From the Desk of Human Resources: The Biggest Truth

It was a year ago that I started working at CDP—a year already? It’s been an amazing year, though.

Every Human Resources professional will agree that the most common question we’re asked about our career choice is, “Why do you work in HR?” For me, I picked HR because it’s a business function that allows me to practice some of the same values that my family instilled in me. Unlike many career paths, I get to be courageous, build meaningful and lasting relationships, coach future leaders, create opportunities for others, and cultivate a positive and ethical work environment.

In December 2017 I packed up my unconventional HR antics and parked them at CDP. I immediately felt an overwhelming amount of support from a team that is scattered across the country as CDP has employees in 16 different states. Reactions to that vary—some think, “wow,” while fellow HR people cringe because having employees in so many states represents another layer of challenges and complications.

Not long into this journey, I noticed an endless amount of opportunity. Not only was I excited about the chance to practice my values and create opportunities for others, I also love being instrumental in finding the right opportunities for others. I enjoy learning about someone’s passion and motivation, using that information to find them the right opportunities to grow.

Beyond the basic logistics behind why I love being in HR, I found a special place at CDP. Here, a business opportunity is more than just another business venture, we also use it as a chance to provide employees growth to unlock their true potential. After all, finding an employee the perfect opportunity to flourish is what makes Human Resources so worthwhile. I believe in the employees I work with, and they believe in what they get to do. At the end of the day, that fosters a feeling of support unlike any I’ve experienced.

This feeling of inclusion stems from CDP being a family-owned business, but most importantly, it stems from the belief that employees are family. That’s why we have such a low turnover rate—our employees are here for the long haul.

The other question I get about my job is what have I learned from my year at CDP? That’s simple. I am not alone. I have a support system of more than 130 extended family members and managers who echo my ideas and attribute them back to me. Starting a new job doesn’t always have to be scary. It wasn’t for me because I found an organization that shared my values. Finding a workplace that does that was a high point in my career and I look forward to what the next year will hold.

About the Author

Bonnie Lozada

Human Resources

Never met a doughnut or a PTO request she didn’t like.

Quality Assurance Update: We Are So Much More Than Just Breaking Software

There’s a common misconception that the quality assurance (QA) team swoops in after software is developed, breaks it, and then poof, production software magically happens.

Software development is hardly magical. It takes a lot of man hours from a development team that includes so much more than just people who write code.

Equally as important as the people who create the code are the ones who ensure it works as it should—and that’s where quality assurance comes in. But if you’re picturing us going after a piece of software with a metaphorical hammer, that’s just not reality.

Just as every piece of software is different, every QA department is different. Here at CDP, we take a very team-oriented approach, and include QA at the beginning of the process, starting with requirements gathering. Believe it or not, we can often catch “bugs” before they have a chance to become bugs at this stage. If we catch them here, we can keep them from ever being injected into the code which saves time and money for all involved, including our customers.

Once the code exists, we’re back at it, this time with our hammer, known to us as test scripts. These are test cases that we strategically develop to adequately test a feature of the software from as many angles as possible. Is it functional? Could it be done in fewer clicks? Does it break something else? We look at everything from the customer experience (also known as usability) of the feature, testing to make sure nothing was broken by adding the feature (regression), and that the overall performance has not been impacted by recent changes or additions.

Once that’s completed, we’ve got bug free software! Ship it.

Wait, not so fast. Welcome to another QA misconception. We strive to find all the bugs, but any that make it into the final product will go through the proper protocol to determine severity and the most effective fix. That’s because we believe in continuous improvement, which is why one of our core values is: Always Get Better. People, products, methods—everything will evolve as we move forward.

Our department has 17 quality assurance engineers, several of which have been added in the past year. Many of our QA staff has cross-trained across all our products meaning we can switch QA engineers around the company quickly and without team upheaval or learning curves slowing us down. The software development life cycle (SDLC) thrives on swift actions executed in a proper sequence, as do our jobs. It should come as no surprise we are experts on our software, the SDLC, and testing procedures.

What does this mean to our customers? By having a quality assurance team comprised of knowledgeable and diversified staff who are involved in a project early, we work like a well-oiled machine.

The needs and goals of our customers are always at the forefront of our minds to ensure we are producing quality deliverables.

Of course, wielding a hammer helps too.​

About the Author

Karen Waluk, CTFL

Quality Assurance Manager/Director, Quality Assurance 

Enjoys growing a team who can ‘think outside the box’ as opposed to just ‘checking off the boxes.’ She still insists decaf coffee was born of a defect-turned-feature.

Customer Service Update: We put the Custom in Customer Support

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I’ll wait while you narrow down the list.

While you’re thinking, let me tell you mine. I cannot stand bad customer service. Waiting on hold forever, or even worse yet, running around in circles on an automated system. As someone who provides customer service for a living, that’s just unacceptable. Customer service is paramount. We’re proud of our products—and customer service is just one more product that we provide.

Being a family-owned business, we have a corporate culture of putting customers and employees first in all business decisions. This means that we care about you and our employees care about providing you services that go above and beyond expectations. It’s all about high-quality outcomes and fostering relationships over short-term profits. We are keenly aware of the fact we wouldn’t exist without our customers.

