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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The RSA Networks site is rubbish!

There. That's the elephant in the room dealt with.

But you wouldn't know how flaky this first version of the site is from reading the brilliant discussions and project ideas that over 150 patient, benevolent fellows have been posting to the site, and then discussing with passion. Warts and all, the site does seem to be buzzing!

After the event on the 22nd, Andy and I were amazed by the levels of participation and activity that exploded on the site - so at least the prototype we built didn't obstruct that! To be honest, we didn't expect that kind of success immediately, and so it's taken us a bit of time to collate that feedback and respond.

So I am very pleased to echo Anshuman's announcement, and let you know that we are going to be starting the next few rounds of development tomorrow - fixing some of the niggly problems and usability issues that have frustrated many users. There are also a few obvious bugs that we hope to squash, and some basic gardening work like creating an FAQ and some help files - all of which we hope to do before Christmas.

I have written a few posts on the RSA Networks site laying out the three stages of this plan:
  1. A pre-christmas bug-squashing fest, where we aim to get the most obvious design and usability issues fixed.
  2. An early January development cycle, during which we aim to implement some feature requests and try out some experimental collaboration processes.
  3. A hand-over to a production team, who will take the prototype into production.
We are also going to be organising an event in late January, where we are hoping to reconvene some of the groups who met on the 22nd to take stock of the development so far, to look at which features should go into production, and to make decisions on other key issues that have been flagged up during the consultation process. As soon as we have a date for that, we'll send out an announcement with more details.

Of course, as with the first development cycle - which was great fun, we are again asking for your help in shaping the process itself as well as the technology.

We are still looking for the magic combination of factors, and the right way to ask the questions that will start to really activate projects, to move from 'discussion' to 'action', and to 'mesh the cogs' of the RSA - as Don calls for in his post.

Your ideas on those fronts, and comments on the three development phases, as well as your continued use and feedback on the site are much appreciated!


davidwilcox said...

Saul - on the move from discussion to action: how about identifying those Fellows like Don here, Mark on the original RSA Networks blog, Graham at RSA Networks, who have some overall process ideas and inviting them into a space to develop in more detail? What's lacking is some notion of the "business model" for projects. There will be many variations, but the specific RSA context will give some fixes or staging.
Graham suggested:

Community Scoping for Solutions

I would like to propose the RSA creates and supports a common language and practice for initiation, development & delivery, from concept to implementation, of innovative ideas.
We could start with a what is it, why should it be, where did it come from, why do you like it? Or maybe some other place?

If we got something like that in place, would help define this system?

Anshuman Rane said...

Hi David,

That's a great idea to help not only define the system but to work out the policy issues around openness.

Perhaps we should begin a 'project' on the networks platform that will form the basis for working through some of the issues that arise, the participants forming a developer group that will help evolve the platform.

What do you think?

davidwilcox said...

Anshuman - excellent idea to make next steps a project. How about something that looks both inwards and outwards, e.g.
"This is an open exploration of how we can use new media and creative events to support civic innovation. Helping plan development of RSA Networks, with staff and consultants, will be one challenge. We'll also look for other external collaborations in this field".
We could promote that through OpenRSA where there's a fair mix of new media/creative events people. If we get a good bunch of people they should help test and evolve the platform, and engage others.

Tessy Britton said...

Saul, the site is still in evolution . . . not rubbish! BTW How is that 'groups' function going :)