Product Management in Sakai

(for those who read the Sakai email lists, the content of this post also appeared there)

Prior to my becoming Executive Director I participated in the 2007 Requirements process. This process was quite different from what I expected, despite the capable coordination provided by Mark Norton. I expected that it would strongly inform a roadmap for the next release of Sakai. It didn’t do that. It did other valuable things, like organize feature requests in jira, so perhaps the only problem was with the expectation the word “requirements” created in me. In a past life I spent some time as a product manager and have written Product Requirements Documents (PRDs). I guess I was expecting something more like that.  In any case, I digress…
Those of you who were at the board Q&A in Amsterdam may have remembered that I referred to Product Management as an important aspect of improving usability (and a lot of other things) in Sakai. The relationship between Product Management and Product Development is a well understood in a hierarchical organization structure where the development resources are centrally controlled. It doesn’t work the same way when control of resources are highly distributed as they are in Sakai (today, at least…in the project phase there was more central coordination, if not control). Still, I believe that we need something that delivers the same results in Sakai (e.g. a roadmap informed by the needs of users).

So I’ve been thinking a bit about this over the last couple of months and have documented my first draft of:

  1. Why we want this
  2. What such a process would look like, and
  3. Who might be involved.

I invite your comments:

http://confluence.sakaiproject.org/confluence/x/q4Ki

Best regards,

Michael

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