From 2019, a public-common governance of the code has been defined, thanks to the agreement signed between the City Council, the Decidim Association and the Localret Consortium. Representatives of these three entities become part of the Product team, and are responsible for overseeing the code.
The Product team is in charge of defining the software roadmap and responding to proposals for new functionalities made by the community in Metadecidim. It also ensures the coherence and technical sustainability of the software. The roadmap is done collaboratively in different ways:
Through Metadecidim and the community (metaproposals)
Through contracts with the association (ex: Vocdoni and the Voting module)
Through the development contracts of the Barcelona City Council
Moreover, currently the Association is in charge of:
- Review and merge of contributions from the Community and the development contracts of the Barcelona City Council
- New issues triage and code for fixing bug reports * Improvements of the documentation site
- Coordination with the teams in charge of new developments
- Coordination of the maintainer team
After several years we are aware of the limitations of the current development model, which is mediated by public procurement by the City Council. In particular, these limitations are:
Dependence on Barcelona City Council means that the definition of the roadmap is partly defined by the city council.
The public procurement laws mean that we cannot make the roadmap public and that the development contracts are very rigid, a situation that has led us to leave unfinished developments or finish them below our quality standards.
The limited resources of the Association mean that we cannot have a stable team that is able to carry out the functions assigned to the Association.
The product team has a 12-24 month high-level roadmap that defines high-level issues and features to be addressed in this timeframe.
The implementation of the roadmap is done through Barcelona City Council's public contracts. Therefore, the City Council participates in the definition of some of these features. So, the roadmap is developed between the product team and Barcelona City Council. When the roadmap is being drawn up, all Metadecidim's proposals are reviewed to see which ones could be included.
Once the public contract has been awarded, the development of the new features begins under the coordination of the Product team.
The limitations of the current model show that there are some elements that could be improved in the roadmap process. The issues that have emerged in the debate are listed below:
Improve the visibility of the roadmap by publishing it on metadecidim or the official website. Taking in account the limitations of public contracts publicity. In order to make it more accessible to everyone.
Have more regular and fluid communication with the community about the status of the roadmap and ongoing developments. Either through community meetings and/or through posts on the metadecidim blog.
Rethink the process for creating and prioritising the roadmap: Redefine the roadmap creation process by establishing phases that facilitate community participation and defining objectives and metrics to measure the success of each release. Rather than creating a space in which everyone competes to include their own functionality in the release, open a space in which everyone's goal is to learn how to build a better product together, in an iterative way.
It is necessary to expand the size of the product team by adding new professionals. This expansion will enable us to work under optimal conditions and bring in fresh expertise that will contribute to the development of a high-quality product. The product team should define which roles to hire.
It is necessary to clarify the roles within the team to improve functioning and transparency.
The product team together with the Coordination Committee should initiate the necessary actions to improve all the aspects listed above, with the participation of the community.