The story of GetPaid and a "social source" process to create new opportunities with Plone

We are already accustomed to how the community contributes code, documentation, and tests to a Free Software project like Plone and in the process builds a sum greater than the parts. The direction is largely driven by the developers who are creating the code, but as the community matures, finding the path forward becomes more complex as the expectations of users and the community evolve. How do we as a community develop participative processes that are more inclusive and help us better meet the needs of our users? This talk presents the experience of "social sourcing" the development of GetPaid, and in the process, creating new opporuntities for working with Plone. GetPaid, which is a flexible commerce framework built with Zope3 technologies, has been built with a participative model that we call "social source". The social source process includes: - Jointly funding and shaping the development of the product with a group end users and beneficiaries - Emphasizing the participation of non-developers in the process (end users, UI people, documentation, testing, marketing, fundraising, etc) - Guiding development through a focus on user stories - Balancing leadership of the project with a team that includes a Plone core developer, business person, and NGO liason This approach has allowed us to: - Be very responsive to user needs for shaping current and future releases - Fund intense periods of development to advance the framework quickly - Keep a diverse group of people informed and interested in the project - Leverage support from Google, end users, and others... and in the process, create a framework for commerce that mirrors the strengths of Plone itself: useful out of the box, yet extremely customizable through built-in flexibility. This talk reveals what the process has been like - from the recongnition of the initial need to an organized, serious project. How did it get done? Why was the project a good fit for a participative model? I will also reflect on how this model of "social source" development can be useful for shaping the future of the Plone core product.