The Open edX Team is excited to announce a new program to co-create a shared product roadmap for the Open edX learning platform.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Give the community of contributors meaningful input into the learning platform roadmap
  • Prioritize the biggest opportunities for advancing the platform in the next six months
  • Avoid duplicated effort — waste — in the Open edX community and facilitate collaboration
  • Capture value of unmerged code developed by the community
  • Publish and maintain a shared Open edX platform roadmap

The initial version of the program will start with a public “Call for Opportunities.”

We are going to use a new artifact for capturing opportunities called an “opportunity brief.”   Briefs will be terse documents, around 400 words, that provide enough information for reviewers to understand the proposal, develop a point of view, or follow up questions.  You can find an exemplar Opportunity Brief here.  

Briefs should be submitted through a new Jira project, registration required.  There you will also be able to see the briefs that other members of the community have submitted.

A couple of ground rules:

  • Do check to see if an existing brief already exists for the opportunity that you have in mind.  If that is the case, reach out to the original author so that you may collaborate to produce a better overall pitch.
  • Do spend the time to create a high-quality brief.  It should be terse, but provide enough information to fully convey the nature and value of the proposal to someone approaching the idea for the first time.
  • Don’t create a lot of briefs capturing brain storms.
  • Do make yourself available to answer questions about your proposal and respond to feedback

In early October, an invited group of long time Open edX community members and edX staff will hold a workshop to review the submissions for discussions and prioritization.  That group will produce and publish our initial roadmap focusing on priorities for the next six months.  We expect to publish the road map in late October. 

We expect that for future iterations, we will invite more participants to the synchronous review sessions.  Priority, as ever, will be given to those who contribute most to the Open edX commons.
If you have questions about or issues with submitting briefs, please contact oscm@edx.org.  If the question is valuable to others, post it in the discussion for this post.

Notable Replies

  1. @antoviaque @nimisha mentioned that some questions came up about the Roadmap workshop in the latest Contributor Discussion. I wanted to capture them and respond to them here. I’m not sure that I know all of the questions that came up, but Nimisha mentioned the following things:

    Should opportunity briefs be submitted if they are not super well developed or in draft form?

    Yes! The community together can iterate on draft briefs and we are better served by capturing more opportunities than worrying overmuch about the quality of the briefs. If you have a good idea that is “rough and ready” please submit it. If fact, visibility into shared needs would be valuable in itself.

    Are we committing to doing all the work for the opportunities that we submit?

    No, as a group we’ll prioritize the opportunities and create a roadmap. We should all be willing to invest our efforts to realize the top priorities, but there’s no expectation that we do everything that is identified. We will end up with a story map that corresponds to named releases and we’ll work to keep batch sizes reasonable.

    What is the deadline for submitting opportunity briefs?

    The deadline for submitting briefs is September 30, 2020.

    Please add whatever other questions folks have to this thread.

  2. @e0d Great - that helps clarifying the outstanding questions on my side for now, thanks!

  3. This is really a good way of create roadmap and find actual demand and supply :slight_smile:

  4. @sambapete recording wasn’t possible because we used multiple Zoom breakout rooms and a Miro board to interact together and prioritze tickets (that couldn’t be recorded). However, you can see the Miro Board (password: november), and the statuses of individual tickets on the Platform Roadmap Jira Board. Not all tickets are updated/prioritized as you’ll see, but I guess that’s a work in progress!

    Salut!

  5. Xavier and I attended the activity, and I’ve prepared a recap and some feedback for the internal OpenCraft team. I thought I might share my recap here as well, for those who couldn’t attend:

    For reference, you can find the briefing document here (contains agenda, links, etc.).

    Context

    The workshop took place on Zoom + a Miro board (password: november) + the Platform Roadmap Jira board; you can see the results!

    There were 40-50 participants; a nice turnout.

    The idea for this workshop was to obtain a crowd-sourced assessment for each of the roadmap proposal tickets (example), in order to help edX evaluate and prioritize the tickets for the product roadmap.

    During the workshop, the crowd was split into groups (each group assigned to a specific platform area) and each group reviewed tickets that were submitted on the Platform Roadmap Jira Board. The goal was to assess each ticket with a simple framework called RICE: Reach, Impact, Confidence, Effort.

    image
    ^^ (taken from slide 6 of the briefing document - Note that some people used t-shirt sizes to estimate effort instead of person-weeks)

    The process we used was the following:

    • Choose a group (platform area - Learner, Educator, Dev, Admin, Data)
    • Go into a Zoom room with people from the same group + a moderator from edX
    • Assess a bunch of ticket/proposals using the RICE framework
    • Leave notes as comments in the tickets on the Jira board
    • Then edX later evaluates/prioritizes each ticket according to the assessment

    Next steps

    • A sizeable number of tickets (marked as “New Opportunities” or “Reviewing” on the board) still need to be processed by edX.
    • They haven’t gotten to prioritizing yet (0 tickets in the “Prioritized” column)
    • Once all tickets are reviewed and prioritized, I think edX’s intention is to create a roadmap tool that captures the features and capabilities that will be included in the upcoming releases.

    My Takeaways

    • If done with sufficient asynchronous preparation ahead, this kind of workshop is really useful to get the community’s input on ideas for the platform.
    • The high number of tickets is a challenge, but doing more asynchronously will help with that.
    • More OpenCraft team members should participate, i.e. ideally those who prepared the proposals, or devs who asked interested in following specific tickets
    • Miro is an interesting tool but a bit buggy when many users are connected - maybe create multiple, smaller boards (one per platform area?)
    • Also make sure that people are familiar with Miro - it was my first time and I had to familiarize myself on the spot.
    • We should do more of those events!

    Feedback from other team members

    • Be more async next time - assigning groups, reading and evaluating individually the tickets could have been done async before, as well as some of the early discussions. Then the meeting would be used to conclude discussions and take decisions. This would allow for better quality work, as well as easier inclusion of people across timezones and specialties.
    • Allow to assign based on expertise - people who wrote a specific proposal should be present in the discussions of the group reviewing it, otherwise figuring out the unknowns is difficult.
    • Figure out a way to record all meetings / breakouts
    • Miro is slow for a large group, especially on Firefox. We only used it to do the following things - could we replace them by better dedicated tools, and more async oriented-ones?
    • Present ourselves and vote - use Slack / discourse?
    • Move tasks around - use the roadmap Jira board?

Continue the discussion at discuss.openedx.org

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