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. As they expanded over the years, their requirements changed so much so that the old system can no longer provide effective support, and a complete rewrite of the old system was required. The first year of this multi-year endeavour was spent laying the groundwork for the new system. In the second year, our goals for the project were:

Complete development of the new system: While the bulk of the project had been completed in the first year, there were many uncompleted features as well as bugs in the system. Additionally, LBSA had requested for new features. As such, we needed to finish work on the system

Migrate the database: The new database had to be completely redesigned to meet the new requirements, and as such the old system's database couldn't be directly ported over to the new system. Thus, we had to develop a script to migrate the data.

Deploy the system and provide end-user support: LBSA relied heavily on the old system, and any disruptions to it would severely hamper their operations. As such, we had to ensure a smooth transition from the old system to the new system.

Project Process

Codebase Familiarization

The project already had its groundwork laid by the first-year team and to continue work on it, we first had to understand how it was designed, as well as the rationale behind these choices. This was extremely crucial, as we needed to follow the previous team's design pattern for code maintainability.

Development

Development was split into 3 components: Bug fixing, Functionality implementation and Reports.

We worked on the bugs in the system in the first stage of development. This allowed us to clean up the groundwork laid by the previous team, and further explore the system before moving into feature development proper.

After bug fixing, the team divided into 2 groups, functionality and reports. The functionality team worked on new features requested by LBSA, as well as features that hadn't been implemented by the previous team. The reports team made sure that the reports were accurate, and developed new reports to cater to LBSA's needs.

A notable feature that we implemented was the mood tracker, which allows LBSA to keep track of the mood of their beneficiaries. This data can be used for big data analysis in the future.

User Testing

As we got closer to deployment, we held multiple user testing sessions with LBSA staff. These sessions provided valuable insight into their workflow, allowing us to tweak the functionalities to better support their everyday operations. It also helped us to discover and fix bugs in the system.

Deployment

The new system was deployed on 3rd July 2017. The old system was shut down and the database frozen. The database was migrated and the new system was brought online.

End-user Support

After deployment, we continued to provide end-user support for critical bugs that hadn't been previously discovered.

Screenshots

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Project Team

  • Yuan Yuchuan (Project Lead, Year 2)
  • Ang Zhi Yuan (Developer, Year 1)
  • Ong Kuan Yang (Developer, Year 2)
  • Niu Yunpeng (Developer, Year 1)
  • Ngoc Duc Do (Developer, Year 1)
  • Chu Qing Hao (Developer, Year 1)
  • Liu Hang (Developer, Year 1)
  • Zhang Yijing (Developer, Year 1)
  • Jia Zhixin (Developer, Year 1)
  • Anh Huynh (Developer, Year 1)

Afterthoughts

To be able to contribute to the Lions Befrienders Service Association, and by extension, society at large, while developing the skills in my area of expertise, is an experience that I find invaluable.

– Yuan Yuchuan

By exposing us to real world situations, CVWO has taught us software engineering lessons that cannot be replicated in a classroom setting. It also provided us with a way to contribute back to society, by building these systems for Voluntary Welfare Organizations.

– Ang Zhi Yuan

It was rewarding to be able to program something that is for a good cause—empowering Lions Befrienders to better care for old people!

– Ong Kuan Yang

In a nutshell, I appreciate the valuable opportunity that I has been given to join the CVWO team and work closely with my fellow friends in the past three months.

– Niu Yunpeng

I am really grateful for the opportunity to be in the CVWO team and contribute to Lions Befrienders’ meaningful work. This experience has prepared me well to work as a software engineer in the future.

– Ngoc Duc Do

It is immensely satisfying to see that our project is being successfully used by such a large organisation with thousands of volunteers and beneficiaries.

– Chu Qing Hao

I am grateful to be part of CVWO this year and to work on a meaningful project for the community. This summer has been a busy yet fruitful time for me and the lessons and experiences learnt are certainly invaluable.

– Liu Hang

It has been a rewarding experience to join CVWO despite all the challenges I faced because it allowed me to understand what real life projects are like and contribute to a real life organization such as LBSA.

– Zhang Yijing

While developing my web development skills, I also have an opportunity to do volunteer work for the society. I am grateful for CVWO to give me this chance to work with LBSA.

– Jia Zhixin

It is exciting and satisfying to know that my work can indirectly help others fulfill their job and serve the community better.

– Anh Huynh

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

  • Prof Ben Leong (NUS) for his patient guidance.
  • All the staff at LBSA for taking time off their busy schedules to work with us.