Visit the forum instructions to learn how to post to the forum, enable email notifications, subscribe to a category to receive emails when there are new discussions (like a mailing list), bookmark discussions and to see other tips to get the most out of our forum!
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    Welcome to the new OSE Project Management forum.

    Since several people have stepped up to assume project manager
    responsibility for OSE projects, I believe there is a need
    for a discussion group, forum, or email list for OSE PMs.  Here, we can discuss:

    • Cross-project synergies and collaboration
    • Volunteer management and recruitment
    • Resource needs and allocation
    • GVCS coordination
    • Documentation standards
    • Etc.
    Contributions to this forum is restricted to members with a project manager role, though it is visible to the entire OSE community.  This allows PMs to focus discussion and they preserve transparency.

    - Mark Norton

  • 9 Comments sorted by
  • Hello Everyone, 

    From the point of view of anyone who would consider giving OSE money, it is to our advantage to publicly state goals and, very, publicly achieve those goals. The ability to plan and follow through are very appealing to investors, so I plan on advocating for something reflecting our goals on the website. In the meantime, a living document of the collaborative process, such as this forum, flesh out the details of 'how we are got there (successful completion of the April 1st targets) - and that can be turned into a story we tell our potential financial partners.

    Imagine telling Bill Gates that we set out a goal on January 1st of having 17 beta release machines by April 1st and then actually hit that target. I think its very appealing to have a track record like that.

    So, using the forum is a good approach, and I will return to the subject of publicly posting our goals (I'm thinking a GVCS Rollout Tab on the main website or something highly visible) after mid-January.

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    There are two sides to this coin, Aaron.  I certainly agree with "it is to our advantage to publicly state goals and, very, publicly achieve those goals".  The slip side is that it is NOT to our advance to miss stated goals.  Unfortunately, OSE has a track record of missing it's stated goals.  Opinions of what can realistically be achieved in a given period of time (like, say, 2012), vary widely.  This has been discussed in some depth in other OSE forum topics.

    Clearly, the big goal is the GVCS-50 in beta by year end 2012.  Marcin has stated quite publicly (even as part of the Kickstarter campaign) that we will meet this goal on one year.  Many others, including myself, think that will be difficult, but we have relatively little input into what Marcin chooses to declare as our shared goal. For example, would it be better to claim 30 machines and hit 40 or claim 50 and hit 40?  Also, there doesn't seem to be much room for partial success.  For example, in the case of the Steam Engine, I believe that we need to prototype and test several kinds of valve mechanisms.  If we worked out a good, reliable valve in 2012, we'd be 80% of the way towards a working engine.

    Currently, we have ten project leaders.  We need another 40 ASAP.  Some of the projects slated for development in 2012 will take ALL YEAR to develop and built.  An aluminum extractor is not going to be designed and built in a month, IMO.  Fabrication of a decent sized solar concentrator will take considerable time.  Design of an open source car or truck will take all year unless we co-opt OSCar or some similar project.

    Unfortunately, it's a bit late.  The goals have been set and already announced VERY publicly.  Therefore we'll just have to do our best to help reach them.

    - Mark

  • Woo Hoo!
    I can FINALLY write to this forum.
    It's taken a while to be able to log in, then more E-Mails to gain write access, but here it is.

    - I hope the others don't have this much trouble, as it would really thwart collaboration.
  • Yep, you're not the first to have problems - see JackMcCornack: Forum membership approval problems.

    I'm sorry for that; I'll try to improve things.

    It looks like the most confusing part of the process is the fact that once a new user confirms his/her email address, there's no indication that the new user will go to a list of pending forum application requests and that an admin must then approve it.

  • I have updated the Vanilla tips page - let me know if it looks better or if there are any omissions.
  • That looks great Elifarley!
  • @Mjn
    All your points are absolutely valid. I personally don't think that getting the GVSC-50 by end of 2012 is possible either to where the majority of the actual releases will be anything beyond an alpha release. There may be exceptions, but on the whole I can't see there being too much polish on any of these products in the time-lines stated for what is actually released.

    Now having said that, publishing unfinished alpha releases is still absolutely fine from my point of view. Just having the initial seed of a product is what I see as important as it allows others to look at it and starts their minds thinking about how it could be improved.

    I see the major barrier to progress is on the organization for collaboration side. As you have said previously there is no single point of contact for skilled and unskilled volunteers to go to quickly harness their enthusiasm and willingness to help out. The collaborative process right now consists of editing wiki pages and some disjointed forum topics. This is something I think really needs to be addressed as anyone trying to navigate and find information on the wiki can attest to.

