Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More time

Someone should come here and do an ethnography of me at work. I drive people nuts. Especially my developer and commercial director and my wife and my father in law... only our app developers still don't know me well enough to take everything I say as said. Let me explain.

We have an innovations/features pipeline which goes something like this:

Dec 2011
Blogging  - we are close to completing this now
Researcher's living document - for analysis and interpretation
Cross feature tagging - all entries and posts and be filtered as one

Jan 2012
Visceral sliders - our first questionnaire mechanism which is nothing like a questionnaire

Feb 2012
EthOS Live TM - A live intercept feature

Apr 2012
EthOS Wild Apples - more later
EthOS Street - more later

You are looking at the next 5 months worth of EthOS development. I haven't included more minor tweaks and additions.

As of today, blogging is finished but in staging. We were ready to push it live last Friday. But while playing with it, we came up with a bunch of new ideas around how blogs would live alongside the rest of our entries. Which meant literally going back to square one with certain elements of this build. Which will set us all back half a week. Not a big deal you might say.

Until you see how things work at EthOS.

a) One of us - usually me - comes up with an idea for a feature.
b) Our digital director asks me to write out the specifications.
c) I refuse.
d) Commercial director has long chat with me about the importance of focusing on features which will make us money/are chargeable
e) I agree but continue with what I have started
f) Digital director begins to write out specifications and shares them with me
g) I don't really listen and he begins building
h) Digital director sends me screen grabs followed by long calls around how the feature works
i) Calls littered with Digital director saying: "But I told you it was going to work like this!"
j) Call ended with digital director asking if any more changes will take place
k) I tell him I don't know.
l) f-k are repeated numerous times
m) New feature appears on staging and we start playing on it like excited kids
n) Like excited kids we want the feature to do more
o) Our suggestions take us back to f
p) We go live much later than expected

You may ask: why even tell anyone you are working on new features? Just do a short PR and launch. My reply would be that our transparency allows clients and prospects to engage with us early on ensuring that we build the best possible tools we can. Call it crowd sourcing if you think 20 people are a cloud...

You may ask: why pay scant attention to the spec document? Get everything sorted in your head before you start building! My reply would be that I do pay attention and that all of the key functionality we need are included. But I cannot get my mind around a new feature until I have played with it for a few days. And I can't take a new tool the best there is in one step.

And here is a film someone sent me which I'd like to share with you. I mirrors my own views about time constraints or deadlines. Who needs them?


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