In some ways it was a bit of a strange experience for me – I was extremely involved in the early thinking and planning around the product, though back then it was called either Happy to Help or Specialize.In, and drew the original user journey sketches with a Sharpie on A3 paper one gloomy day back in 2009. These sketches remained Bluetacked to the wall in the office for months (in fact for all I know they might still be there!) and the now almost finished product really does bring that series of rough drawings to life in a way I guess I never really expected to see happen. The thing is before I departed Jiva for my ill considered spell in Coventry it had become clear that this vision was going to be a royal pain in the arse to actually implement (some of the reasons why are mentioned in this post) and I guess I expected it to go in a different direction after I had gone – if for no other reason than to stop the dev team having nervous breakdowns!
Instead the guys have pushed ahead and created something that not only looks great (which to be fair I’d expect – Stef has skills and wouldn’t have released anything he wasn’t happy with) but also does some pretty clever real-time stuff in a graceful way and mixes that with some asynchronous features that have some really nice functionality so Theo, Jamie, Ed, Nic and Pete have obviously poured some blood, sweat and tears into the codebase.
Funnily enough I’ve had alot of conversations with the guys on the Jiva team over the last couple of months and they had been a little downbeat on what they were doing – the initial buzz had passed and they were grinding stuff out and spending alot of time bug squashing rather than anything more fun. It was clear to me last night that they had got too close to the project and needed to take a step back and appreciate what they had achieved. It is easy to do – especially when you are putting the hours in but from my not exactly unbiased point of view they can be very proud of what they have done so far.
Thats not to say they haven’t got challenges ahead. Getting people to actually use the service is going to be a slog and once they get people on board dealing with the feedback and support issues with bring its own set of problems to such a small team. However as they say these are good problems and I’m sure the gang look forward to coping with them as it would mean things had taken off!
Congrats again for getting it out into the (semi) wild!