codevelop open IT project team gets into hot water

This week the codevelop group started the development phase of its IoT project.  Having decided to build a smart device to manage solar hot water (and the use of electricity to supplement it when needed) we started to explore what benefits consumers would want to see and sketched out a design for the user interface.

The group is a mix of developers, although the statement “I’m just a coder” has been banned, project managers, marketing experts and keen amateurs. There’s a relaxed vibe with a focus on collaboration and learning.

For this project we’re following the Agile model of development, which involves frequent iterations and sense checks with the client/model user.  Trevor Loader serves as our key consumer, as he owns a solar hot water system and it was his idea that first let the team to focus on a smart device for solar hot water.

This week we identified a series of user needs that the device must deliver, using the structure of “As a <type of user> I want <the feature> so that <the benefit>”.  This process was led by Darren Bruning and was very helpful in crystallising the features and benefits we need to incorporate into the device.  It also helped define what was in and what was out of scope.  The group has developed its own lean canvas for the project and this is proving a valuable tool for helping maintain our focus. There was some lively debate about the features and benefits we want the device to deliver, primarily centered around the cost saving from managing the electricity needed for heating water at non-peak times.

As part of envisioning a preliminary design Jarrid Bainbridge invited everyone to present their own UI concept, which will be distilled down into 2 or 3 options to choose from and develop further as we progress.

The final discussion was around what kind of device we want to work with, with the consensus being the micro computer Raspberry Pi.

Next time we’ll be getting ourselves organised for developing, meeting design requirements, working out how it will hang together, source control etc.

Most importantly, the team headed off for burgers and beers afterwards, which as always is the really the group’s raison d’etre, that and the learning experience.

codevelop is an IT project open to all.  Next month’s meeting is at 6pm on Thursday the 27th of August at Basestation (148 Durham St, Tauranga).  Register through the Tauranga Web Meetup group at: