Today we did a little refactoring of code, but otherwise took a quick break from development of nexus.
If you’ve ever had writer’s block, or struggled with a tough programming or representational problem, you know that one way to make progress is to walk away and then walk back. We did that today and reached a couple conclusions.
Evaluating the Goals Behind Nexus
When we identified our corporate goals for nexus, one goal was technology evaluation. We’re comfortable that we know enough about Ruby on Rails to make informed decisions about using it in future projects. In short, we like the technology a lot. There is enough of a community of developers to get help when we need it. The deployment of updates to a working site is just fantastic. The language (Ruby) and framework (Rails) are easy to learn. This goal has been met – and while additional learning is required, we have enough experience now to know that we like the technology.
The other goal is to make it easier for people to find great content. One thing We’ve stressed at Tyner Blain when defining requirements and solutions is that the solution isn’t always best done with software. Making nexus better may mean adding more capabilities to the site. It may mean adding more content. It may mean promotion.
Taking A Step Back
Today’s question looking for an inspiring answer was “What else does nexus need before the beta release?” There was an obvious answer of “visual design work, and possibly interaction design improvements.” But what about additional capabilities? If you could make a wish for what you want at nexus, what would it be – new capabilities, new content?
Roger suggested earlier in the project that we should focus on the area of greatest risk. My intuition is that the challenge now is to achieve a critical mass of community for nexus to become a vibrant and dynamic place to find great stuff.
We currrently have 18 users who have collectively read 33 articles 184 times, submitting 63 ratings and writing 16 reviews. This is a great start for a self-professed alpha product/site. My intuition is that we need five times those numbers at a minimum to achieve the scale we need for people to actively seek out the nexus as a place to find and contribute great content.
To that end, as a product-manager / dictator, I intend to focus my energies for the rest of the week on growing the content base and trying to get more people to rate and review articles. We will also fill out the rest of the help documentation and work on minor improvements to the user interface. If all goes well, we’ll remove the “alpha” label and become a beta (or “real” site).
Any Last Requests?
Before we issue a “feature complete” fiat, we want to hear back from you – what else do you think we need to have before we consider nexus to be complete enough to launch?
Comment on this article and lets get the discussion started!