Applying the principle of “release early, release often” to our chapter

You may have noticed we’ve been making a lot of changes at AIGA Raleigh recently: New website, new blog, new newsletters, new branding. And we’re far from finished.

We’ve heard a lot of comments about the new tools, and we appreciate all of them. Your participation and feedback are critical to improving the chapter.

We also hope you’ve seen a change in how we work. You may be seeing drafts sooner and even projects pushed live that may be in a pre-final state. That’s because we feel showing progress and action faster is critical, and even more than that–we need your feedback, and especially your help, to get them done.

Many principles from the open source software development community inspire our philosophy on how the chapter should operate. One of those principles is rapid prototyping, also known as “release early, release often.” Which means it’s better to keep actively producing work so people can experience it, react to it, find bugs, and improve it–and not wait until a project feels perfect to share it.

Too often the tendency is not to release a project until it’s perfect. But we also know perfect often comes too late, and sometimes not at all. We can’t fully judge how effective a solution is until everyone has had the chance to experience it. So we want to give you that chance early and often.

Letting you react to the tools early speeds up the development process, helps us understand which tools will be most useful to you, and makes progress more visible.

Also, waiting to share a project until it’s perfect doesn’t give the community a  chance to jump in and participate. As AIGA Raleigh president Matthew Muñoz said, “Imperfection promotes participation.” We know you get more value out of AIGA Raleigh when you participate, so we want to give you that chance early and often, too.

There’s another reason why we want to push these tools live quickly: Every person working on them is a volunteer. They’re giving their personal time to contribute to the chapter, and it’s important for everyone to see that work so we can celebrate it. Milestones make good motivators.

So we want your help to make these tools better. We’re actively working on them, but we can’t do it without you. If you have time and expertise to share, we hope you will.

The best place to start is our chapter wiki to learn more about our activities and how to get involved:

You can also visit the wiki for more information about  the website project and our next steps

And please send us your questions or comments:

Image credits: Thank you to for designing the image that accompanies this post.

By Jonathan Opp
Published December 14, 2010