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Production Brief Approval = Agile In Action

December 4th, 2008 by Seth Kenvin

We try to take a light approach to layering functionality onto our Web services, and use agile development for the execution. When a notion seems potentially useful, especially if users request, we’ll build a nub of it with which we and others can experiment, and then consider what are essential extensions for best utility. And we try to balance that such that the new functionality does not distract from existing stuff people are already finding useful.

The ongoing evolution of approval functionality is an example. is used for committee construction of a deliverable that’s subjectively evaluated and naturally people have asked for an ability to approve of that deliverable and/or steps along the way of construction. On the other hand, we do not want to make our application overly weighty in terms of exactly who’s allowed to approve exactly what and exactly how interactions with the approved or unapproved item are modified as a result.

We decided to experiment with approval by initially constraining it to one module. We chose Production Brief for a few reasons. Our first foray in our early November software release, was simply to put a toggle at the top of the production brief that either displayed a red “Dispproved” with “Approve” as a gray, actionable button which when pressed would become a green “Approved” with “Disapprove” gray and actionable.  Once that functionality was out there in use, the merit for a few additional features was confirmed such as a log tracking who did what approval actions for accountability, and also some dialog so people impacting approval state understood implications of their actions. The results is the extent of functionality you can check out in the screen capture below.

So that’s where we are as of writing this blog post. We expect that the approval concept will extend to other parts of such as script versions, uploaded files, and video footage submitted for review. And based on what we hear from users, features within approval may evolve and emerge.  Some aspects may in fact consolidate, for example I’d love to conceive a way for the approval interface to be collapsed to fewer than three buttons. But overall, this is now an area we’ll leave alone for a little while and observe user reactions before we tinker with it more.

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