We offer phone-based customer service to every customer, including those who are 14 hours ahead of us! When you call customer support, the following things will be true of every call:

  1. You will always speak to a person. You may receive someone’s voicemail, but you will ultimately have a chance to be heard by a real person.
  2. Our customer support is 100 percent based in the United States. In fact, of our 18 full-time customer and network services employees, a large majority are housed in our Frankfort, Kentucky office.
  3. We are HIPAA-compliant. Dealing with public health departments, we are aware of the sensitive nature of the data we may encounter while troubleshooting for our clients. As such, we are compliant with every HIPAA rule and are audited regularly.
  4. We are efficient. CDP Customer support averages 1,500 calls or emails per month and of those 99 percent are closed within hours without any development changes necessary.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky is where our first WIC EBT solution started, and it still thrives there today. Our customer support personnel are on a first-name basis with many of the employees in local health departments across the state—and that could only be accomplished by developing a relationship fostered by mutual respect and a passion to provide the best service possible.

Although it all started in Kentucky, we’ve expanded into 41 states with our various public health offerings including WIC EBT, environmental health, home health, and electronic health records solutions. No other technology company comes close to matching our comprehensive public health capabilities. We are nationally known as the leader in WIC EBT, with our solution active in 28 different WIC state agencies across the country.

Despite all that growth, one fact still remains: We’ll be waiting for your call, and we’ll be happy to help.

About the Author

Michelle Robison

Director, Client Services

Lover of all the shiny things. Says tiaras are in and you may forget what someone says but you’ll never forget how they make you feel.

Recruiting Update: We’re Going to Be Hiring All Year Long

Over the past ten years, CDP has grown by leaps and bounds. Not only have we added new clients to our Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and Environmental Health product lines, we have moved into some new areas of public health. In addition, we introduced the world to Data Direct, our data warehouse solution built on industry-leading software platforms.

To support this product growth, we have relied on a long time employees, as well as new employees and contractors. As illustrated in the chart below, our staff has more than doubled in the past ten years, with 44 of those hires in the past five years.

Bubble chart of the length of employment for employees of CDP
Length of Employment at CDP

Almost a third of those new hires were made in the first half of 2018 alone. Current projections show that we will likely be adding an additional 25 to 30 employees or contractors by the end of the year. It will be a very busy, but exciting, second half to 2018.

Line graph depicting CDP's new hire trend
New Hire Trend

Most of the positions we will be filling this year are for contract .NET developers and quality assurance engineers. While we will be posting these positions as contract, some of the roles have the potential to be converted into full-time employment. Additional positions that will be available soon include account managers, project managers, trainers, business analysts, and technical writers.

Working at CDP

At CDP, we believe that technology makes a difference and that is why we have big plans for 2018. One of those plans includes  revamping several of our WIC offerings, upgrading them to more modern web technologies. By utilizing the most modern technology available, we will give our customers the best systems on the market, positioning them to spend less time on a computer and more time on the most important part of their job—caring for and educating their participants.

Now is a great time to be involved in the tech industry; the job market is hot and there are a lot of opportunities. Although we’ve seen growth in the past three to five years, we are still a small, family-owned corporation.

If you’d like to keep up with our latest news and job openings, you can follow this blog or CDP on social media.

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Linked In  |  Google+

About the Author

Wayne Smith

Director, Recruiting and Resource Management

Likes good music, cold beer, hot pizza, and finding people jobs at CDP.

Project Management Office update: CDP Project Managers are 100% PMP-Certified

Picture of a fully-dressed cheeseburger and fries
Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Picture this: it’s lunchtime and you’re starving, with a craving for a big, juicy burger. In the near vicinity there are three options—a fast food place, a grill that is known for great ribs (but serves burgers), and burger joint. You’re getting older (ahem) and want to limit your intake of greasy, yet delicious, food; however, if you’re going to splurge, you are going to do it right. All three of those places will serve you a burger, but the burger joint is your pick because they know burgers.

You shouldn’t settle for second best when it comes to your lunch, nor should you settle for anything less than the best when you pick the team to manage your public health solutions. Our project managers know the solutions and, most importantly, project management. All our project managers are required to have and retain a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. By requiring the PMP credential for project leaders, CDP makes a statement about our expectations for performance and service delivery.

Project management is not something just anyone can (or should) do. It is not something to do on the side or to balance with other tasks. It requires discipline and training. Project managers do more than report status, they are the people that juggle the moving parts of an implementation to be sure the pieces come together at the right time and in the right order. Our clients deserve the professionals who know project management. Just like you deserve someone who knows how to make burgers.

I was asked once what a project manager does and my response was, “yes.” Do we create and update work plans? Yes. Do we track tasks and make sure other stakeholders are getting things done? Yes. Do we get the best compliments and worst blame based on what is happening in a project? Yes. Do we have to jump in and help when needed? Yes.

But this is what we do. We focus on getting our solution implemented with minimal disruption. We have built an empire of tools, processes, techniques and standards that we know when and how to apply to situations. The most important thing about what we do, though, is adapt. We must be flexible because we know that what we do is adjustable based on the needs of our clients, the regulatory environment, the political climate, and even the weather (yes, the weather!).

There are many ways to reach a desired result, but having a specially trained partner will make the experience so much better. Just about anyone can make you a burger, but we know how to customize the best burger for you—whether it is beef, veggie patty, or turkey. And we make it delicious.

We sell more than services—we sell the trust that only an experienced, qualified team, led by the best in the business, can provide.

About the Author

Amy Duncan, MSW, PMP

Director, Project Management Office

Army wife, burger enthusiast, and project management guru.