A Community-Driven Roadmap: Get Involved in Setting the Development Priorities for Loomio

• Written by Alanna Irving

Right from the start, Loomio has been a community-driven project. From day one, we’ve had real people using Loomio to make real decisions, and real world feedback from users has directed development all along.

The Loomio Community group is an active, enthusiastic group of supporters and contributors. Whether it’s talking about new feature ideas, exploring best practice for facilitating online collaboration, or collaborating to translate the app into 22 languages, this diverse, global community is invaluable. Those of us on Team Loomio consider ourselves members of the Loomio Community of users and supporters, not apart from it.

Loomio Community Group

We recently went back through the entire archive of the Loomio Community group (a treasure trove of over 2 years worth of content) and pulled out a list of all the ideas ever suggested for Loomio.

Loomio Roadmap: All Your Ideas & More

We’ve heard many times that the community wants a publicly viewable roadmap, so people know what’s in the pipeline, and a way for users to give feedback on it. Well, now we have one: loomio.org/roadmap.

Roadmap Trello

The backlog of ideas have come from the Loomio Community, and also include what we’ve promised to deliver for Loomio 1.0 for the crowdfunding campaign we recently completed. The public roadmap is not a static list – it’s an interactive Trello board (modeled on the Trello Dev Board).

There are five main lists of cards:

  • Inbox – new suggestions for various sources, waiting to be processed.
  • Ideas Backlog – Vote up the ones you care about most.
  • Next Up – What the Loomio dev team has prioritised.
  • In Progress – Development currently underway.
  • Live – we’ll have a monthly list so you can see what new stuff has been released.

Cards will move along from ideas to implemented features, in a public, transparent way. You can easily see if your idea has already been suggested, see what features the community as a whole wants most, and check progress on features you care about.

How We’ll Work Together: Collaborative Design Process

At the core of the Loomio philosophy is the idea that including more different perspectives in a constructive way will lead to higher quality decision outcomes. This goes for feature development in our software as well.

We’ve thought hard about how best to involve more people in the design process – the “how” that needs to go along with the “what” of feature development. No one wants to fall in the trap of “design by committee” and it’s important that everyone understands that we’re working within technical and capacity constraints (sometimes the dev team just needs to make decisions). People also want guidance about how they can most constructively give feedback. So a free-for-all approach really isn’t that productive.

Meaningfully involving diverse users in the design and testing process is absolutely the way to build the best possible application, and we’re totally committed to it. We also want to make it easier for open source contributors to pick up work the core team doesn’t have capacity for, and to do that effectively, these jobs must be integrated with the overall vision for the app, and well specced out.

We’re going to use the votes of the community to inform what to prioritise. As cards move into “next up” we will host Loomio discussions in the Feature Ideas group about them. We’ll take on the feedback, develop the feature, and then come back to update when it’s been released. We can then ask everyone to test it out and give more feedback for future iterations, or catch bugs.

We’ve already done this process recently with the New Group Privacy Settings. Read through the thread to see how this kind of collaboration at work!

Call to Action: Get Involved!

We are very excited about this new phase of increased transparency and collaboration in the development roadmap, and can’t wait to get input from the wider community! Right now, go to the Loomio Roadmap Trello board and have a look. Start voting and commenting on features. The future of Loomio will be shaped by you.

Your Input Built Loomio

Almost all the core features of Loomio were actually suggested by the community. It’s really fascinating to go back and see the discussions that led to features we now couldn’t live without.

Wow! That’s quite a list. And it’s going to keep growing….

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