In the Open
Recently we've been working with JotSpot on building an application in the open. We had dual goals of both creating another tool for the Xircles Community Platform and to build some enthusiasm in the JotSpot developer community. Being a completely new platform (though, based on established Wiki principles), JotSpot has a typical chicken/egg problem. Developers don't necessarily want to be the first to jump into something new. By developing an application in the open, we hoped to allow potential developers to live vicariously through us.
What We Built
JotSpot itself is a pretty agile, allowing folks to quickly develop one-off applications that they might've typically built in Excel or other lightweight "platforms". In tandem with this, we figured an a project-management application in the mode of agile processes would be only fitting. Plus, it'd benefit Xircles.
So, we built AgilePlanner a useful tool for developers. These same developers can pretty easily change and extend AgilePlanner to suit their own needs. And in the spirit of opensource, everyone will benefit.
While developer AgilePlanner, we blogged about our activities, particularly asking questions and demonstrating that we indeed did not know it all. This drew many great responses from the community of spectators and agile method experts. We learned more about agile methods, and they learned about working with Jot.
We've currently got a few people who are submitting proposals to Google's Summer of Code to continue development on AgilePlanner. OpenXource wins by getting a better tool for Xircles. JotSpot wins by getting more developers exposed to their platform. And Google wins by gaining massive goodwill from the opensource community and creating potential future superstar employees. All in all, creating AgilePlanner as an opensource project, in the open, has had no downside, and many significant advantages. It just goes to show that the intellectual property of coding does not necessarily have the most value.