Amnesty rolls out Agile database

Amnesty International gets project management system to support human rights change.


Amnesty International gets project management system to support human rights change.

The charity group can more effectively measure effort spent on humanitarian missions against the impact achieved thanks to a project management system called the Projects Database.

The database, based on Ruby on Rail, was built by development firm New Bamboo in six weeks using the Agile software development methodology. The system contains information on proposed and planned project effort across Amnesty's portfolio of internal and global projects. It provides the human rights group with a high level, strategic overview of activities, including resources and budgets.

Data from the new system is currently being used to help set strategic priorities for Amnesty International over the next two years.

Daryl Manning, IT director at Amnesty International said: "Our main issue when looking for a developer partner for the Projects Database was that we knew what we wanted - to understand the relationship between effort expended and impact achieved - but couldn't scope out exact technical requirements up front."

"That was the beauty of the Agile process used by New Bamboo," he added. "Through this methodology we could build requirements throughout the project and understand the business value every step of the way, without impacting on costs or delivery deadlines."

By centralising data, the Projects Database has streamlined Amnesty's processes for deciding which projects to undertake to save the organisation both time and money, Manning explained. The database enables Amnesty to report on, benchmark, forecast and analyse longer term strategic trends, which has the potential to make the organisation even more effective at improving human rights projects.

"Where Agile processes made the development very flexible, New Bamboo's use of Ruby on Rails made it very fast. This was a winning combination for us as we could start realising the value of The Projects Database very quickly, and also meant that the development was extremely cost effective," said Manning.

Max Williams, co-founder of New Bamboo explained that the requirements for building new systems are often "complex, involving many stakeholders and in many cases need to be delivered in a short timeframe". For this reason, New Bamboo relies on Ruby on Rails with the Agile methodology to remove "unwanted layers of inefficiency and potential pitfalls," he added.

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