At Open Collective we like to be as open and transparent about our development process as we are with our finances, but we haven't communicated that process as well as we could. We're changing that today.

This is the first of a series of posts where we will describe how we work, what our priorities are and, what we're going to be focussing on. We'll post updates every six weeks or so, so that you can track our progress toward our goals and get involved testing new features and providing feedback.

Later this year we will publish a roadmap that may replace parts of these posts, but we'll continue to provide updates here on top of GitHub Issues and Pull Requests.

How we work

Open Collective works in six-week sprints.

Like many technology companies Open Collective works in sprints: short, focussed blocks of time in which we decide what we can deliver within a six-week window.

We prioritize our work according to our strategic priorities alongside work that we simply have to do (which we call Fundamentals), work that we need to do to better understand a problem (Scoping) and work that is designed to address small but impactful niggles and updates (Papercuts).

Strategic Priorities & Progress

In January we announced our strategic priorities for 2021, which focus on deepening our core strengths:

  • Building up our own non-profit Fiscal Hosts and scaling up adoption by external Fiscal Hosts
  • Facilitating more contributions to Collectives
  • Facilitating disbursement of funds.

Generally we felt that, in the first part of 2021 the team had tackled projects that would support building our own hosts, and hosts that we did not operate and, that with the recent launch of Virtual Cards that we had made a good start on disbursement of funds. As a result we decided to prioritise projects that focussed on facilitating contributions to Collectives.

Priorities for Mid-May to July

Accepting Crypto Contributions

Open Collective supports contributions in all fiat currencies through our payment providers Stripe and Paypal, but we have been conservative with our support for cryptocurrencies.

A lot is happening in the cryptocurrency market at the moment and we understand that crypto' can be a polarising subject. So we wanted to make our rationale clear: Open Collective exists to provide communities with a way to access the financial system and we believe that cryptocurrencies are a part of that financial system.

That said, we are concerned about both the impact of some cryptocurrencies on the climate and the risk of using cryptocurrencies as a store of value. For now we will not add support for holding a balance in cryptocurrencies, nor will we add support for paying expenses and invoices using cryptocurrencies. Instead we will immediately settle contributions made to Collectives in the fiat currency of the Collective.

Goal: implement a checkout in BTC or ETH for all collectives on OSC, preferably settling immediately into the host currency.

Adding Digital Wallet Support

In a similar vein we must continue to lower the bar when it comes to users making contributions using the technologies they choose. Open Collective already supports payments using PayPal (including recurring contributions) alongside all major credit and debit cards through Stripe and, we continue to manually support bank transfers. But we can do more.

With providers like Google, Apple, Alibaba and Amazon all offering established digital wallet services that we know our users prefer when online it is time we started supporting them.

So this sprint we will prototype adding Digital Wallets (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, AliPay, Amazon Pay etc) through Stripe's Digital Wallet support, starting with AliPay. This will be a simple prototype that enables us to de-risk future development and provide a format for us to roll out other wallet providers.

Goal: Prototype AliPay payment in contribution flow using Stripe’s Digital Wallet support.

Building up our own non-profit Fiscal Hosts and scaling up adoption by third party Fiscal Hosts

Having spoken at length about our biggest priorities we will cover the remainder of our work for the sprint briefly:

Redesigning onboarding for Hosts and Collectives
Last sprint we decided we needed to separate the onboarding flows for Hosts and Collectives in order to remove any confusion and unnecessary cognitive load on users who are already trying to make some pretty big decisions as they begin using Open Collective.

Goal: Production ready design for separate host onboarding flow and revised collective flow.

Design reports section for admin dashboard
This sprint we will be combining elements of the host settings and dashboard to provide a single point of focus for overall host ops. Meanwhile we will refresh the reports section to provide data for hosts to get a point-in-time overview of how they’re doing, and to pull information from Open Collective for accounting, tax and legal assistance.

Goal: Production ready design for ‘report’ section for host dashboard.

Add structured Bank Account Information for non (Transfer)Wise users
This sprint will be making it less likely for users to submit incorrect information for payouts by adding structured bank account information to payout forms.

Goal: Implement strucutred banking information to payout process.

Facilitating disbursement of funds

Virtual Cards
We launched virtual cards last spriont and we will continue to push virtual cards to our most active collectives, collect feedback and scope an interaction for next sprint.

Goal: monitor for issues, gauge interest and gather feedback for next iteration.

Fundamentals

The following projects are things we consider to be non-negotiable, that is if we did not progress toward these goals we would be materially affected in our ability to continue to work toward our strategic priorities:

Supporting Wise One Time Password Requirement
Goal: Add ‘mark for payment’ batch payment with OTP workflow.

Ledger Refactoring
Goals:  Be ready for Platform Tip invoicing on June 1st. and be ready for Host Fee Share invoicing on July 1st.

Product Communication & Feedback Improvements
Goal: Implement the ability to push a changelog update alongside the ‘what’s new’ modal.

Product Metrics Improvements
Goal: Level up the team on how to use metabase, what data we have available and answer the questions highlighted in the issue.

Scoping

These projects do not have a strong enough sense of the need, vision, benefit or scope to deliver but we will invest the time this sprint in developing them further:

Papercuts

These projects are small changes that will make a meaningful impact on our user's experience that we will prioritise toward the end of the sprint:

Onwards!

-- The Open Collective Team