Posts Tagged ‘ploneconf2008’

Thank you to those who attended my session at Plone Conference 2008, and for the feedback. The session was really a covert attempt to form the first Plone ultimate frisbee team (wink). Not a single toss missed or off target. Here are the slides and relevant links:

I don’t think the slideshow is very helpful without commentary, so I may add an audio track in future if there is interest (add a request as a comment).

Team project management tools to consider:

  • Extreme Management, by Zest. Plone-based tool that has support for iterations (sprints), user stories, tasks and the version in trunk has a very slick time booking feature.
  • Cluemapper, by Jazkarta. A layer on top of Trac, helps organize multiple projects. Not much Scrum functionality yet, but if you like Trac, you’ll like its time booking, user and project management enhancements.
  • Agilito by ifPeople. A Django-based Scrum tool that has support for product backlog, team iteration dashboard, burndown chart and a single page view that has all the related elements – attachments, tasks, test cases (acceptance tests).
Agile test tools:
  • Roadrunner will help you achieve TDD with Plone without losing your mind waiting for automated tests to run.
  • There are some other useful tools I have heard of that I will try and get links to. I forget what they are, Jordan Baker (hexsprite on IRC) knows.

I’d like to hear back from more of you on what you liked, what could have been better, and what additional information would be helpful. Leave your feedback as a comment or contact me at gerry AT ifpeople DOT net.

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At this year’s Plone Conference in Washington, DC, I had the opportunity to share the story of where GetPaid has gone since birth. In preparing the presentation, with the help of the GetPaid community, we created new reference material, a new way to feature sites using GetPaid, and a presentation that can serve as reference material. About 40 people came (not bad since I was up against Alex Limi’s session!), almost all of whom were new to GetPaid.

A brief history of GetPaid

GetPaid was “born” at Google in summer of 2007, complete with birth certificate after conception at the BBQ Sprint that TriZPUG organized in North Carolina. The father was Kapil and we had a bunch of midwives and godparents to help with the delivery amidst the multicolor chairs at the Googleplex. About 4 months later, GetPaid reached it’s first release, called Red Ochre (v 0.3). Right away it went into production in several sites. The young product had a growth spurt that led to another release (0.6) six months later that included a lot of new features. Since then, the product has been inching closer to a new release, helped on by new developers who are tackling some existing bugs.

As a unique part of GetPaid’s story, it was organized through a collaborative design process that I call “social sourcing“. The social sourcing model involves engaging the stakeholders (end users, integrators, developers, etc) at the beginning of the project so they are all involved in both designing the solution and in providing the resources to make it happen. This process will be used again in moving GetPaid towards 1.0 as well.

Look – it works!

My presentation’s titled “Plone ecommerce: Surveying the state of the art”, was in large part a reference to the ecommerce Birds of a Feather (BOF) I convened at the Seattle conference 2 years ago. When I asked the 20+ people why they had come, many said “to find out what the state of the art of ecommerce in Plone is.” The sad truth, and reason for actually convening the BOF, was that there wasn’t any. Just 2 years later, though, we have a dozen sites to show off. Used by mostly non-profits as well as some companies, GetPaid has proven useful for processing donations, store orders, and automating some business processes.

How about the delivery?

I usually have a lot of fun presenting, and this one was no different. I got to tell stories, be honest about where things are at, and also be proud that we actually created a quality product that is being adopted around the world and attracted a great community. I focused on the stories of how GetPaid is being used in live sites to satisfy real world use cases and business needs. I presented what the use case is, a site that is using GetPaid for it, and then how it is done (with links to the docs about it).

I got several complements on the presentation, including a couple from Joyce, who “laughed the entire time.” I imagine it is a mix of realism with sarcasm thrown in that delights, given her high marks for mine and Martin’s presentations. Joyce is also the one who got the projector working for me when Ubuntu decided it didn’t want to work, so I am grateful for both her comments and the help! Hopefully the video will be up sooner than later, though my understanding was around New Year’s they would be ready.

One thing I have to confess though about the presentation is that I probably gave a load of meanless technobabble about the state of the PayPal processor integration. The PayPal API is so rediculous and multifaceted that it makes my head spin. While Ken and Lee sprinted on that after the conference, I learned that I basically don’t know what all there letters (IPN, etc) mean. So best to ignore that part :).

Reflections on an Open Source Organizer’s Journey

I kinda stepped off a cliff with GetPaid, not really knowing where this would take me. It has been a great learning experience and allowed me to apply my real passion – how to get effective collaboration to happen leveraging the Internet.

