Smile! (for multiple reasons)

It always helps to smile in a picture… nevermore so than now, as in the near future we’re going to be using them across the site, so that wherever you appear, in a team, posting a message etc. people can instantly see its you. Thus far we’ve only used them in the directory as we’ve been concentrating on features, but with a lot of these in place ( or soon to be ) we’ve also been sprucing up the interface generally.

So, “When will I see images across Clubhouse?” and “What else have you been working on?” I hear you ask. The short answers are “soon” and “a lot”. Expecting a little more detail? Well this will bring a smile to your face, the answer is and ( with no trace of irony ) “it’ll be here soon”.

Up until now our priority has been features and we’ve operated very much on a “bleeding edge rolling release” policy, agile rapid development has meant features have been released literally as they were completed ( or even before ) with little QA or documentation. We were more than happy to operate like this as there is little point in spending months/years in development to release a polished product which doesn’t fit the bill or simply doesn’t work. Equally so called “early adopters” to new services are happy to accept a bumpy ride as they can see the potential and are keen to help ( I’d like to take the this opportunity to thank all of our early adopters who have reported bugs, suggested ideas, and offered their support and advice, your help has been invaluable). This policy has allowed us to progress much faster by relying on intuitive design and curious users rather than documenting everything. Within this environment, particularly in the first year during which we were really getting to grips with the exact nature of the problems and how best to approach them, it would of been fruitless to try and set out a detailed roadmap. Features were tested in production and therefore often documented long after they’re initially released, once the final implementation was decided on.

Its not the only way to develop software as there is “bleeding edge” and then “BLEEDING EDGE” but while its been a bit bumpy in places hopefully you’ll agree we’ve managed a nice balance between progress/stability and ended up with a fairly stable, battle hardened service. Unfortunately there are some drawbacks, sometimes the project isn’t always as balanced as it could be with some areas inevitably getting more time than others. I think this is certaintly the case with Clubhouse and for this reason, amongst others, the time has come to change our approach.

We have now reached the stage where early adopters are a shrinking percentage of our users, while features are still a priority, ultimately, stability is now the sought after commodity. This, more than anything, naturally signals the end of “rolling release” policy. Consequently we have been gradually shifting our policy, so from now on Clubhouse will be a “versioned release”. This means features will spend much longer in testing and QA, be documented upon release and ultimately be much more stable while taking a little longer to reach the outside world. You’ll start to notice this change in the new year.

Happy holidays!

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