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Product WG Meeting notes 


See #wg-open-edx-product-management


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Double Diamond overview - Lightning talk slides

  • Jenna Makowski walked us through the lightning talk of the Product Roadmap

  • Discussion about how product + engineering feedback loops / collaboration will be a challenge moving forward

Question: How does tcril think the discovery / definition space might work? 

  • Jenna - For the first diamond in the process, using a shared wiki space will be helpful 

  • Marco - Centralized confluence space will help us make visible product / design collateral (use cases etc) even if they’re not yet ratified / necessarily the right thing for us to do. 

  • Ashley - broadest participation is at the early stakeholder perspective (learner, educator, etc). Within this space, knowing what has shifted from exploration to a proposal stage 

Question: How should the product working group be organized? Rotating topics, smaller subgroups? 

  • Marco - smaller groups per platform map area, some topics rolling up into main meeting

  • Udo - how do we ensure that things these groups do get delivered

  • Xavier - Thousands of ideas but nothing gets done doesn’t work necessarily, need to have ways to do small iteration timelines on non-predictable projects 

  • Jenna - how do we prioritize within this group? 

  • Ideally much of the platform is separate applications that can move / improve more independently 

  • Bottlenecks will happen with the dedicated groups if we go this way. Perhaps you can look at this group as a melting pot, grouping similar items huddled together for specific initiatives or use cases. 

  • Difficult to develop on the platform currently and duplicated solutions to the same problem. 

  • Xavier - Having APIs and standard boundaries is very important. That said, we are not a large community and duplicating efforts limits our very small community. 

  • George - This group might need to focus on how we interact with other focus groups. Example - rather than prioritizing work ?

  • Udo - providing visibility is more important. 

  • Marco - is product working group a meta group focused on process / visibility, other groups are more specifically identifying strategies for areas of the platform

  • Ned - Ensuring we know where conversations are happening is important.

    • Everyone is busy, how to make it easiest to keep people involved? 

  • Jenna - summarization - Product working group ensures openness and clarity across community, enduring the right resources are in place to support the right part of the platform. 

    • Xavier - agreed with the first part, but the second part might be harder to accomplish. Flagged the ‘do-ocracy’ concept / idea. One way to think about this working group is that it enables other working groups (with some boundaries) 

Duplication of Product Efforts 

  • Ashley - there is space for both identifying clear areas of strength (ex: Quizzes) and where we let the market offer broader solutions. Both choices matter here and are relevant to this group. Discussed RICE framework as a way to discuss as a group whether we have a shared vision or not. 

  • Flexibility to adapt to very different use cases will happen with clear boundaries 

  • George - Duplication isn’t always bad, but accidental duplication is the problem. 

  • Documentation is a good step toward reducing duplication

  • From working with teachers and content creators, we have been repeating the word standard. This is important because teachers have a toolkit that they’d like to use (and these toolkits vary widely). Compatibility plus standards together is important. A common question is “Can I reuse my moodle quiz on open edx?” 

  • George - Do we have alignment around goals for this group? Should we take a step back. We might be swirling around a few different problems. 

Jenna Theme Recap

  • Top Notes:

    • Clarity and transparency in initiative across the ecosystem, specifically around removing intentional duplication

    • Define a clear core platform process

    • Traffic controller (OSPRs, PR Process, other bottlenecks)

  • Reactions:

    • Marco - Smaller projects / platform boundaries help with some of these themes, and ensuring consistency across smaller groups should help us move faster

    • Sergiy - What is the future / goal for the platform that isn’t clear currently? Many options seem valid, but what is our north star / lighthouse?

    • FUN - has found overlap after feeling that their needs were unique originally. It isn’t always easy to explain the platform to others. 

    • Insights as example - analytics solution that required additional infrastructure and wasn’t a fit for the open edx community. 

Stakeholder Choice

  • How do we support the many use cases for learning (higher ed, governments, K-12, enterprise, etc) 

  • Marco - imo stakeholder choice is secondary to understanding what the platform is that we are working on. If that was standardized we could have smaller / scope conversations about which platform map areas support which use cases (well or not well. 

  • Xavier - Important to define a process for decision making and arbitrating

  • Ashley - ‘learner centric platform’ could we be rallied around this. What is the verb that this product is doing. Starting there and building then feels transferable. 

Platform Identity 

  • Learner / Teacher / Developer Platform? Which one?

  • FUN - question - what does success look like for tcril in 5 years? R&D? Innovation? 

  • Jenna - one key goal is to grow the community. If today edX is 80-90% of contributions how can we get to it being 50% to be more balanced. 

Community Centered Development

  • Xavier - when we ask tcril what the platform / mission is, we are asking tcril to fish. 

  • Xavier - “we are Open edX” collectively 

  • Udo - we are all looking to provide improved learning for our use cases. 

  • FUN - we want to transition from a vendor or facilitator role for tcril. 

  • Xavier - instead of tcril saying what the platform is, we collectively arrive at that decision 

  • I’m here to help us all have fewer gray hairs, hopefully solving shared problems 

Platform Core

  • Dave O - There is a difference between the technical core and the product core. Example of Capa - Is that core to the technical platform, no but it is core to the ‘product core offering’ 

  • Example - how can we not have a shared definition of things like ‘what is completion’ - 

  • Jenna - shared definition connects to the “what is the platform” notion as well

Jenna Recap - Smaller 

  1. Define Platform Areas List what is in the platform centrally, make it visible. 

  2. Initiative Visibility Make efforts visible as they exist today across the ecosystem (directory of ideas / work aka roadmap) 

  3. Contribution Processes Streamline contribution processes (OSPRs, bottlenecks) 

How do you prioritize among these? 

Introductions / Attendees