    What's great to see is that this is actually starting to happen now. We officially have "PM"s and a group for us to talk in to discuss these things. We're starting to play with some different types of ways of organizing information (i.e. Mark with his google groups, I'll be trying out some different PLM software and talking with some people in the library sciences for knowledge management techniques, Brianna working with MakeProjects people to create a unified approach to publishing information, etc). The downside is that really all this stuff should have been addressed previously as I feel working out good systems for doing all this is in itself a year long task.

    Trying to develop another 46 tools with full documentation and creating the next generation of the existing products is going to be a nightmare of information overload without a common system in place for capturing and organizing all of it efficiently. This will lead to a massive amount of additional work in trying to unify and organize information that may or may not get done. This is the main barrier I see with the end of the 2012 date. 

    Basically I think that there needs to be a lot more investment of time and resources into the "knowledge management" of OSE as this is the foundation on which everything else essentially builds. I'm going to try and bring in some people that can help on this, but i definitely foresee some growing pains with this haha...@elifarley especially for you since you're the person that gets to set up and help test all these different systems until one is found that works well :D

    I know the publicly stated goals by Marcin are lofty, but for me, as long as we maintain forward momentum and continue the development of these products and knowledge organization systems then whether we release 50 or 5 products it's still success as for me success more long term in furthering the ideas behind the open hardware movement.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    December 2011
    I see your point about "publishing unfinished alpha releases is still absolutely fine from my point of view", Mike, though there is the question of what constitutes an alpha release.  One idea I've been toying with for the Steam Engine is rather than releasing finished plans for a steam engine (which has proven difficult) is to create a "Steam Engine Construction Kit" with plans for multiple valve types, different control linkages, engine configurations, etc.  Eventually, a few solid designs might merge from such a kit, but at least it gets us to the starting point, rather than circling it endlessly.  Other projects might take a similar approach.

    Regarding volunteer organization, perhaps we (the PM's) should create a process for handling people who express interest in participating in GVCS development.  It would include something like this:

    1.  Get them signed up - accounts, team culturing, etc.
    2.  Determine their skill sets - expertise, fabrication, CAD, documentation, etc.
    3.  Determine their interests - how do they WANT to contribute
    4.  Determine their time commitment
    5.  Make a few project recommendations
    6.  Pick one to work on (at the start)
    7.  Introduce that person to the existing team
    8.  Guide them into producing real contributions.

    Some parts of this exist already, but determination of skill, interest, and time are not working effectively, IMO.  Also, there is no one guiding them into a project.  There is no reason why the first 4 or 5 steps couldn't be automated, but attempts to do this to date have failed.  I'm aware of at least two attempts to create a skill set database that haven't worked out - for various reasons.  Regardless, we need to have someone (or a few such people) who are willing to personally guide new comers into being productive members of the OSE community.  That person(s) must be knowledgeable of OSE projects and processes, have enough patience to work with newbies, and have enough authority to make decisions on how people should be assigned.

    >  Trying to develop another 46 tools with full documentation and creating the next generation of the existing products

    It's not even clear to me that there is enough space on a DVD to hold the whole GVCS documentation set, given the preference for video.  It will truly be a nightmare trying to created a coordinated release for 50 tools/technologies.  I've seen how hard it can be to create a massive software release.  The GVCS is just as hard (and maybe worse).  My recommendation would be to avoid it completely.  Release each product separately as they are ready.  Periodically, we can bundle releases into the "GVCS Manufacturing Suite", the "GVCS Material Refinement Suite", the "GVCS Power Generation Suite", etc.

    >  as long as we maintain forward momentum and continue the development of these products and knowledge organization systems

    I agree.  Forward progress is the most important thing.

    - Mark

  • Yes that method of organizing volunteers is key. I've started doing that already for the CAD/design engineering side. I have an online table that people can edit themselves into ( and I keep a google docs spreadsheet with some additional contact information and notes that I use to create the CAD Team mailing list.

    The thing is I'm only doing it this way as a good integrated method doesn't quite exist yet. The team culturing survey is great and all, but it's seriously a lot of work and is likely turning a fair number of people away from offering their expertise. What each project and group needs is a focused list of people that can be edited and modified simply and easily.

    I know Elifarley and I had talked about a while back as an option which would work but having it integrated into the site would be quite useful as well. I'm going to start a separate IT discussion about some of this and the website architecture.

    >  Release each product separately as they are ready.  Periodically, we can bundle releases into the "GVCS Manufacturing Suite", the "GVCS Material Refinement Suite", the "GVCS Power Generation Suite", etc.

    I definitely agree with this. The Christmas Gift to the World is a prime example of why releases should be done separately as they are ready vs. rushing to meet some deadline that makes a nice headline with inadequate resources, time and completed work.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Login with Facebook Sign In with Google Sign In with OpenID Sign In with Twitter

In this Discussion