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Development status of OUR. NEW. WEBSITE!


Communication Update as of 4/25/22:

Throughout April we have worked hard to bring in more volunteers and show key stakeholders the functionality of the website as well as test for any major bugs and provide feedback if any requirements have not been met. There have been no major bugs or missed requirements identified and there is a general feeling of excitement and appreciation for what the new website can do in relation to the outdated one we currently have.

Claire and Graham (with Ben’s guidance) have trained over 20 key volunteers and asked them to build out courses and trips, sign up for each other’s courses, and complete a variety of testing tasks to be completed by the end of April. As expected with any plan, we hit some hiccups regarding the process to provide access, volunteers being unable to attend training, and expectations not being entirely clear to those involved. However, even given the various challenges, we are confident that testing will be completed on track by this Friday and the hiccups we worked through will better prepare us for the next major step.

Once testing is complete, we continue further on the sharp end of the rope to the next major obstacle and one many of our most valuable resource (our volunteers) have been waiting for. Beginning in early May and running through June, we will be rolling out training to all of our trip leaders and instructors on how to use the website and all it’s features. During this period we will be asking folks to put any trips or courses they want to operate after early August on the website or they will not be able to run those trips an courses. Graham and Claire are getting ready for this push and will be communicating this ask/moment with school directors, trip leaders, and all of their networks to get the word out and hopefully leverage that stoke that has been building for years if not a decade or more.

As part of our launch in early August, we will need to shut down the current website for a period of time as we bring the new website online. We are working out exactly what this means to you, our other volunteers, and to our membership at large. We are also finalizing the dates but will not have those until we get closer to the launch date. This is something that we know is of extreme importance to everyone and is on our radar to get the word out about it as soon as we have it dialed in.

History of the project:

Why do we need a new website?

To be frank, our current website isn't up to snuff. It was developed without the input of our beloved members and volunteers. It's also not the most new-user friendly (or old-user friendly for that matter). So, accross the board we're going to make this a better experience for the organization and all those involved. 

How are we going to do this?

By partnering with The Mountaineers organization, we're adapting their website to fit our services and membership structure. We chose The Mountaineers' site because their organization provides the same types of services that we do, except for the Pacific Northwest. We'll be partnering with two contractors (Jazkarta and Percolator) to adapt this website to our needs. These contractors are actually the same people who built the website originally and with Jeff Bowman's help (the original project manager of The Mountaineers then new website), we'll create an experience worthy of the time and passion that our members and volunteers have given this organization.

Structure of the project and what is an Iteration?:

Starting May 10th, we partnered with the development contractors Jazkarta and Percolator to create a new website! The project will be conducted in 2 week blocks called "Iterations." The first week of an iteration is for the development contractors to create a part of the website according to an earlier agreed upon topic. The second week is for us to test what was made to make sure it meets our needs. Testers include but are not limited to our staff, member-volunteers, and domain experts. Below will be a record of what we're currently working on and what we have worked on at a high level.

Iteration 15 (4/7):

We have worked with a number of stakeholders including the volunteers, developers, and staff to determine a launch date that gives us sufficient time to complete all the remaining tasks, testing, and training so we are set-up to rock and roll as smooth as possible at launch.

We are excited to announce that we will be launching Project Olympus (aka the new website) in early August 2022!

Our theming and graphic design work has been completed and is in the process of being deployed in to our test/staging environments. We expect the full theming to be transferred to the website closer to the end of April. This just means that the website will have the look and feel of the CMC and will look like what our community at large will see upon launch.

Ben, Graham (Instructor and Technical School Support Manager), and Claire (Trip Leader Support Manager) have been working hard to identify a core group of trip leaders and instructors/school directors to get them trained and testing the functionality of the new website. This includes setting up their membership, building courses, building trips, signing up for courses and trips that are created, and much more. We are hopeful that by the end of April this core group of volunteers and staff are prepared to support the larger population of trip leaders and instructors as they work from May through mid-July building courses and trips and getting familiar with the website as a whole. 

We have been combing through the automatic e-mails that the new website will send out and they are such an upgrade from what we currently have. When a spot in a class or trip opens up the next person on standby will automatically receive an e-mail notifying them of the opening. That e-mail will include a link to sign up or register, and it will provide a timeframe within which registration will be open to them before moving to the next member on the standby list. There are post course and trip feedback surveys, notifications for trip leaders to close trips, easy communication with folks on the trip roster, etc. 

