For testing clubs this first quarter, we followed this process:
- Invite testers. We talked to allies about the opportunity and invited them to join the testing process. Each tester was given the dedicated support of a staff member to ensure they had direct and regular contact with the project.
- Kickoff call with testers. We initiated testing with a community call, which we continued to host fortnightly as an important check-in and reflection point. We used Vidyo and etherpad for the calls.
- 1:1 Interviews. To better understand our allies needs, we conducted 40+ interviews with them. We collated and analysized the data, which greatly informed our efforts.
- Affiliate comparison. In parallel, we also reviewed 10+ other organizations who have a club model or other form of local group organizing. This review gave us best practices to learn from.
- Curriculum curation. The testing process was two-part: curriculum curating and curriculum testing. To curate, we developed a curriculum arc (Reading the Web, Writing the Web, and Participating on the Web) and then sought existing activities to fill that out. Where there were gaps, we created or remixed new activities. This work was done on Github to great effect.
- Curriculum testing. Every two weeks, our testers were invited to try out the latest curriculum section. We shared reflections and questions in Discourse and used our fortnightly check-in call to discuss our experience and feedback on the sections.
- Assessment is hard. We know how important it is for benchmarks. We want to know how effective the curriculum is. We created brief questionnaires in Google Docs and made them part of the testing process. But the responses were low. This continues to be a challenge. How can we do friction-free assessment?
- Partner cultivation. As the testing was going on, we also drafted a partner engagement plan. What organizations would be ideal partners for clubs? What are we offering them and how to we want to engage them? Next quarter we will put this plan into action with a number of wonderful organizations.
- Website development. Furthermore, we discussed with testers their needs for an online platform to showcase and connect this initiative. The first version of this new website will go live in April.
- Reflect early, reflect often. Throughout this quarter, we had conversations with testers, colleagues and other partners about this process. We constantly adjusted and improved. This is an essential practice. Going forward, I anticipate continual reflection and iteration as we develop clubs collaboratively and in the open. It was very beneficial meeting the team in person for several days of planning. I hope we can do that again, expanding to regional coordinators and testers, next quarter.
- Get out of the way. Once the framework is set up and a team is in place to support testing, it’s important to get out of the way! Smart people will innovate and remix the experience. Make sure there are ways to encourage and capture that. But allow beautiful and unexpected things to emerge, like Project Mile.
If you participated in this round of testing, or have related experiences, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the process!