December 15 2015

Attendance Information


7AM PST - Seattle

10AM EST - New York, DC

5PM CEST - CEST, Geneva, Copenhagen, Joburg

6PM EAT - Dar


Meeting Number: 196 307 742

Host Key: 707674

Audio Connection: +1-415-655-0001



Malawi OpenLMIS Implementation -

  • Offline R&R
  • Malawi Reports
30Sarah Jackson (Deactivated)


Living Product Roadmap10Kevin

Additional tools needed?


  • Google group for communication
  • Skype / Webex for meetings
  • Wiki for documentation / communication
  • Cross-project coordination tools (i.e. JIRA for OpenLMIS, VIMS, CHAI/TW Moz)



In attendance: Kevin Cussen, Sarah Jackson, Renee Orser, Gaurav Bhattacharya, Lakshmi Balachandran, Rich Magnuson


Some background on Malawi: they have been interested in an LMIS for several years

The project stalled a few years back due to insufficient funding. VR followed up last year with an assessment to see if the cost of implementing OpenLMIS had gone down due to OpenLMIS's expanding feature set. The current system in country is SCM and they have significant pain points associated with the product. VR was able to put together a feasible budget for the project. We don't have a whole lot of bandwidth at present, so we're looking at a partnership with another developer and JSI as implementer.

OpenLMIS meets the needs of the country as is, with 2 pieces of functionality that will need to be built out:

  • Off-line requisitions (similar to current informed push functionality)
  • Reports 

OpenLMIS reports at present are tied pretty closely to the TZ country hierarchy. Eventually, we would like two things for OpenLMIS out of the box:

  • A few standard reports
  • An easier way to create new reports

Sarah and VR wants to discuss with the product committee whether these are features we see on the global roadmap (it is, but lower priority than other features).

Questions from the product committee:

GB: Could you expand upon what you mean by a high-level implementation?

SJ: Didn't mean to say high level. Initially at more facilities than SCM for the Malaria, HIV, Essential meds, family planning supporting the monthly requisitions. 

RO: Can you expand on the off-line requisitions piece

SJ: Detailed requirements still coming in. High level user story, "As a district pharmacist at a storeroom with intermittent mobile phone access, I want to be able to complete my requisition using the available internet access so that I can successfully submit my monthly requisition." We envision functionality similar to the off-line informed push module. The challenge in Malawi is that there are 200 - 300 commodities and due to mobile network, it is a challenge to be online for that whole process. We've heard from other countries that this is needed in other geographies as well.

RO: Thinks this makes sense as part of the core

GB: I agree

KC: Agreed

SJ: Once we have more detailed reqs, we'll come back to the committee - expected mid to late January

LB: Do we see any of the other functionality needing offline access?

SJ: In general, yes. It would be a good practice to go through the whole product and identify processes that need to happen off-line. In Malawi, this is the only off-line feature that needs to be added. For example, reports could happen online. Requisition is a long process, so there is a lot of potential for lost work if the connection drops. 

LB: Do we as the product committee want to assess what other functionality should be off-line?

SJ: When we were originally creating the system, we did exactly that - what should be offline? We found that you don't gain any efficiencies by doing a complete off-line investigation all at once. There were some design issues we surfaced - so we'll be vetting the technical design moreso this time around. Specifically, we found that if you don't clear your cache there is an issue during upgrades - which sounds easy but is difficult in practice in country. To TW, perhaps we could reach out since that team worked on the original OpenLMIS offline distribution. Thought is, Malawi would work on the "2.0" branch. Therefor, the off-line functionality would be on the 2.0 code line. Whether off-line requisitions would be functionality when 3.0 debuts is unknown at present. Transitioning to reporting - we know fixing reporting is on the roadmap, but the re-architecture is the primary task. So the way we were leaning was to tweak the TZ reports (JSI would do this work) and do the Q&D approach for this requirement for now. Thoughts?

RO: TW has taken on some of the reporting concepts and is trying out a simple cube. More simple than some of the work they have done in the past. New design opens up some doors. It's a separate tool that we are folding into OpenLMIS - should be extensible in the long term to other implementations (called "Cube"). Masking the UI under the OpenLMIS interface - about a week in and they have already created many reports via this approach. It's a different approach than a custom report. Perhaps our devs should talk.

SJ: Interested to hear - perhaps you could demo once you've got something running? It would be good to see how reports are operating in this environment. 

RO: Demo is running, we could set-up a call. Perhaps tomorrow's tech call? Functionality is demo-able, UI could use more polishing.

SJ: Is this being checked into the repo?

RO: Eventually, yes. Jeff is spending a lot of time on this despite not being on the project as a long term OpenLMIS contribution. 

SJ: It sounds like we should talk timelines then - see what Malawi needs and when and decide for the Q&D or the cube approach. 


All product committee members had been on the governance call and heard Sarah / Rich's explanation. No questions from committee. 

Living Product Roadmap

Explanation of structure and quarterly release schedule by Kevin. 

SJ: The way countries are going to most want to engage is through the product roadmap. So when we publish the quarterly roadmap, we'll need to translate it to other languages as well. Are there any changes we need to make to the roadmap to facilitate this exchange? No comments.


No update, some confusion about whether it is in or out of scope. Questions about whether the information is coming from the ministry correctly. 

Additional Tools

Outlined current tools being used for communication. No comments. JIRA is being used for all the VR Seattle teams projects.

General business

Agreement to meet again 1 month from today (bypass December 29th because of holiday vacations). 

Happy holidays everyone!



Living Product Roadmap

2016 Re-Architecture Plan

OpenLMIS: the global initiative for powerful LMIS software