Roadmap for IATI technical products

On another thread there is a discussion about the future of a particular product the @IATI-techteam have been working on. I wanted to generalise a little away from that thread to open up a broader discussion about the IATI tech team’s priorities and how to make the most of very limited resources.

While @siemvaessen’s post may be a little provocative, I think he speaks for several of us who are concerned about continuing to spend so many scarce resources on something that to date has limited user facing benefit, when there are much bigger community priorities. I think more community members should be encouraged to question the way IATI allocates its members’ funds. We should be able to have an open and frank discusson here.

I don’t have any problem with the idea of pyIATI in principle – indeed, theoretically, it sounds good. But in practice it seems to have diverted attention and resources away from pretty much all other work that the tech team could be doing. It clearly has a very large opportunity cost with little immediate benefit, and the forseeable benefit seems to keep getting further away. Rather than an issue specific to pyIATI, I think it points to a broader set of issues around community engagement, strategy and prioritisation.

Going forward, it would be useful if the Secretariat could share with the community its proposals for further development of pyIATI, alongside other competing demands on the tech team’s time, so that we know how we can constructively feed in to decisions at the MA or Board. An overarching strategy or updated roadmap about how different tools would fit together, and how they will be delivered in a more coherent way that helps complement each other, would probably be helpful.

I think all of us understand that the tech team are small and hardworking and probably very stressed with a lot of demands on their time. Raising questions about continuing to spend scarce public resources on a particular product should not be taken as criticism of those tech team members, because it isn’t. It’s much more a question about management, strategy and prioritisation.