Sunday, June 22, 2008

Revision to Previous Post - Write-Up

So Yishay made a great observation in the write-up that I previously posted. I responded to his comment, but it so apt that I think it warrants a posting unto itself.

Here is the comment and my response below:

Yishay -
all good, EXCEPT - I would start with f. First, get a system up and running with the minimal set of features you need to do a. Then add the features you need to do b, etc.

If you want to get people to buy into your plan, you need to show them something that moves. Then they'll tell you what's missing, and you can add it. People don't do well in abstract (unless they're mathematicians, computer scientists or theoretical physicists). They need an object to talk with.

Justin -
Thanks Yishay for this reminder as you are exactly correct in my opinion. Unfrotunately, I didn't articulate this point in the write up . But I did initiate the project in this manner.

After our discussion about ning as a platform for this project I went ahead and started site: MyCSA Network.

This served as the showcase piece that I sent to the decision maker on this project. After reviewing the site along with a few ideas driving the site, he told me to go ahead and produce a quick project proposal that addresses the rationale, the approach for building and maintaining the site.

So, going back to your comment, this just shows the need to be more methodical in recognizing the process of practice!

This is certainly important and underscores the need to effectively "enroll" potential users by showcasing something that can serve as a guide or reference for helping people conceptualize the types of things one hopes to accomplish. We all need to see or have something tangible to provide concrete evidence to our abstract ideas.

So here is the revision on Methodology Portion of the write-up to reflect this VERY important insight, informed by a pattern nonetheless!:

Methods for Design and Development:

  • After defining an initial problem (see: rationale), build a base site with general functionality as a showcase.

  • Extend Problem Definition (Interviews, Literature Review, Survey of Potential Stakeholders).

  • Identify Specific Patterns linked to the Problem Definition (use: Liberating Voices, Learning Patterns, Conservation Economy.

  • Adapt identified pattern to address specific program goals.

  • Merge with Web 2.0 principles to guide decisions on final platform choice and subsequent implementation.

  • Identify useful patterns for promoting and building user interactions on the final site, i.e viral marketing, mass mailers/e-mails, print media, word of mouth, blogging, etc...

  • Iterate based upon user feedback to address potential emergent issues.
I would like to annotate my comment regarding the need to provide objects to talk with. Yes, it is critical, but simultaneously, it is just as critical to first understand what problems you are attempting to solve. So in looking at my own process it was the identification of a specific issue that initiated the idea to create a CSA focused social network. However, in the context of building any sort of participatory program the use of the pattern cited by Yishay becomes central as it can be used as a talking point to frame the rationale, purpose and eventuate an enrollment of potential users.

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