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Starfish by Hobsons Implementation Process

Overview of Process

Implementing new software can seem like a daunting task. This can be compounded when the steps and/or the timelines involved are unknown. This brief post will provide information on the activities which are required to implement the Starfish by Hobsons Education Planning products. Each phase will be described with an estimated timeframe[1] for implementation. For a complete breakdown, please see here.

Phase 1 – Assessment and Planning

Once a district has decided to use Starfish by Hobsons Education Planning products as its solution, the Assessment and Planning process begins. After the district has been selected for the next round of implementations, the first step in this process is to have a planning meeting and demonstration. Once the meeting has taken place a Discovery Document, provided by Hobsons will be given to the district to further gather information about the district. Once Hobsons has all relevant information an internal and technical kick-off will follow. Once the technical kickoff has been completed, Implementation Meetings, combined with discussions on which files will be necessary to be transferred to Hobsons will begin with the district. These meetings conclude with the College implementation team signing off on the program sheets and transferring the necessary files. Finally, the first phase is completed when the priorities and goals are established and a timeline is set. A Hobson Implementation Specialist will be responsible for building the project plan.

  • Approximate Time to Complete Phase: 4 weeks

Phase 2 – Implementation

The second phase of the process consists of three concurrent sub-stages. The second and third sub-stages are dependent on which products the district has chosen to implement. If the district has chosen to only use Starfish Education Planning, then “Program Configuration” would not be necessary. However, if the college has chosen to only utilize the Degree Planner, then the second sub-stage would not be necessary. For ease of reference, completion times are listed by sub-stage.

First Sub-Stage – Data Integration

The first of these sub-stages is the Data Integration stage. This stage involves Hobsons gaining access to the district SIS system in order to begin building and testing the information flow. Once this is complete, the integrations would be evaluated in the test environment, Test Tenant, and in the production environment.

  • Approximate Time to Complete: 7 weeks

Second Sub-Stage – System Configuration

The second sub-stage, System Configuration, is only necessary if the college has chosen to use Starfish Education Planning. System Configuration involves tasks needed to get the college prepared for operation. This begins with a one-day training, provided by a Hobson's’ implementation consultant and includes the college’s functional project team, technical project team, and counselors. Following this, the configurations for Basic, Early Alert, and Connect tools are completed and signed off by the college. These configurations are verified within Test Tenant and within the production environment. Concurrently, training materials are being developed for use by the district.

  • Approximate Time to Complete: 7 weeks

Third Sub-Stage – Program Configuration

The third sub-stage, Program Configuration, is only necessary if the college has chosen to use the Degree Planner. Program Configuration begins with Hobsons building the Degree Planner program, followed by the college building its needs into the program. Once the programs have been built, Hobsons and the college establish a testing plan of the programs to verify the integrity of the data. A round of edits follows the tests, which completes this configuration.

  • Approximate Time to Complete: 13 weeks

Phase 3 – Deployment and Testing

The final phase consists of deployment and testing of the Starfish by Hobsons products. If the district is utilizing the Degree Planner, there are two additional steps that need to be completed. First, the program configuration is tested and verified in the production environment. Once that has been completed, the college will need to provide approval of the program configuration.

All colleges, regardless of the products being utilized, will continue to train faculty and administrative staff in the production environment. In addition, final production-environment testing will determine if an audit is needed. Once this has been completed, the training format and materials will be finalized for the district to use. This will be followed by end-user training and product promotion with district faculty and administrators. At this point, the product will be ready for launch.

  • Approximate Time to Complete Phase: 7 weeks (if using Degree Planner); 4 weeks (without Degree Planner)

Total Approximate Implementation Time[2]: 28 weeks

Post-Implementation Activities:

Once the Starfish by Hobsons Education Planning products have been implemented, there are two Post-Implementation Activities that will need to occur. The first is an Outcomes and Adoption Analysis. This will be completed 90 days from the “Go-Live” Milestone Meeting. In addition, 180 days from the “Go-Live” Milestone Meeting, it will be necessary to identify new audiences.



[1] Please note that the completion timeframes listed are estimations. Actual completion times may vary.

[2] Utilizing all products