Iteration 14 (11/8-11/19):

What we're working on:

It's time for a Double Iteration! For those who aren't keeping score at home, a double iteration is when we have 2 teams of contract developers working on seperate functions but concurrently. In the beginning of the project, Percolator and Jazkarta (the dev teams) each worked to sync up and configure our new website and our new Customer Management Program (Salesforce).

This iteration however, they were working on two seperate things. Jazkarta continued to refine our new Events functionality. Something new that ya'll will be excited about is the ability to easily create clones of existing events! 

Percolator helped set up email automation logic. Basically, whenever you change something about your profile, buy a book, join a section, ect. you'll receive an email with a record of what occured! Not in a spammy way. More like, we want you to know that the changes you made did, in fact, occur.

Lastly, in Data Migration land, we finally have all member data formatted to go into the new system! Unfortunately, things like activity history and some other things aren't going to be able to be migrated because of how messy our existing server is. We're still going to be massaging it to make sure it works but things look good!

Also I want to give a shoutout to all of our School Directors for helping us create a comprehensive list of all the courses out there. Because of you, we'll be able to take our next steps in the data migration process!

Iteration 13 (10/25-11/5):

What we're working on:

It's finally time for the MAIN EVENT... By which I mean it's time for the Events iteration of course! We sat down with volunteers and staff from the CMC and the Mountaineers to refine the specs for what we want CMC events to look like in the future! Through some intense discussions, we have our initial specifications for the list of features we want to see. This is the second shared iteration between CMC and TM and going forward, volunteers will have the chance to give their input like in this one. If you want to be part of future discussions, you can contact me at! 

Iteration 12 (10/11-10/22):

What we're working on:

Still working on Data Migration. This time around we're working on importing contacts from the old website. When you sign up with us at the cmc, we track things like your membership type, the day you joined, which sections you're a part of ect. Now, we're importing every single person who's ever signed up with us since we set up the database. That number is around 80,000!! So, I've been sifting through the data to make sure everything is formatted correctly and won't crash our new website when we import it. Other things we're tackling is making sure the real data we're creating like for the Routes and places project from iteration 10 and the Land Managers Database from Iteration 11 are formatted correctly before importing it to our.... NEW PRODUCTION INSTANCE!

What's a production instance? Well, with bigger tech projects like these you actually work with two websites. One called staging and another called production. On the staging website, you make all of your changes and updates first to make sure it doesn't crash the website. This saves you a lot of headache because you don't then have to experiment with new features while people use your actual website. Once everything is cleared, it goes on our production website which is our actual factual website. And why that's cool is because we finally have a production instance to push new changes to! 

Iteration 11 (9/27-10/8):

What we're working on:

More Data Migration! We spent this time testing how the data will fit into the new website by importing test data in small chunks called templates. The idea is that if a template imports into the new website without any errors, then the real data from our old data base won't have any errors either! The types of templates we're testing are Groups & Sections, Routes & Places, and Courses. Why this is really cool is because it will help staff and volunteer leadership create really powerful reports easily. So, if you've ever wondered whether someone has taken a course before and when, now you'll know. Likewise, if you want to know how many people from, say, the Denver Group took a course at a certain place, it'll be easy as pie to find out.

On the voluneer data creation front, a team of dedicated volunteers has helped conservation staff create a list of Land managers. This is important because it will allow us to better monitor our foot traffic at various locales across Colorado. Which in turn will enable us to be even better stewards of the outdoor spaces we love.

Iteration 10 (9/13-9/24):

What we're working on:

This iteration was spent translating our data from how it was recorded in our database to how it's read in the new website. This can be as simple as copying and pasting and as difficult as going line by line to makes sure there isn't an errant comma. We're also getting a number of volunteer data creation efforts underway. Already, we've begun massaging the data for the Routes and Places of Denver's Day Hikes. If you want to get started on creating the data spreadsheet for your Group's Routes and Places let me know  at: Together, we're creating a more accessible and user friendly source of outdoor adventuring!

