Just before christmas a colleague within our social care commissioning team approached me and asked about how we could help provide an online network to enable providers of health and social care services to raise issues for discussion between one another and with County Council and NHS Devon.
Initially I suggested he explore some free to use tools on the web to help him refine his requirements and better understand the types of features he feels would be of value. I think most people assume I’ll simply throw a tool at them…but I’m keen to ensure that people focus on the problems they are trying to solve and how these can be solved.
About 3-4 weeks ago we had a catch up call on the phone where we went through the features and how he would like the network to operate. Now as a stroke of luck perhaps, the requirements he listed exactly matched the forum i happened to be using that day which was the UKGovCamp buddypress site.
So I suggested we create a buddy press test site on my teams hosting and we explore it further with some of his other colleagues the following week.
So that is what we did, we sat down and went through the out of the box features and they loved it…we refined some of the features and created some additional privacy which took about 2-3 hours - we didn’t even create any visual design aspects, as we said we could apply these at any time once they had them created. We then handed over a fully functioning online network platform last week and they launched it last Friday!
This rapid launch surprised me a bit but it wasn’t a problem…although on Monday this week we made some additional changes based on some very early feedback from users on Friday evening and Monday morning, but that didn’t take very long at all.
So far this week it has had a flurry of people signing up which has been great and we have had lots of great feedback from people.
We still need to work through some of the community management challenges and processes and help them facilitate the community and allow it to grow in a sustainable way…but we’d rather do that live then wait until we felt we were capable of doing this before launching.
Thanks go to Matt Down in the team who pulled all of this together in pretty much no time.