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Active Product Development

October 21, 2008

It's all about the Core

Posted by JeremyGThomas Oct 21, 2008

On the Product Development side here at Active we haven't done a great job of communicating with our audience.  We're hoping to change that now. 

 

I'm a Development Manager with the Participants side of the Active Media Properties (AMP), the team responsible for www.active.com, results.active.com and community.active.com (we also have a few services/widgets we develop and support behind the scenes).  We are distributed, with some people working from China, others in Michigan and even others in LA.  But the bulk of us work out of the San Diego office

 

I worked for a long while as a Management Consultant implementing waterfall-based projects with various Fortune 1000 companies.  Consulting companies love waterfall.  Changes in scope = more dollars in the pocket.  But I've always been troubled by the inefficiencies that are inherent to waterfall and to the disconnectedness it brings to the parties involved in delivering a project.  So I was keen to implement Agile software development with my team here.  Agile is hard with remote resources I quickly discovered.  But I digress. 

 

But then came our "Directory Initiative".  In simple terms, we use the word "Directory" to describe search.active.com and the mechanism through which we submit information to it.  Active is a network (my company is actually called "The Active Network"), and we are a conglomerate having acquired multiple companies throughout the years.  Each of these companies have interesting artifacts (or "nouns"), such as classes, campgrounds, marathons, training plans etc., and search.active.com aggregates these making them discoverable to our consumers.

 

Directory is the core of what we do here within AMP.  And we've recently launched a major program, the "Directory Initiative", to enhance and harden those features on our properties that are related to it.  To do this we've split the team into smaller teams and have aligned each with a Product Manager.  Although we've only just begun, organizing our resources in this way has already paid off (at least with internal demos).  So, while we may not be fully Agile, the hybrid model we've adopted is promising. 

 

More to come.

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