If you manage to keep track of most breaking news in the tech markets, you can surf on top of your product development operations.
Of course, this is easier said than done. In a profile for Moodlerooms’ E-Learning Magazine, Moodlerooms Director of Product Development Kris Stokking recounts his position’s challenges.
Moodlerooms is an LMS (Learning Management System) on top of Moodle, an Open Source LMS. Part of the success of Moodle is the possibility to incorporate contributions from developers all over the world. While this has brought adaptability and functionality to the platform, it gives some special challenge to roles like Stokking’s. Moodlerooms wanted to deliver quality and reliability, without taking too much freedom away from the user.
How did he manage to accomplish this? There were 3 crucial steps.
Plugin development as empowerment. Despite the rich library of plugins available in Moodle, not all the solutions have been created. Stokking created a workflow that helps in-house Moodlerooms developers to create the plugins to respond to a customer solutions. He then realized teachers and staff of client organizations could use this workflow to learn and develop their own plugins. He later added a code review step, conducted again by Moodlerooms staff. If the plugin is cleared, it becomes available to use for the whole community.
Transparency in practice. The code review process was the beginning of what now is a set of Moodlerooms’ Code Review Guidelines. With the help of Lead Developer Mark Nielsen, the guidelines were not only a benchmark for code quality for the team. It allowed the development of a plugin that automates most of the testing of the other plugins.
Touch the world’s base. Moodlerooms’ international presence around the world adds another complexity layer to an already sophisticated process of collaboration. To make sure everyone is on the loop, the conducts a “daily scrum”, promote use of instant messaging, and keeps a special team of engineers on call, 24/7.
As a result, Moodlerooms has received a lot of favorability from their customers, and the Moodle community as well. More organizations turning to Moodle or Moodlerooms is a benefit for both, which for Stokking “is a beauty”.