Iteration 9 (8/30 - 9/10):

What we're working on:

It's time for Data Migration! This iteration we're prepping to begin migrating all of the data on our old servers to our new website! We're aiming to bring over things like membership status, contact info, school course records, ect. Our hope is that you as the member will have a seamless transition to using the new site and be able to pick up where you left off in your outdoor education. This kind of work can be tricky though because computers can be incredibly particular when reading data. Any spaces, letters, or decimal points that are outside the range of what a computer is expecting can cause data to be totally unreadable to a computer. So, we're working hard to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Iteration 8 (8/16 - 8/28):

What we're working on:

Hello everyone! This iteration, we focused on refining the pre-order and back-order functionality. This covers things like, making sure that you always get the lowest price possible on books if you become a member in the time between preorder and shipping. Some other quirky things we worked out is how shipping is handled with pre-order and back-order books, when a customer is charged, and what kind of emails are sent to customers as purchase confirmations. With this many edgecases, we actually ran into quite a few bugs! But fear not we've squashed all of them. See you next iteration!

Iteration 7 (8/2 - 8/13):

What we're working on:

This iteration, we focused on making the language of the website translatable. To understand what that means, remember that the website's code is actually being adapted from the website. Using that code gives us the tools to provide you with a better experience, however things like functionality, fonts, colors, page layouts ect. all need to be changed. In this case, we're working on making the text on the site itself translateable. Think of when you take an appliance to another country and you need to also buy a power adapter to fit that countries plug design. In this metaphor, we're building the power adapter. We also worked on solidifying default newsletter preferences when people engage with the website (i.e. when people sign up as a member, guest, donations, ect.).

Iteration 6 (7/19 - 7/30):

What we're working on:

This iteration we built upon last week's work, we can now link to avalanche forecasts! We also worked on making book messaging, error messaging, and discounts customizable for our members. Similar to what we do now, just a little easier for our staff to manage. Finally, we built out the features necessary to give members position titles within the Board of Directors, Groups, and Sections within our system.

Iteration 5 (7/5 - 7/16):

What we're working on:

This iteration, we worked on tackling some huge bugs in our development. Now, members that make trips/routes/places can link to weather reports without any glitches. This is useful for things like trail closures, floodings, ect. We also worked on making the membership experience more streamlined and user friendly with some feedback from members. Lastly, we fine tuned our tax calculator to ensure that we pay our taxes correctly. 

Iteration 4 (6/21 - 7/2):

What we're working on:

This iteration, we're working on quite a bit of back end features. Currently, we're integrating a couple different 3rd party financial tech applications to make sure that all of our programs play nice with each other. We're also making sure that all of the language within our staging website (the website where we test all of our features) works with the code that we've developed. 

Iteration 3 (6/7 - 6/18):

What we're working on:

From here on out, the two dev teams will be working on the same features. So, I'll just be referring to what we're working on as a whole. During this iteration we made the processes of becoming a member and joining sections much easier! Now while you're signing up as a new member, you may also check off what sections you're interested in. Some of you may have already seen what these new features look like if you've tested with us! If you're interested in helping test the website as a volunteer, email me at! I just set up a system for testers to send and receive testing instructions and feedback respectively. Thank you to all those who have already put time and energy into making sure it works!

Iteration 2 (5/24 - 6/4):

What Jazkarta is working on: 

This week Jazkarta focused on making sure membership data and product sales are configured correctly on the new site. They built out the code that allows Salesforce (described in Percolator's Iteration 1 status update) to synchronize with the new website.


What Percolator is working on: 

This week Percolator focused on ensuring that our e-commerce processes were configured correctly on Salesforce. They are also using Salesforce to make book fulfillment, book orders, and donation tracking easier on our staff so we can handle more volume. 

Iteration 1 (5/10-5/21):

What Jazkarta is working on: 

This week Jazkarta focused on a lot of infrastructure development. Things like making sure servers can communicate with each other and that they have access to all of the accounts and programs that they need to. On our end, we had to start breaking down exactly where our program and the Mountaineers program differ.

What Percolator is working on:

This week Percolator focused on building up infrastructure in Salesforce (our new CRM or Customer Relationship Manager). Salesforce will allow us to automate a lot of manual tasks that we currently perform at the CMC that relate to our members, donors, and customers. A lot of this week was configuring all the settings on Salesforce to match how we categorize all the different financial transactions and people involved with the CMC.
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