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A Web SIG Action Plan

Here we go again in 2000

Most of the action plan used in 1997 is still in use. FrontPage2000 is the new tool of choice with the web site being built on an NT4.0 server upgraded with service pack6a.
The Web sig headed by Jerry Sass, is now located at RBK Enterprises, LTD with the use of 6 PC's to train the WEB volunteers. 

How it was Pull Off in 1997

A first and very critical step in any project is to plan well. This involves defining the goals of the group, how new members will be gathered, how jobs will be delegated, how work will be coordinated and how volunteers will be rewarded.

Here is an overview of what we plan to do and some status information on how far we’ve gotten as of April.

  1. Define the Group’s Goals
  2. Gather the Support of the CCS
  3. Design the Development Process
  4. Select Hardware & Software Tools
  5. Install and Configure the System
  6. Gather Volunteers
  7. Define the Roles & Responsibilities
  8. Train Volunteers
  9. Set Up Communication Channels
  10. Do the Work!

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Step 1: Define the Group’s Goals

Our group wanted to help bring the CCS and its members into the age of the Internet. But we wanted to do more than just meet and talk about it—we wanted to get members actually involved in doing it!

Step 2: Gain the Support of CCS Board

Starting early last fall, we began meeting with the CCS Board of Directors to share our ideas and seek their support.

In February, after much discussion, the Board of Directors decided to support the idea of moving the functionality of the BBS to the Internet.

And, in early March, they suggested the formation of a new SIG to help make it happen.

Step 3: Design the Development Process

It seemed obvious from the start that we needed a process whereby a large group of people could develop a cohesive piece of software like a Web site together over a long period of time without occupying the same place or time. Prior to the Internet, this would not have been possible, but with it, it now is.

Early on, we decided to allow the group to work wherever they liked, whenever they liked and to use the Internet to submit their work at regular intervals. This would require a Web site design and development tool that worked over the Net and allowed many people to work simultaneously. Such tools exist today, we merely had to select the best one to use.

Step 4. Select Hardware & Software Tools

Many new tools and platforms were available, but we needed one that was robust enough to accommodate a project our size and inexpensive enough to be purchased by our members.

We also wanted to use tools that would be widely accepted so that the skills our volunteers developed on the CCS Web site would be attractive to a wide base of employers.

Finally, we wanted to use a tool and a platform that was available and familiar to our members, many of whom have Windows 95 PCs and use Microsoft products, such as Word.

After all the criteria were evaluated, the clear choice was FrontPage97. We decided to go with it, even though it does not produce the cleanest, most efficient code.

Step 5. Install and Configure the System

After the tools were chosen, we needed to turn our attention to configuring a CCS machine with these new tools and connecting it up to the Internet. In March, we loaded our first test version of our new Web site on our server. This is where we will be doing our development work. It will also eventually host the production (live) version of our new Web site as soon as it is ready for release.

Step 6. Gather Volunteers (in progress)

Since March, we have been assembling a team of CCS volunteers which currently numbers over 30 people and is still growing. We held our first organizational meeting last month over beer and pizza. We selected a centrally located meeting site at McDonald’s Headquarters in Oak Brook, IL (thanks to Jerry Sass’s efforts) to encourage members from all over Chicagoland to attend.

We will be meeting the first Saturday of each month starting at 10:00 am. See details at end of article.

Step 7. Define the Roles & Responsibilities (in progress)

Whenever a group tries to work together, some coordination is necessary. In our case, we needed to allow members to volunteer for specific Web pages to build and maintain.

To accomplish this, we drafted a hierarchical representation of the Web site and began taking volunteers for each page. In addition, we are looking for volunteers for specialized roles that span multiple pages or require unusual skills.

Although we have a made good start, a Web site is something that should grow and change over time. We know we will continually need to define new roles as new members volunteer to create and maintain new pages, features, and functionality.

If you have ideas about what you’d like to see in the CCS Web Site, please send in your comments. See details at end of article.

Step 8. Train Volunteers (in progress)

To help Web Site volunteers get on board quickly, we arranged for a special one-day seminar on FrontPage97, the Web site development tool selected for the project.

The class was free of charge to all CCS Web Site SIG members who will be working on the Web site. This represented a savings of $50 over the regular price of the class.

It was scheduled for Saturday, April 5, 1997 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at McDonald’s in Oak Brook, IL. Not surprisingly, the class filled up quickly.

Step 9. Set Up Communication Channels

In addition to normal communication channels, we plan to use the Internet to talk with each other (did you expect anything else?)

Since everyone will have an Internet account to work on the Web Site, we plan to use email extensively to coordinate our activities. Email is fast, cheap, and easy to use and can be read at the convenience of the viewer.

We also have set aside an area on the new Web site called the "Developers’ Corner" which we plan to use to explain the development process, the schedule, the players, the roles, etc.

We plan to create and disseminate a step-by-step development guide which explains the process involved in publishing the CCS Web Site. This will be available 24 hours a day on the Web site (of course!)

As one of the first steps in the above, we have developed a Web page that allows our volunteers to look up each other’s email addresses from the CCS database!

We also plan to publish name of the Webmaster responsible for each page in our Web site right on the page, with an email link so that viewers can send comments, updates, and suggestions directly to the person doing the work.

Step 10. Do the Work! (in progress)

With a good start at the planning and preparation behind us, we have now started to do the work. Sections in the new site are beginning to come together and over time, with the help of our volunteers, the CCS Web site will grow.

 

 

The Chicago Computer Society
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Page Updated
November 09, 2013

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