Flow/Community engagement/Sandbox release plan

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This is a (very, very compressed) plan for the "sandbox" release of Flow.

Pre-release work[edit]

The first step before our release is heavy testing - not by the community, but by staff. We're going to beat on Flow as much as we are able, submitting bugs where we can, and discuss our general impressions afterwards to get a sense for whether or not Flow is ready to actively invite people to play around with. If it is, we move on to step 2 - if it's not, we add in another sprint of bugfixing, rinse, wax and repeat. Staffer impressions are a one-way test, in the sense that if we can find (on our test instance) bugs that are blockers, we shouldn't deploy, but if we can't find any bugs, that doesn't necessarily indicate a bug-free deployment on production ;p. We scheduled the first hammering session (hammer time!) to happen asynchronously during the week of 4 November, and discussed it in the Flow retrospective meeting on 8 November. We decided there were enough front-end bugs with existing features to justify holding off on a release until they were fixed, and are currently working on those fixes. We'll go through the same process again on 22 November.

Release[edit]

Assuming that there aren't any blocking bugs, we will deploy a stable version of Flow to the ee-flow labs instance. Users who have participated in the Flow-related discussions will be invited to play around with the software, hold conversations on the labs instance, and report bugs. They'll be joined by newsletter recipients, participants in the various wikiprojects that have volunteered to trial Flow, and anyone else who is interested.

Feedback will be split into two categories: bug reports and issues, and a set of general discussions about whether Flow should be deployed to participating wikiprojects. These will happen on separate pages, both on the Flow instance, to ensure we're running the software through its paces and to see how it holds up with long, complex discussions – there'll be a backup page on enwiki for bug reports just in case the report is "I can't post to Flow" ;p.

Flow will be live on:

  • Talk:Sandbox to try out the software;
  • Talk:Flow to provide feedback;
  • Talk:Flow bugs to report bugs;
  • all user talk pages on ee-flow for anyone who creates an account to play with

Post-release review[edit]

Assuming that nothing explodes, we'll regroup after the sandboxed release and see where we stand. The three questions are:

  1. Are we (as a team) comfortable deploying Flow to a production wiki?
  2. If so, are the participating Wikiprojects?
    If not, what changes do they need?

In a utopian universe, everything will go well and we'll start discussing a release to the participating wikiprojects on enwiki around the beginning of December. In a more realistic universe, we'll have a new set of things to work on based on community feedback, make them, and solicit feedback again until people are comfortable trialling the software.

Question #2 will be answered by way of a straw poll at every wikiproject, open to wikiproject members/talkpage participants who have tested the Flow software on the sandbox. Participants will be asked to state whether they would support or oppose a deployment with the software in its current state and, if oppose, what changes would be necessary for the software to be workable for them.

Wikiproject release[edit]