Preparing the presentation, I put myself in the “beginner’s mind” to see how someone approaching GetPaid for the first time would experience trying to be productive with this tool. Since I am not a developer, I was a pretty good test case and tried to figure out how each of the implementations was done with GetPaid. Though we answered several questions in that regard, I realized after the presentation and talking with others interested in GetPaid that what is still lacking is the “elevator pitch” for GetPaid. In other words, what is the concise explanation of what it is and why you should use it. Last year at the Naples Plone Conference, I got a hand from Nicolas and Xavier at ZEA Partners in helping define GetPaid better (see article they made), though it has evolved a fair bit and deserves a revisit!

While it has been a bit more absorbing than I had imagined, I am glad to have been able to contribute a needed tool to the Plone community…without being a developer! The social sourcing process itself has been one of my richest nuggets of wisdom taken from the experience, and I hope to apply it in other collaborative, open source project settings in the future.

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In preparation for the Plone Conference 2008, Chris at ifPeople asked me to create this visual graphic for a process that he and Jon Stal had developed. It explains how Plone is influenced by the community at large. I had to learn and understand the process in order to create a visual that would capture this vibrant community.

Influencing Plone

Collaborative Design processes and Plone

During my week in DC I was fascinated by the hundreds of volunteers who practically live, eat, and breathe Plone. Revisiting this graphic during the event, I was able to see how precisely it captured the essence of the conference. The process was alive during the individual sessions, collaborations/sprints, and within the sights and sounds of the Keynote speech. I got to see all aspects of this design come to life!

The vibe was contagious and I soon found myself participating during the Sprints. Collaboration was not limited to local contributers; everyone came together to help out and there were even remote sprinters who joined via #plone. While sprinting I enthusiastically signed up to be a volunteer editor for the Online Docs so that I can continue to assist. Also there was a lot of talk about some much needed books being published in the near future, I am especially interested in the Theming book that Veda Williams is working on. In addition there was mention of many new product releases for Plone, along with the all new plone.org theme which is worth looking out for.

In essence this is what makes the community thrive—a process that has evolved over time to accommodate hundreds of collaborators that are working hard to make Plone into a better Open Source. Changes don’t happen as fast as some would like, but a gradual transition with a common vision is well worth it in the end. The first step is identifying our common vision and the steps we should take to attain it. We are each individuals with our own opinions of how things should be but despite our cultural or personal differences, the conference has shown me that in the end everyone can come together to share and work towards a unified future.

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If Plone were an animal

Yesterday I had a lot of fun meeting and talking with many of the people here at the Plone 2008 conference. Many have said that community is at the heart of Plone, and I would agree. See for yourself some of the people of Plone, and listen to them answer “If Plone were an animal, what animal would it be?”. When you’re done, add your own answer as a comment. And no, you can’t pick pony.

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  • There needs to be a session for first time conference goers.  What’s a sprint?  A BoF?  A lightning talk?  An integrator?  Introduce new attendees to the lingo and tell them the best ways to get involved.  Don’t assume that people know everyone in the Plone community and how it works.  Names are bandied about all week.  A brief explanation of who these people are would be helpful.  What does a veteran see in the conference schedule that a newbie wouldn’t see?  Many people will attend sessions based entirely on the presenter.  What is the Plone Foundation?  What does it do?  Maybe have an icebreaker to get new atendees talking to each other.
  • The schedule planning this year was bass ackwards, with the highly technical talks and longer sessions loaded on at the end of the conference.  For many introverts, like myself, energy wanes as the week goes on.  By Friday, as soon as the technobabble starts, I tune it out.  By the end of the week, I want to see presentations that are pure delight–that are engaging but don’t weigh my brain down with a barrage of information.  Sessions that are more interactive might be better at the end of the conference.
  • I know this one is really up to the presenters, but sessions with overly clever titles should have information subtitles.  For example, instead of “Feed the Masses”, it should be “Feed the Masses: Syndication in Plone.”  Titles are important.  You should be able to tell if you would have some basic level of interest in a presentation just from the title.

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The bummer about reality is you can’t be in all places at all times (at least, for most of us). But thanks to some internet goodie, we can at least get more info and stories about what we missed!

Wanna see what’s going on here? Check out the Flickr photos tagged with ploneconf2008 . If you are uploading your pics from the conference (or other media, blogs, etc), please use the tag ploneconf2008 so we can connect the dots!

Lukes pic from 10% manifesto (reproduced with permission)

Spliter's pic from 10% manifesto

I am grateful to see some pics – spliter (Denis) caught this pic of a panel I was on on the “10% manifesto” about how companies can contribute to Plone. Good thing we figured out what we were going to talk about with some quality beer first.

For those watching on planet.plone.org or just interested in more about the specific content, have a look at Mark from Zest Software‘s live blogging entries on the Plone conference. Thanks to Mark I was able to learn about what I missed while I was talking, like Joel’s presentation on intranets. Hopefully presenters will be uploading their talks and tagging on slideshare.net –> see ploneconf sessions on slideshare.

