DMP services unite!

This November the DMPRoadmap team conducted a series of strategic planning meetings. Meeting in-person was highly productive and a great way to energize the team for the ambitious work we have planned for the upcoming year. Read more about the meeting and our development goals below. This blog post was originally published by Magdalena Drafiova from DMP online on 3 December, 2019.

From left to right: Brian Riley, Benjamin Faure, Marta Nicholson, Maria Praetzellis, Sarah Jones, Sam Rust and Ray Carrick.

In the middle of November we were joined for three days by our colleagues Maria Praetzellis and Brian Riley from DMPTool and Benjamin Faure from OPIDoR. On our end Sarah Jones, Sam Rust, Ray Carrick, Marta Nicholson, Diana Sisu and Magdalena Drafiova represented DMPonline. We’ve had a number of new people join the team over the past year so the meetings were a great opportunity to get to know one another and discuss where to take things next.

Over the three days we had a mix of group discussions to plan the future development roadmap (results of that later), as well as developer / project manager sessions and discussions with the wider DCC and CDL team on machine-actionable DMPs. Below we report out on the results of our sessions and the future development roadmap

Developer team meeting

The tech team had a separate team meeting to give more time to discuss changes to the codebase and development procedures.They walked through the data model and key functionality to bring new devs up to speed and discussed major pieces of infrastructure work to schedule over the coming year (e.g. upgrading to Rails v.5, making a more robust test infrastructure, etc.). They also reviewed the current development project management processes and will be revising our PR review workflow and incorporating a continuous integration approach. This will allow developers to work more atomically. A single bug fix or feature enhancement will now be handled individually instead of as a component of a larger single release. Each issue will be merged into the codebase as a single point release allowing the team to work more efficiently as well as making it easier to accept contributions from external developers.

Project management meeting
Magdalena, Maria, Sarah and Diana discussed procedures for prioritizing tickets, managing the team and conducting User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Sarah and Diana will share expertise on weekly PM meetings to bring Magdalena and Maria up to speed. We have also decided to change our sprint schedule as we will be joined by more developers. We want to do our releases more often and have less tickets on the board so we can review them all in each call. This coupled with the continuous integration approach should get fixes and features out more quickly. We have assigned a developer to each area which we want to work on, although we want to ensure that the knowledge is shared and everyone has an opportunity to work across the codebase so we don’t create dependencies.

We also discussed the need to conduct user testing, especially on the administrative area of the tool. This will involve setting some tasks and observing users complete them to see what issues they encounter and where the tool is not intuitive. We hope to run these tests in Summer 2020. If you would be interested in getting people from your organization involved, please let us know.

Development roadmap
We agreed on the development roadmap by dividing our key areas of work into time phases. Some activities are ongoing system improvements and will happen throughout the time periods.The first part of work which we hope that will run till February 2020 is around the feedback we have received in our user groups. This work will finalize the conditional questions functionality, improve search for administrators and make the usage dashboard more insightful so you can get better analytics about how is the tool used at your institution. We will also integrate a new feature from DMP OPIDoR to enable one click plan creation. From the public templates page, users will be able to click on an icon and create a plan based on that template. We are also planning integrations so you can export DMPs to Zenodo and RIO Journal and complete our work on regional filtering to separate funders/templates/organization by country.

The second part of the work will focus on making our default template machine-actionable by adding integrations to controlled vocabularies, a re3data repository selector, license selector, fewer free text fields, as well as important identifiers for users (ORCID ids) and organizations (ROR ids). We will also update our API so that it conforms to the RDA Common standard.

We will finish the year by adding new features that allow administrators to pre-define a subset of good institutionally shared plans. We will also improve the current plan version and a lifecycle of plan version so you can indicate the status of the plan. We will also work on incorporating multiple datasets into DMPs so you can get better insights about various storage requirements, license requirements etc. Enabling static pages to be edited is also on the to-do list. Lots to look forward to!

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