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CommunesPlone: a fast growing project "in production"

by xavier last modified 2009-06-30 10:52

CommunesPlone, a PloneGov SubCommunity, has released its first finished applications, such as a meeting management tool, PloneMeeting, and a module, Teleservices that allows citizens to file documents and submit requests online. By releasing these applications, the CommunesPlone collaborative has quickly attracted more municipalities to the group, which recently reached its 100 local government.

Based on a case study by the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR), an initiative of the European Commission's IDABC project. The content has been updated to reflect the project evolution.

plonemeeting CommunesPlone is an active PloneGov Subcommunity. In 2007, the project has released its first finished applications, such as a meeting management, PloneMeeting, and a module, Teleservice, that allows citizens to file documents and submit requests online. The fact that CommunesPlone is "in production" has quickly attracted more municipalities to the group: "we've had ten new members, and the total the total number of towns and cities taking part to the project has quickly grown to 100", says Joël Lambillotte, CommunesPlone leader and IT manager of the town of Sambreville. He emphasises that municipalities join the group of their own accord: "They see what we're doing, and they see that they could benefit from joining CommunesPlone and sharing development effort". The Walloon Regional Government and the French-speaking parliament in Brussels are both using  PloneMeeting, the meeting management application.

 

Cooperative development style

Developing in Plone means dealing with individuals around the globe, rather than with a traditional organisation. "Municipal administrations aren't very good at that, you know", he says. "We hired BubbleNet, a local SME, to coach us on this way of collaboration for a year."

Much of the software development within PloneGov happens in "Sprints", a popular concept in the Plone community. Programmers get together for a few days, and focus on building a particular subsystem.

This different way of working is one of CommunesPlone challenges. "It takes about a year for a developer to learn how to work within the community", Lambillotte says. There are currently five developers working full-time on the project. Three of them are employed in municipalities, one at the Union of Walloon Municipalities, and one at the administration of the Walloon Region. Another group of about ten developers contribute from time to time.

Source

http://www.zeapartners.org/articles/osor003