As a provider of software solutions to the insurance industry, illustrate inc maintains an interactive relationship and open dialogue with its clients and encourages collaboration with the client at all stages of a project. This approach extends beyond the delivery of the final product. illustrate inc remains actively involved in the process as the client tests and uses the product, and reports back on bugs or change requests

illustrate inc initially used the ubiquitous Excel spreadsheet to document defect and change request tracking. With multiple users and testers on either side of the development fence, the challenge was in maintaining a single, cohesive database of issues to be logged, addressed and closed. The staff actively began looking for a cleaner, more user-friendly alternative to spreadsheets.

To address this issue, illustrate inc has chosen Countersoft’s Gemini web-based software to manage the challenges of issue tracking and defect management. Gemini is an intuitive and interactive tool that allows illustrate inc to design a structure for defect tracking and invites participation from all project team members, including the client. Both the client and illustrate inc can log defects, assign those defects to team members, attach comments to and track the defects, allowing the user to choose to whom to make each comment (and the issue itself) visible. Gemini can handle multiple groups and sub-groups, enabling illustrate inc administrators to assign various permissions to both individuals and groups per the client’s requirements. This has helped to maintain team project security and prevents confusion among team members.

Gemini also supports API-based integration options including Microsoft’s Visual Studio, Microsoft Outlook, desktop and iPhone modules and SQL plug-ins. This has enabled more proactive follow-up and activity on both sides of development.

illustrate inc is currently using Gemini to manage projects with a client who is a leading insurance provider in Canada. This software solution has brought tremendous benefits to the development and maintenance processes by using a single platform to manage defects and change requests. Issues can now be closely followed and the appropriate information exchanged to close or to escalate these issues as appropriate. This has led to a significant reduction in the time spent coordinating resources and addressing defects, and hence has resulted in faster delivery times and turnaround.

illustrate inc takes its place alongside Dell, Motorola, Disney and Intel as a client of Countersoft, a Microsoft Gold Partner and the developer of the Gemini system.

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