CU*Answers has been in the custom software services business for a long time and have completed a wide variety of client project requests. Developing custom software is not a commodity… instead, the overall success to any project is based upon the upfront planning processes and detail that go into developing a project.
As a reminder, the work we do for you is subject to the terms and conditions of the Master Services Agreement and/or the Master API Agreement between your organization and CU*Answers. CU*Answers may provide additional terms and conditions based on the services your need.
2. Your Special Project/ Authorization Request is presented to the Project Team:
The Custom Project Team initially reviews new custom project requests at its regular weekly meeting. This team consists of various representatives from Programming, Management Services, and other areas involved in our Design Studio factory. The purpose of this review is to help verify whether or not there are other existing solutions that would meet the credit union’s needs without requiring custom work. Per this initial CU*Answers overview, follow-up spec. session(s) to ask further questions and seek additional details is often required.
3. Project Research/ Design quote:
The Special Project Request/ Authorization form is passed along to the appropriate design team who will perform a cursory overview to estimate the effort required for an initial Research/ Design process. Factors at this stage include reviewing the overall project research effort, client business objectives, current vendor relationships, as well as whether or not the project is similar to another previously performed project. Some technical specifications may also be developed, to the extent necessary for us to complete our evaluation. After this cursory review, a Research and Design Fee quote will be developed for the client.
Research Fee Considerations:
This fee is intended to cover the cost of doing in-depth feasibility research and sketching out a design outline for how the project could proceed. We have provided some general pricing guidelines, however, the actual fee amount may vary as based upon project specifications and total Research/ Design time performed.
- Small research/ design effort (est. of 10 hours)
- Examples: Reading vendor doc. and creating specifications
- A fee of $1,000
- Medium research/ design effort (est. of 25 hours)
- Examples: Reading vendor doc., creating specifications, file mapping, etc.
- A fee of $2,500
- Larger research/ design effort (est. of 40 hours)
- Examples: Heavy scoping and design, new file specification, complex integrations and bidirectional data movement
- A fee of $4,000
- In addition to learning more about your project as pertaining to potential staff and membership benefits and efficiencies, another key item will be to gain an even greater perspective as per the business component your project is intended to address. This deeper level of collaboration is often very beneficial to our design and technical teams as we work closely together throughout the project research/ development process.
- A Research quote is normally delivered within 10-15 business days following a fully completed Special Project Request/ Authorization form being received, and assuming all additional details needed for developing the Research quote are received from the client and or 3rd party vendor.
- A Research quote is valid for 30 business days, and is non-refundable.
- The Research/ Design fee will be applied to the total project cost (assuming project is completed).
4. Client Approves Research/ Design Fee:
By signing and returning the Special Project Authorization/ Request form:
- Research projects are assigned/ performed on a first come, first serve basis as based upon receiving the signed Special Project Request/ Authorization form (Research quote).
- After being submitted, any modifications made to the Project request will require an updated Project Authorization/Request form to be submitted, which will re-start the process from Step 1.
- Approved Research/Design fees will be invoiced immediately for applicable payment. Vendor initiated R&D projects will require payment to be received by CU*Answers prior to any research work commencing.
5. Per CU*Answers Receiving the Authorized Research form:
Research/ design work begins, with the goal of producing:
Specifics on project scope, development techniques, end-user look and feel, and other details so that all parties understand the work being undertaken. If project involves working with a 3rd-party vendor, this will also involve research with the vendor into specifically whatdata will be exchanged as well as the mechanism/infrastructure for how data will be moved back and forth securely. During this stage, a key component is to ensure that and necessary interaction with the client and or 3rd party is able to occur. Any delay caused by CU*Answers not receiving requested information within a timely manner to consider may delay the timing for a DS quote to be presented. Depending on the project, the outcome of this step may be anything from simple correspondence outlining our plans, to a formal Project Requirements (“spec”) document, as appropriate.
Create/ Deliver a Design Studio (DS) Project Quote:
- Following Research work completion, CU*Answers will normally deliver a DS Project quote within 10-15 business days.
- Any special pricing considerations, project expedite requests/considerations, or other exceptions require CU*Answers Executive Level approval.
