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tto icon Practicing What We Preach: An Agile Approach to Improving Tech Transfer Accounts


You may remember from our last newsletter that Addgene is now Agile. This means we’re applying “agile” project management techniques in order to maximize the value our projects add to the repository, especially given our limited resources as a nonprofit organization. While we have found success with this experiment across Addgene as a whole, the Tech Transfer Team, specifically, is applying the agile framework toward improving the Tech Transfer Accounts we offer our collaborating institutions.

One caveat from the outset is that these updates need to be very limited in technical scope to avoid taking away software development capacity from larger initiatives within the company. With this in mind, the main objective from an agile perspective is to focus on the highest priority updates first. This reduces the risk of unanticipated errors (and changing of minds) and the overexertion of resources inherent in making many changes all at once. Moreover, the agile approach allows for feedback to influence how the accounts’ develop over time.

Based on our own intuition and combined with the input we’ve received from you in the past, it’s clear that the first issue we need to tackle is the homepage. What a mess! All the other pages are accessible only from a panel of links on the right side of the homepage, with paragraphs of text explaining what each page offers placed to the left. Check it out:

old TTO account homepage.png

Not only does this invite confusion, but it also just doesn’t look nice. Addgene is a modern forward-thinking company, and you deserve an interface to match. Now when you log into your Tech Transfer Account, you’ll be presented with something like the following:

new TTO account homepage - no header.png

As you can see, you now have a much cleaner interface for learning about the functionality of your account and navigating to its various pages. Instead of moving back and forth between links and the explanational text, everything you need to understanding your account, from approving new deposits to updating your institutional request settings, can be found in the center of your screen.

We’ve also removed some extraneous information that was cluttering up the page. you’ll now see details about Master Agreements that are based on whether or not your institution has executed one with us. For example, if we’ve already set up a Master Deposit Agreement with you, we won’t suggest from the homepage that you learn more about them; but if you haven’t done the same for materials incoming to your institution, we’ll suggest you look into a Master Reception Agreement for an even more streamlined request process. Providing only relevant information to you in a more user-friendly display was our goal, and we hope you find that our first crack at this was a success.

Stay tuned for further changes to your account pages. Our continued aim is to provide you with a clear and concise understanding of each page’s purpose and functionality. This way there’s less looking around or wading through unnecessary text to find what you need.

That it’s for now, but if you have any feedback about the updates we’ve made thus far or general suggestions for further improvements, let us know by emailing [email protected]. Thanks for collaborating with us!