieu Giang (Project Lead, Year 2)
  • Leonard Hio (Developer, Year 2)
  • Emmanuel Goh (Developer, Year 3)
  • Shen Yichen (Developer, Year 1)
  • Yuan Yuchuan (Developer, Year 1)
  • Lam Chi Thanh (Developer, Year 1)
  • Yang Zhuohan (Developer, Year 1)
  • Jonathan Mulyawan Woenardi (Developer, Year 1)

Afterthoughts

The opportunity to lead a group and work on a project of this scale is extremely rare at the undergraduate level, and I feel most privileged to be chosen. The valuable lessons I have learnt from this summer will definitely help me in my future ventures.

– Le Ba Hieu Giang

It was a very fruitful and enjoyable learning process, and nothing can be more satisfying than seeing your hard work pay off as the project nears completion.

– Leonard Hio

In short, CVWO provided an opportunity to learn unlike any other possible. The intensity at which work was assigned and done, together with the strict monitoring and high standards provided an environment where learning was indeed of the highest quality.

– Emmanuel Goh

The summer was a hectic one. Due to my involvement in CVWO, I did not have the time to be involved in other activities during summer, like the conferences or orientation camps. What I did do was meet a wonderful team, who all share my passions, to build a system that could better society. How cool is that?

– Shen Yichen

To me, it is nothing short of incredible that we have managed to complete what was intended to be a two-summer project in the span of a single summer. For that, I must thank my team lead and teammates, whose motivation, help, and, at times, criticism have enabled us to accomplish such a momentous feat.

– Yuan Yuchuan

Every time I meet with LBSA, seeing the seniors and staff, I feel so happy that I could do something for them, to make their work a bit easier, and that really motivates me to work harder, to get the project done and fully deployed.

– Lam Chi Thanh

For a year one student who has no experience being involved in a complete process of developing software, this summer is an excellent chance for me to learn a lot of things. I met a lot of “大神” (very talented people), made many good friends and received help from them.

– Yang Zhuohan

In 3 months of doing CVWO, I have experienced work and the learning equivalent of the previous year. It has been a tiring journey, but I am grateful that I can experience software development as a whole. CVWO taught me to think and find the appropriate solution to a problem. I am sure this skill is applicable to any aspect of my life after CVWO.

– Jonathan Mulyawan Woenardi

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the following people who have been influential and supportive during our project:

  • Dr Ben Leong (NUS) for his patient guidance.
  • Our seniors Soon Chun Mun and Naomi Leow, for their timely advice.
  • All the staff at LBSA for taking time off their busy schedules to work with us.