How we’re building Zen in 2018

Hey there.  

It’s been 3 months since I joined CoderDojo and I guess it’s time to introduce myself properly. My name is Conor and I’m the new Product Manager here at the CoderDojo Foundation.

First of all I want to say, in the few months I’ve been here I’ve been stunned at the huge ambition and enthusiasm of it all. We’re a community with a clear of focus of giving as many kids as possible the opportunity to build and learn about things they never thought possible. And I hope as the first Product Manager here I can help our web team focus on that goal.

Talking about the CoderDojo web team, our main way of focusing on that goal is by building out our community platform Zen. A successful product is built with 3 key ingredients, a strong vision of what it can become, a strong connection with the users of the product, and lots of quick iteration. I’ll be working on all 3 of those ingredients in the new year and talking with many of you in the community across this year.

But first we need a long term goal. We decided in the web team that our central reason for building Zen is to “help the community be more sustainable”.

That could mean everything from making it easier to use so Dojos get set up faster, to helping larger Dojos keep in touch with all their attendees better, to delivering new content in a more timely fashion, all the way to building community analysis tools for our community team to help you as much as possible. As this community continues to grow exponentially there are huge opportunities and keeping our goal in mind will help us to decide what is most important to do month to month.

So, as an start, I want to quickly show you what we’ll be focused on for the first 3 months of 2018. If there is a theme to the first quarter of 2018 it would be building some Coolest Projects tools and cleaning up Zen with some smaller tasks so we’re working towards true and achievable goals for the rest of the year.

  • Stability and technical improvements so we can keep developing this platform for the whole community
  • As many “quick win” usability tweaks as we can make to Zen
  • Build out the Eventbrite plugin to get more events on our site and contact those using Eventbrite who haven’t hooked up their events yet.
  • Talk to dozens of Dojos about what they need in the new year and how we can help them.
  • Build some tools for our team for the Coolest Projects event coming up in Dublin

I hope to continue to communicate regularly with the community about what’s happening here on the web team. We’re also not being too specific about a long roadmap as we want to be agile and react to the needs of the community every single month. If you ever want to chat about your experiences or just have some feedback contact me at [email protected], on our forums or on our global slack channel.

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