80 Teamwork STAND-UP PEOPLE: COLLABORATING TO ENHANCE SOFTWARE In bright red and blue marker, diagrams of workflow and electric grids sprawl across third-floor windows that face the NISC headquarters front drive in Lake Saint Louis. The glass panes seem to be an appropriate place for notations of spontaneous brainstorming. NISC developers literally see the world through a constant process of innovation, collaboration and problem-solving. At 8:30 each morning, while workers in nearby office buildings are just pouring their morning coffee, the NISC team specializing in mapping systems gathers in a small conference room. “Stand-up” meetings like this one have the feel of a huddle — although no one actually stands. Held throughout the organization, they provide a valuable opportunity to discuss ideas and gain feedback from co-workers. On one Friday morning, the mapping systems team regroups after a visit to an electric cooperative in Illinois the previous day. They climbed into a lineman’s truck, saw the physical layout of the system that appears on NISC’s MapWise™ product and walked through a substation. The lineman explained how he uses MapWise to manage work orders and respond to problem spots. “If we understand what our users do on a daily basis, we can write better software,” says Programming Team Lead Doug Huttegger. Justin Burd, an NISC developer who works on an iOS product that runs on iPads and iPhones, and Andrew Schrader, another developer, who maintains the Android version, use their “stand-up” time to stay in sync so that updates flow to both formats. Erik Verduin, a recent recruit, looks for feedback on an error message triggered by his code. And the team tackles issues with third- party software products that impact their work. Regular releases of software, including monthly updates to the mobile product AppSuite, respond to Members’ needs. But code changes can cause unexpected issues, and today Huttegger raises an alert. “Did you see we had a series of crashes yesterday? We’re going to need to look at that pretty quickly,” he says. Occasionally, the developers send out a “hot fix” to keep the software running smoothly. As the meeting nears its close, the conversation turns to the future. An increasing number of Members provide both electric and telecom services. Some offer water, sewer, trash or gas. The mapping software now has separate SHARED VALUES Far left: NCDC’s Mike Hamkens displays a meter reading device first used in the late 1980s. The data was transferred to the Member’s files for processing. By 2017, iVUE AppSuite (adjacent photo) was in use at nearly 500 Member sites.