The event at Greenwich was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet other project teams and consider the future direction of my project. It also opened my eyes to some of the other issues that other teams were facing.
One theme I noticed from a couple of projects (including my own) is the issue of trying to integrate the system we have built within an institution’s IT system. After a very interesting conversation with Scott Wilson of OSS Watch, who outlined some of the issues with IT system integration, this has led me to consider other potential business models for the project going forward.
What’s the message?
When working on a project, often the developers get lost in the idea and start thinking about what else they can add to their project. This is fine, but often what the project actually is gets lost in the message.The event was very valuable to me as I was able to see this problem by watching a few pitches (and helping a couple of projects clarify their message). My advice was “focus on the three best features of your project and sell those.” This means that you aren’t stuck reciting a paragraph each time you are explaining your project, it’s just a couple of bullet points.
This is often a very dangerous position to be in. There is always something which could be added, and the trick is to be happy to say no to many great ideas – at least in the short term. The “Dragon’s Den” was great for getting feedback on projects, but some feedback should be taken with a pinch of salt particularly when creating a minimum viable product.
I’ll be taking all these ideas on board and will hopefully be pitching my ideas at either the event at the end of September or at the event in November.