- Unless authorized by CU*Answers, a DS Project quote is valid for 30 business days.
- Any modifications made to the original Project request will require an updated Special Project Authorization/Request form to be submitted, which will re-start the process from Step 1.
- If no Research Quote is required, CU*Answers will normally provide a DS Project quote within 10 – 15 business days from receiving a completed Special Authorization Request form. This timing can vary depending upon certain factors, including client and or 3rd party vendor information/ design requests not being received in a timely manner.
6. Client Approves DS Quote:
- DS projects are scheduled by the Programming team. Considerations include receiving the signed Special Project Request/ Authorization form (Project Quote), and all other required 3rd party paperwork (e.g. NDA’s)
- Upon approving a Special Project Request, Client is responsible for payment of any work performed, whether the project is completed or canceled.
- For any Project Quotes over $25,000, we require no less than a 50% down payment at the time of signing, with the remainder invoiced once the Project is implemented. On certain Projects, depending on the circumstances of the client or the Project requirements, we may require a larger down payment or we may modify the Project payment terms.
7. Project Design/ Development (please see the SDLC for additional details…)
- Utilizing the CU*Answers Software Development Life Cycle as the policy document that governs our software development processes, project owners can visualize potential timelines as well as milestones and steps of their project ffrom conception through completion.
- Includes infrastructure (files and business logic) as well as end-user interface development.
- Depending upon DS project complexity, an initial Project timeline document may be provided following all required paperwork being received.
8. Working with a 3rd Party Vendor:
If your project involves interactions with a 3rd-party vendor, the timing for both the development as well as subsequent testing phases will largely be dependent on vendor timelines and resource availability. Some projects will also entail additional certification and miscellaneous fees from the vendor, independent of CU*Answers Project related fees.
9. Project Tracking/ Notifications:
CU*Answers provides multiple strategies for helping keep clients updated on a project status:
- Monitor an online client tracking tool for reviewing on-going Project status.
- Project Updates/ notifications via your Project Coordinator/ QC as based upon project status/ timing.
- Special Updates on an as needed basis for keeping clients informed accordingly.
10. Quality Control/ Testing:
Once a Project Development quote is signed, and a project completion date is determined, CU*Answers will determine the appropriate QC/validation process.
- For projects involving changes to our core CU*BASE system, including tools such as It’s Me 247 online/ mobile web banking, CU*Talk audio response, or related software products that interface with these, the CU*Answers Quality Control department assigns a QC Tester to test the changes against project specifications, in accordance with the CU*BASE Software Testing and Quality Control Procedures. Any defects found are returned to the assigned programmer for changes until the tester signs off with their testing report and submits the project to the VP of Quality Control. During this stage, additional Project Review sessions may also be scheduled, as needed.
- Any delay caused by a client/ vendor having outstanding tasks to complete will impact the project completion timeline.
For projects not requiring changes to our core CU*BASE system:
- Data/File Verification – In most cases, CU*Answers will assign a resource validate the file data/ format is correct, and then pass the data/file(s) off to the vendor or client for final verification and signoff.
- Expert Verification/Validation – In some cases, custom projects are best QCed by using subject level experts, and not the CU*A QC department. This would be the case in situations where the project is not part of CU*Answers core software tools, and specific knowledge of the process may exist within other departments at CU*Answers. In this case, the process used to QC projects will be monitored and verified by the VP of Quality Control at CU*Answers.
11. End-User documentation:
As a standard rule, documentation for custom project development is not provided. If documentation is required, please be sure to include this with your initial Special Project Authorization/ Request form request to be included with a developed Project Development quote.
This phase includes installing, configuring, and activating the new tools as well as other potential factors to be coordinated with your credit union, including time for CU staff training and/or notification of members if appropriate. Depending on the project, it may be coordinated as part of a normal CU*BASE release for all clients, or implementation will be coordinated with your teams specifically for use by your credit union.
- Once implemented to our Production system(s), you will receive a project implementation email, where any remaining development will need to be completed within 30 days of the implementation date.
- All final Project invoicing will be completed during this time.
- We will retain records of your project for historical tracking purposes.