Permitting Software Implementation Success in Yolo County, California

May 4, 2023

After years of making do with a permitting system that was falling apart and having to use a combination of email and other manual tools to process permits, Chief Building Official Scott Doolittle and his team knew when the pandemic hit, it was finally time for a change. “Our old system was kind of obsolete before I started here five years ago,” explained Scott in a webinar about permitting software modernization. “It was unreliable and crashed frequently.”

Scott said the sudden shift to remote work was the final push to get the project off the ground. “When the pandemic hit, we immediately knew we needed online capabilities. Our customers were asking for it, and our board was wondering why we didn't have it years ago.”

That’s when the Department of Community Services started their search for new permit software that could serve as the single source of truth for the county’s building, planning, and public works departments

As Scott explained, the county had been down this road before and knew exactly what they were looking for this time around: an all-in-one permitting solution and a partner they could trust.

“The most important thing for us was trust. [We looked for] a pattern of honesty in our communications when we were going through the selection process. We looked at a handful of companies and spent a lot of time with each one of them going through requirements. And we gave extra points to the [Clariti] team because they [were upfront and honest].”

- Scott Doolittle

Ultimately, it was this trust, along with the system’s reliability and capabilities, that led Scott and his team to choose Clariti.

In his many meetings with the Clariti team leading up to the final purchasing decision, he said the company’s values of trust and integrity shone through in every interaction, which played a big role in solidifying his team's buying decision.

Fast-forward to the implementation and Scott said the Clariti team’s support was once again a differentiator and one of the biggest contributing factors to the project's success. That, along with breaking the project up into 2-week sprints, or as Scott called them, “baby steps.”

Rather than trying to build out everything all at once, Yolo’s implementation team followed the Agile methodology, which involved breaking up the project into several phases. Something Scott explained benefited his team’s morale and sense of accomplishment. It also helped the project move along really fast.

“It's a lot of work over those two weeks, [but the benefit is that] you're already kind of testing a little piece of the system within your first couple of weeks of starting the implementation. You’re also accomplishing something every two weeks, so you have clear victories [that can help] push you through the next sprint.” 

- Scott Doolittle

Scott added that each task usually took about 2 hours, which was fairly easy to fit into the day. Especially compared to the alternative of everything hitting his desk all at once, which would be overwhelming.

“We went through about 20 sprints where we set small, two-week objectives - bite-sized chunks - that we could manage and accomplish in about two weeks.”

- Scott Doolittle

Overall, Scott explained his team’s experience with Clariti was nothing but positive from the beginning. 

“Our biggest goal was to get a reliable system that we could count on. And building it with a partner like Clariti has been a wonderful experience.”

- Scott Doolittle

Looking for more? Check out this blog with expert tips about what can make or break a permitting software implementation, plus this on-demand webinar where Scott talks more about Yolo County’s successful implementation.

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