The Basis for a Social Experiment

Agile Social Software Compass
Agile Social Software Compass

Basis for my outside-in social software experiment, benefiting non-techies and the developers who write this stuff.

The Basis
In the spring of 2008, I read Outside-in Software Development: A Practical Approach to Building Successful Stakeholder-Based Products by John Sweitzer and Carl Kessler of IBM’s Software Group and having a software developer’s background myself, was truly inspired. So much so, that I reached out to Carl Kessler (one of the huge perks about being an IBM’er – we can do things like that) and asked him if he knew where I could gain some practical experience as a Product Owner with a team actually practicing outside-in agile software development. I was hooked up with a team in a matter of days and truly had a great experience.

The Social Aspect
Since then, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time following the Forward Thinkers on my sidebar to the right, as well as, a few of the books (under Pivotal Moments) they introduced me to. Pretty soon I noticed the connection between outside-in software development, the agile/scrum software development process and social software.

Without getting into the specifics of each, the one common thread shared by all was that true business value, or, success, could only be achieved when the community/tribe worked together to achieve their common goal.

The state of affairs
Now while I work for IBM, I don’t work for Lotus – the keepers of IBM’s social software, nor do I work in the brand of the VPs mentioned above. I’m not in sales, nor am I in marketing. Take a look at my brief About – I’m a business analyst in Rational. I have no sphere of influence on any of those other brands

The experiment
So what I’d like to do – with your help of course, is starting from outside of Big Blue, put together a simple scenario where we feel social software will provide true business value for all stakeholders concerned. And by Stakeholders, I mean you, me, and the community/tribe we assemble. Since I am outside the trusted firewall, have my Disclaimer in the Sidebar and am secure with our Business Conduct Guidelines, this tribe is not restricted to IBM’s software development community. Anyone from any software development community can become a stakeholder.

Defining success
Like any experiment, or, project, we need a deliverable – something that can be measured. Something that we as stakeholders can say defines success. Here’s my suggestion: We, as stakeholders, want to deploy a social network with a specific non-technical mandate, using IBM’s social software, so that we can achieve our goal while contributing to the greater outside-in social software development community.

Up Next
In the coming posts, I’ll describe the non-technical mandate I have in mind and then how we’re going to experiment with IBM’s latest social software offerings – for free, no obligations, no spam, no hardware required.

Until then, if you already have a simple, non-technical goal you’d like to achieve by implementing a social network, please let me know so we can compare notes.

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