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FARM Enhancement Projects - Suggestions for Getting Started

The following list provides high-level suggestions for getting started on a community (FARM) project. These are not required steps, but rather a framework to help guide you through the process.
  1. Define high-level project goal or idea.
  2. Fill out Project Idea questionnaire in the FARM section of the Apereo website. The FARM Group can advise on and/or provide assistance to your project throughout the process.
  3. Gather data to better understand and validate the need. Possible ways include:
    • New or existing survey data
    • Analysis of Institutions' help desk tickets
    • User interviews and Usability testing
    • Analysis of system data 
    • Votes on community JIRAs, GitHub issues, or other existing issue trackers
    • Investigate if other groups in the community have gathered data on similar needs (e.g., search email archives).
  4. Conduct competitive analysis: Survey other products (in the product space or otherwise) to see how functional and technical problems were solved. Identify what other products seem to do well and what are their shortcomings.
  5. Compile high-level features list and/or user stories based on needs analysis.
  6. Create wireframes or prototype to flesh out project idea
  7. Engage experts from project community--technical, functional, UX, etc.--to weigh in on approach, surface dependencies, etc. FARM will provide a list of these individuals and groups.
  8. Gauge interest of others in community and identify potential project collaborators and/or investors. Channels include:
    1. Email lists
    2. Votes and other data from JIRA, Github and Idea Forum (UserVoice)
    3. Conference sessions
    4. Webinars
    5. Direct outreach to individuals
    6. Other methods, TBD: e.g. uservoice
  9. Announce project to community and seek partners through conferences (in-person and virtual), email lists, Apereo newsletter, the Apereo FARM website and other venues.
  10. Determine funding model(s). The FARM Group can help with the details.
  11. Assemble a core project team. Below are skillsets you may want to include, based on the needs of the project:
    1. Project/Product Management
    2. Business Analysis / Requirements Gathering
    3. User Research (UX testing, etc.) 
    4. UI/UX Design
    5. Software Development
    6. Quality Assurance
    7. Communications & Training
  12. Conduct usability testing on wireframes or prototypes. Refine designs based on results.
  13. Build. Ensuring alignment with technical standards, i.e., accessibility, internationalization.
  14. Iterate through design, build, test cycle. (“Test” includes QA and UX testing)

Additional General Suggestions:

  • Create touch points with FARM Group and technical and usability experts throughout the process.
  • Work in an agile fashion, where pieces of functionality can be demonstrated and tested throughout the development of the product.
  • Consider breaking up funding into design phase, development phase, etc.
  • Leave room for “small” contributors: schools that can give some money (but not cover the cost of the entire project), or that could do one small part of the development work.
  • Build connections to relevant broader communities of interest within Apereo. T&L, i8n, Accessibility, etc. where possible.