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Christopher Johnson   The Story Of Get Paid And A Social Source Process To Create New Opportunities With Plone
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Christopher Johnson The Story Of Get Paid And A Social Source Process To Create New Opportunities With Plone


We are already accustomed to how the community contributes code, documentation, and tests to a Free Software project like Plone and in the process builds a sum greater than the parts. The direction is …

We are already accustomed to how the community contributes code, documentation, and tests to a Free Software project like Plone and in the process builds a sum greater than the parts. The direction is largely driven by the developers who are creating the code, but as the community matures, finding the path forward becomes more complex as the expectations of users and the community evolve. How do we as a community develop participative processes that are more inclusive and help us better meet the needs of our users? This talk presents the experience of "social sourcing" the development of GetPaid, and in the process, creating new opporuntities for working with Plone. GetPaid, which is a flexible commerce framework built with Zope3 technologies, has been built with a participative model that we call "social source". The social source process includes: - Jointly funding and shaping the development of the product with a group end users and beneficiaries - Emphasizing the participation of non-developers in the process (end users, UI people, documentation, testing, marketing, fundraising, etc) - Guiding development through a focus on user stories - Balancing leadership of the project with a team that includes a Plone core developer, business person, and NGO liason This approach has allowed us to: - Be very responsive to user needs for shaping current and future releases - Fund intense periods of development to advance the framework quickly - Keep a diverse group of people informed and interested in the project - Leverage support from Google, end users, and others... and in the process, create a framework for commerce that mirrors the strengths of Plone itself: useful out of the box, yet extremely customizable through built-in flexibility. This talk reveals what the process has been like - from the recongnition of the initial need to an organized, serious project. How did it get done? Why was the project a good fit for a participative model? I will also reflect on how this model of "social source" development can be useful for shaping the future of the Plone core product.

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  • 1. Social Sourcing Free Software: The story of GetPaid and creating new opportunities for Plone Christopher Johnson ifPeople | Plone Conference 2007 Napoli, Italy October 9, 2007
  • 2. Outline What is Social Sourcing? ● Why is it important for Free Software? ● The Story of GetPaid & Social Sourcing ● Lessons for Plone ●
  • 3. What is Social Sourcing? Def 1: Open Source Software for Civil Society Organizations (ie NGO/non- profit)
  • 4. What is Social Sourcing? Def. 2: An organizing approach that gets diverse stakeholders to participate to the software making process.
  • 5. Similar Process: Charrette Charrettes bring together people from ● multiple perspectives at the design stage for an intense collaboration. Root: French for “cart” – More than just “crunch time”, it is also core to an – Integrated Design Process
  • 6. Charrette Frequently used for: innovative building ● design, community planning, product design. Key: collaborative decision making in design –
  • 7. Data Center Charrette People from hardware, software, security, ● energy, real estate and more Resulting design: – 89% energy use reduction ● Equivalent computing power ● Increased reliability ● See –
  • 8. Why is this relevant? Open Source Software projects are ● driven by developers ==> Developers, like architects, often reticent to get “human” input ==> Difficult for non-developers to participate in shaping outcome
  • 9. Why is this relevant? Diverse perspectives enrich the product ● ==> Expectations from client clarified upfront ==> Opportunities and constraints explored fully
  • 10. Why is this relevant? The quality of the process determines ● the quality of the outcome ==> How you get it done determines what you get done ==> Position product to have a strong community
  • 11. Plone: ● Flexible + very useful out of the box – Internationally... ● Wide use in NGOs, though still dependent on – third-party systems for donations 2006 PloneConf BOF ● Conclusion: Need state of the art payment – processing framework
  • 12. To action! But... ● /me was new to community, not a developer, and – with no ecommerce software experience. “Social sourcing” helped to be transparent, – inclusive, and improve the product. <DOCTYPE FREESOFTWARE PUBLIC...> ● <div id=”entrepreneur”> ...don't be afraid!
  • 13. Step 1: Get oriented ● What is already out there? – What do we know about those things? – Why do we need something else? – Result: ● Reference on Plone Commerce: – Need for the product: –
  • 14. Step 2: Make a plan ● What should we do? – How can we do it? – Who does it benefit and how? – Make it pretty to look at... – Results: ● Goal for GetPaid M1: Donation handling – Sponsorship plan: –
  • 15. Step 3: Recruit leaders and participants ● The project needs a qualified “sheperd” – Variety of expertise are needed – Result: ● Lead architect: Kapil Thangavelu – Organizer: Christopher Johnson – NGO Liason: Jon Stahl – Developers and UI: various (see Credits) –
  • 16. Step 4: Refine the requirements ● (participative) Get input of users, developers, user interface – experts, consultants/supporters Results: ● Architecture outline – User stories –
  • 17. Step 5: Ask for money! ● If you don't ask, you won't get it... – Tips for asking: – Connect needs with value ● Be transparent ● Be patient and persistent ● Result: ● Raised over US$12,000 to date – Contributions page –
  • 18. Step 5: Don't forget... ● Be accountable and transparent –
  • 19. Step 6: Celebrate successes! ● Reward and recognize people and their – contributions Communication is important! – Results: ● Blog, mailing list – Celebrations... –
  • 20. Ongoing: ● Make it fun! – Keep it organized! – Keep people motivated! – Results: ● 3 Sprints (UNC, Google, Argentina) – Google Code (wiki, issues) – Blog, mailing lists, channel (#getpaid) –
  • 21. Social Source v1.0 Alpha ● Study the market (benchmark) – Put together a compelling plan – Recruit the right people – Engage a wide base in refining requirements – Ask for money – Celebrate successes – Sustain it: fun, organization, motivation – Regroup, review, and restart... –
  • 22. What does this mean for Plone? Plone is great! ● Lots of work heading into the future...but ● towards what? Perhaps Plone could benefit from process – improvements that would: Clarify direction and identity ● Provide more inclusive design process ● Improve the overall product ● Strengthen Plone community ●
  • 23. Plone Creation Process Overall vision: ● Open process associated with vision? – How can users be more involved? ● Place to document it? – Features: ● PLIPs process determines features...but you – have to be a “core developer” to make a PLIP Something before PLIPs but more specific than vision? ● Way to involve non-developers? ●
  • 24. Reminder Check out GetPaid at Naples Sprint! ● Sprint for the Red Ocher Release Candidate – October 13-15, 2007 –
  • 25. Thank you! Contact info: ● Christopher Johnson – cjj (at) – – Links: ● – –