Behind the Scenes @ Wild Apricot: Multiple Forums, Multiple Chapters, Multiple Ideas

Lori Halley 04 June 2010 0 comments

The past few weeks I've been talking about our analysis and development process. I've shown you where the ideas come from, how we refine them, crowdsource the solution, design it and then pass it off to our developers. There's one part that I mention week after week that's an important part of this, but I don't think I've ever fully discussed, and that's the forums on Wild Apricot. I mention that there are posts on the Wishlist and Roadmap, but explaining the differences between them should give you a little more understanding on how we do things.

There are thee main forums that we use to discuss people's suggestions as well as our own planned improvements: General Discussion and Questions, Wishlist, and Roadmap

General Discussion and Questions might be a broad name, but it's very indicative of what goes on in there: it's where people can ask questions and get answers. Answers will more than likely come from our team or from another Wild Apricot user - We love our active user base and how willing it is to contribute with help or suggestions. Sometimes, however, there might not be an answer, or at least not a simple one. When this happens we first make sure it's not a bug, and if it isn't it moves up the line.

The Wishlist is pretty much what it sounds like: it's a place where we put all the things that people have asked for either because they think it's a good idea or because it's an area where Wild Apricot could use a little more refinement. Where General Discussion can be just questions or a series of ideas in a post, the Wishlist is more focused. Items on the Wishlist tend to be better defined: By this point we've identified the general idea or functionality that is wanted, and have an idea of how it should work. Items on the Wishlist aren't planned yet, and often still have a lot of work done on them.

This is where the second main use of the Wishlist comes into play. If you've spent any time on the Wishlist you'll have seen the voting buttons that we have on each post. If the suggestion is something you've been thinking should be in Wild Apricot you can vote for it. If you're feeling very invested, you can event vote for it an leave a post expressing your support for me, and maybe even add a little bit to the suggestion by describing how you would use the feature or pointing out something we may have missed in our preliminary analysis which you think is necessary. We take note of these votes and posts.

As something gets more and more interest, we move it up the analysis queue. After every quarter and every release we go through the Wishlist and our issues, looking for our next candidates for development. There are a lot of factors that go into this, both based on external and internal requirements (and I won't bore you with those), but over time we come up with a list of what we want to do in the next 12 months. 

Once we have our candidates, we move all the related forum threads to the Roadmap; a rolling window of what we plan to do in the next 12 months. Every post on there is a feature that either our developers are actually working on, or something that we are planning to do over the next year. It's a living, breathing forum, meaning that you can still put your feedback into it. As well, depending on how things go in development or based your comments, sometimes issues may fall off the Roadmap - they might require a lot more analysis than we thought, or new client needs have come up - but this also means that room opens up for issues to move onto the Roadmap.

One of the purposes of this blog is to draw attention to how issues move between these forums. We are starting a new system for making sure that our forums are always up to date with our short and long term plans, so expect to see more forum threads being discussed in future posts.

Having said that, this week Dmitry posted an excellent "umbrella" post (where we discuss a couple of options that we are considering) to our General Discussion forum regarding Functionality for Multi-Chapter Organizations. Dmitry discusses two solutions that we're considering. The first uses a lot of functionality that Wild Apricot already has, and proposes the inclusion of a couple of other features which have already been proposed to round out the feature. The second is a much more full-featured solution, but would require some extensive development. If you are interested in chapters I recommend you check it out. Also note that there are links in the post to all the threads that are related to the suggestion, so you can quickly see what is being discussed.

And speaking of forums and discssion, here are some Wishlist posts that have gone up in the past week:

Have a great weekend, and keep watching the skies!

 

Originally posted by gvalentino 

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 04 June 2010 at 2:19 PM

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