Dedicate Thursday afternoons to developing a very small, very simple web application, from start to finish in just five hours.
By making this a regular part of our week, and taking a couple of hours each Friday morning to write a blog post about the previous afternoon’s project, we’ll produce a series of useful and (hopefully) insightful pages about agile development, design, and our problem solving processes. As a regular feature, there’s a good chance that this will steadily introduce more people to what we do, and how we work.
We’ll also quickly build up a catalogue of small web apps, which, if they’re useful or entertaining, can be discovered and passed on socially.
There are three basic principals behind this idea, aside from growing our audience:
1. It’s important to us that we do more than we talk
Talking is good, but you only really have something to talk about when you have the experience of actually producing something — and this experience needs to be regularly topped up, particularly in such a quickly progressing field as web technologies. If you’re all talk, and no do, your regular audience will quickly lose faith in what you have to say.
2. We need practice
This is, of course, what we are doing all day, every day, but with the larger projects that we usually work on, there can be long periods where we’re working on, say, the back-end of an app, and are not testing or honing our skills in front-end programming, UI design, information architecture, etc. A regular start-to-finish miniature project will keep us on our toes, and up-to-date and practised with current technologies.
3. We’d like to inspire
If this idea works, and continues for any length of time, there may be opportunities to expand the Thursday Afternoon Web Apps into a community driven project — other developers could be invited to join us, improve upon our, or each other’s ideas, and join the Thursday Afternoon Web Apps Club. (We would have to stipulate minimum standards for beverage production and consumption during the five-hour sessions, though.)