Cities often ask how much time staff is needed for a successful OpenCounter implementation. We understand that staff's time is limited and valuable, and we will work throughout the project to use that time wisely. Generally, the time commitment isn't overwhelming and we do almost all of the heavy lifting of creating the content and configuring the rules.
Each city usually provides a project owner (executive sponsor) and a project manager. The project manager will coordinate data requests, bi-weekly updates and 1:1 meetings with subject matter experts.
In greater detail, staff time will be needed for the following parts:
- Data requests. Our standard data request includes the following:
- Use Table: minimal. We usually pull this from the municipal code if an internal spreadsheet does not exist.
- Map files: varies. Staff time depends on the status of existing files. We require a clean zoning shapefile that includes any specific plans or planned developments. Most cities have this ready to go, but sometimes we'll need the file cleaned or additional metadata added.
- Permit Scoping: medium., Each department will need to provide a list of what permits should be configured. If a list already exists online or in another document, we're happy to use existing resources.
- Bi-weekly calls. We'll have one kick-off call (1-hr) with all stakeholders involved to introduce the project and to talk about project management and expectations. After this call, we set up bi-weekly calls (30 min-1hr) with each department to demo the current setup and discuss any questions.
- Testing. This is where the bulk of staff time is needed. Once we're done with the configuration, we'll ask staff to run tests through the system to make sure everything is running as expected. Testing usually occurs during a 2 week period. The more testing staff does up front, the fewer changes will be required after launch.
- IT. If cities choose to set up a CNAME (e.g. permits.city.gov), then we'll need to work with IT staff to set up an SSL certificate. This requires minimal work, and is done over the course of 3-4 emails.
As a general rule of thumb, we can usually configure 75–80% of the rules and regulations using existing materials (e.g. muni code, fee schedules, permit scoping document). Staff's help with the remaining 20–25% helps to refine and polish the tool: the more engagement, the more successful the implementation.