To define the boundaries for our agile project, we need to define the scope. To provide a guiding framework for the rest of the work, we need to document the vision. We could create heavy-weight scope documents and vision documents. And we could run them through reviews and get approvals and wordsmith them to death.
But we won’t. Agile processes are about documenting enough, not documenting for the sake of documenting. This is a small project with an even smaller team (one person right now – but that will grow as people start helping out). An informal documentation style will be sufficient. The key element is to have something referenceable and mutable. If we can’t change the scope or the vision based on market feedback, we aren’t being agile.
These two project management artifacts seem logical to combine into a single article
Create a site that allows people in our niche to help each other find great articles, regardless of who wrote them. People will identify and evaluate (rate/review/score) articles on their merits. People will also categorize (taxonomy/folksonomy) the articles to make it easier for others to find documents that they are looking for at that time. When a person is searching in our space for an article, it is either as a beginner or an expert (on that subtopic). This site should help people filter to look for articles appropriate for the type of search they are doing at that time.
[Update 26 Apr 2007: We’ve updated the vision for the project – the update is included below]
Using the language described in Gene Smith’s Social Software Building Blocks (http://nform.ca/publications/social-software-building-block), we want to focus on sharing and reputation, while incorporating elements of identity, conversations, and relationships. We do not want to focus features on groups or presence. The diagram for our site would therefore look like the following:
In this project, we talk a lot about “our space” and “our niche.” Our niche is intended to be articles about:
- product management
- business analysis
- requirements definition and management
- business rule definition and management
- business process modeling
- agile processes
- interaction design
In terms of functionality, our scope is limited to improving everyone’s ability to find great content in our niche. That might mean making it easy for authors to tell people about articles, but more intentional is the ability for people to highlight great articles for each other. The scope is not intended to provide a mechanism for people to content. People should be able to indicate some assessment of the content – not just an unadorned link to the content. That may mean ratings, reviews, comments, thumbs up/down, etc.
In terms of deployment, this project will be a “self contained website” that is intended to be deployed into a subfolder at Tyner Blain ( http://tynerblain.com/folder/ ). We may elect to deploy it somewhere else (like a subdomain, or a separate TLD).