You can see in the technorati list of blog posts tagged with ploneconf2008 that we are up to 11 posts currently. Notably there we have a few posts on CMSWire by JoAnna, including live blogging about Cris Ewing’s talk, We All Stand Together, and Mike Robinson (aka Martin’s boss) on what makes a great team (and a dive into agile!). On a related note, Gerry from ifPeople will be giving a talk on agile and scrum in the last slot of the conference (ie today!).

Not quite what we got with the concerted and organized efforts of Christian Scholtz (aka MrTopf) last year, but not bad considering the connectivity difficulties for the first day.

In case you didn’t notice, if you are posting stuff, we would really like you to tag it with ploneconf2008! Include a license from Creative Commons to make it even easier to share.

Technorati Profile

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Notes from the session attended on Day One:

The 10% Manifesto and further: Methods for organized contribution to strategic development (Panel)

This was a panel of people talking and sharing how companies can plan greater involvement in the Plone community. There was a great amount of discussion from the audience as well, demonstrating that people desire to give back more in an environment where it is hard to bake in the time on a regular basis.

Calvin Hendryx-Parker, Six Feet Up

  • Company has Friday afternoon tune-up days- Need big enough group in company to build momentum, hard to do individually- Hard to step away from client work and move into OS work

Matt Hamilton, Netsight

  • Connecting new people with Plone community helps to motivate person in company to get involved, see the process contribution project works

Tarek Ziade,

  • Language issues for non-English speaking contributors hindering more contributions to community- Lack of awareness of what initiatives / projects are happening

Chris Johnson, ifPeople

  • Need better ways of engaging and supporting developers in international community, potential strategic advantage in coming years if we can nurture that along- Need sharing between companies on how to promote, defend OS with potential clients

Simple places to start getting involved

  • Report bugs
  • More involved, but rewarding: sprint – lock yourself away

Business arguments

  • When you publish your code as open source you can leverage the community to fix bugs, add new features
  • Start thinking about software as a liability not an asset – needs to be maintained

Random bits

  • Collective is chaos – GetPaid experience invited people to co-sponsor it
  • KaizenPlone – wiki for how to tackle common problems, best practices

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Lightning talks rock.  I realized this today.  When I go to longer sessions, I generally find that what I really want is a lightning talk–that little nugget of Plone wisdom that can be communicated in three to seven minutes.  I find that sessions at the Plone Conference are sometimes conducted like computer science classes in that they attempt to teach you how to do specific tasks in Plone.  I find this largely impractical.  The conference is a firehose of information and I won’t remember the details of a specific task when it’s over.  I want distilled information, fermented information, the single drop that tastes sweet.

Does this mean that we should get rid of 40 minute talks?  No.  Many of the ones that I have attended have been very good.  However, lightning talks seem to take place in the background of the conference and I think they should be moved more to the foreground.  Currently, they are very informal.  We should have a couple rounds of formalized lightning talks that are proposed in advance like regular presentations.  And lightning talks should be scheduled in the same time blocks as other conference presentations.  Currently, they are tacked on at the end of the day as an afterthought.

I don’t know if the ploneconf2008 tag will work to get this out to the wider community, but I’m interested to see discussion on this.  Please comment!

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Alan and Alex kicked off the morning keynotes yesterday with their “State of Plone” talk. They had a lot of items in there, and here is what was most exciting and interesting for me.

State of Plone talk:
– Plone has over 1 million downloads
– One of the largest contributor base of open source projects

What I am most excited about is the Plone.org upgrade that is coming really soon. I got a preview of the new design in New Orleans at the regional symposium. The great thing about it – finally plone.org will help with marketing! The overhaul is quite major (the technical upgrade is the minor part of it all!).

I was on a panel yesterday with two of the folks that were contributors to the new site: Tarek from Inginiweb and Matt from Netsight, who’s company make the new design.

The other exciting thing on the horizon in my view is World Plone Day, which is on November 7. There are many planned activities around the world. We are hoping to get a talk for the talk and exploring where we can do that around Atlanta. Any ideas?

A notable quote from the talk: “boring is the new cool”. Alex coined that one in describing the way development and versions are progressing. While the 4.x version will see major changes, the entire 3.x series is about stability and steady (minor) improvements. In fact, there is a maintenance release made every month. Akin to the ubuntu “LTS” (Long Term Support) releases, 3.x release management is ensuring a stable product that the Plone users and community can depend on.

Though Alan and Alex were a bit subdued in my opinion, the State of Plone talk had a bit of something for everyone and hopefully also gave the new folks a sense of the community, the people who have been active, and how exciting Plone is.

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Gotta Love the Green Hat

ifPeeps are all wearing green hats for the Plone Conference this year.  The idea is to make us a more visible presence at the conference.  So far it’s working.  I’ve already talked to several people who knew that ifPeople was the team wearing green hats.  One person commented to me that he thought we were a team from Ireland at first.

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