This is a copy of our latest report to our funder, Nominet.
- You can read all of the project updates on the project blog here
- You can read all of the up to date project documentation on the project wiki here
- The status of all the alpha webmasters is available on a public google doc here
- The project editing procject work status is available on a public google doc here
Describe your achievements. How do they compare with your targets?
The project is going well after the issues reported in our last report (which was amber, and why this one is green).
As outlined in the last report, the ‘stages’ we foresaw didn’t directly correlate to the practicalities of such an innovative project, so things appear to have taken longer In fact this stretch of our first stage makes the project plan looks slightly different to the actual practicalities, but the product is more advanced, meaning it will need less changes later.
Technically, the alpha product has been up and running on the ‘alpha webmasters’ websites for enough time to generate great insights from coding recommendations to design suggestions.
(Transition Sharing Engine project sidebar widget in Transition Cheltenham website)
Socially, they are giving us excellent feedback on usability, facilitation, editorial, and design, and we are meeting with them in early December for our face to face feedback session.
“…can other local Transition groups have the widget yet? I am being asked by our neighbours if they can put it on their sites?…” (Webmaster feedback)
Most of the webmasters have installed and are using the product successfully (including a shepherdess who doesn’t like websites), while a few have changed circumstances so have dropped off the group; this is to be expected.
At the deeper, webserver level, the Transition Technologist group has reviewed our webservers and is poised to make some big changes to handle the product. This will involve a move to faster, and more flexible servers in December so that we can accommodate the unpredictable nature of this work.
(Transition Sharing Engine project sidebar widget in Transition Norwich website)
Please summarise any project developments not covered in your Project Flightdeck (500 words max) :
The Project Sharing Engine product is deeply interlinked to our main Projects Directory; all of the data is stored in the main directory and the product refers to that every time it is viewed. So part of this work has always been to review and update the main projects directory, and that work is now well underway.
We are reviewing every project added to the directory to date, and doing appropriate edits as required. This involves an engagement plan with the ‘project owners’ as it is their data. We are also halfway through re-designing the projects forms themselves, having sought organisational agreement (see the last report about this), the main directory pages on the main site, and even the editing forms.
This is going well. It will bring about a significant improvement to the website.
It has also raised the wider issue of Transition Network’s Information Systems and management. With the experience we are gaining through updating the Projects Directory, we aim to work on our ‘Initiatives’ directory in order to bring that up to date and newly designed as well in early 2013.
Please tell us about any issues affecting your organisation that may impact your project delivery e.g. staff capacity, funding levels :
Transition Network is going through a staff restructure at the moment. We are not expecting the restructure to affect the project’s delivery.
This has been evolving over the year, and is now in mid-flow. We will know about our new structure in early December.
This has presented some challenges to the project in the way that any restructure will temporarily alter an organisation; however the project has raised many issues which can be taken onboard during a restructure (e.g. the Information Systems question from our earlier point).
So, in fact, the project has been a useful part of the restructure, helping us shine a light into areas we needed and identify areas of future need.
Please tell us about any significant changes to your project budget since your last report e.g. overspend, additional costs :
We have not yet spent all of the budget owing to the differences between our project plan, and the practicalities of its realisation. This budget is earmarked for work that we have had to wait for, and intend to work on over November/December/January. This will be outlined in the budget sheet.
What activities or events do you have planned, over the next period, to promote your project and raise its profile? :
At the core of the project:
We have the second meeting of our Community of Practice of webmasters in early December. We will be reviewing the product thoroughly at this meeting. We will also be discussing the wider rollout of the product with the webmasters (who at that point in the development of the ‘Community of Practice’ will be seen as ‘product champions’.
Widening the product to the betas:
We have a list of ‘beta’ webmasters (who have agreed to the beta trials) to whom we send updates. We will be informing them directly about the works in December. Our aim is to release the beta to the ‘beta webmasters’ in January 2013, further widening the awareness.
Informing the widest stakeholder group:
We blog about the project regularly and will feature this in our newsletter in December, and early in the new year. We expect that the most promotional activity will be as the ‘beta’ phase blends into the ‘public release’ phase.