Network - phase 1

This Topic covers the developments of a new piece of analysis and ideation for the Network functionality. It is based on the great work already done in the past, documented here.

Decks used for the team sessions (currently once every 3 weeks)

  • Kickoff - includes agreements, team composition, plan
  • Check in 1 - includes highlights from 1on1 chats, draft user stories
  • Sketch shop - TBD
  • Check in 2 (WIP) - Includes competitive landscape

What is the need / problem? What is the current impact of the problem?

The problem has been explored and explained as part of
Discovery Session: Networks (see pictures)
Global Gathering 2019 - Day 7 - Network (see pictures)
@Rachel Network MVP brief
Network 2.0 - Real Case Studies of the Problem (continuously updated, please add any relevant examples)

What is the benefit of focusing on this?

Beyond the operational day to day improvements of management of products and inventory for our users, there’s the underlying improvements in transparency.

Potential solutions that will solve the problem?

Many ideas have been explored in the past, this initiative looks at assessing them, while also exploring new ones for the short and longer term. We will also prioritise those solutions, to potentially roll out small improvements early, and bigger redesigns later down the track once we have initial feedback and validation from users.

After the ideation sessions (planned for April), concepts will be presented and shared.

What’s going to be the approach?

At a really high level

What has been done so far?

Team agreements definition

Shall not allow for scope to expand - Define a lean scope as a group and monitor it closely
Keep things moving - Even with a small subset of the team and try to facilitate sessions that simulate collaboration in the same room
Be transparent - Share decisions and rationale with instance managers so that the broader team can provide feedback
Plan validation with users in advance - It will be challenging to reach the diverse user base that will be impacted, so think about smart ways to test concepts

1on1 chats between Mario and most team members. Highlights here
Draft user stories (to be expanded and refined by the team)
Competitive landscape

How can I contribute and give feedback?

You can share your thoughts, ask questions and provide inputs in this Topic or join the conversation in the #network slack channel. We want to be as transparent as possible, as highlighted in one of the team agreements. We encourage everyone to be part of this, join the conversation if you want :slight_smile:

Feature owners

Current (but open to anyone that wants to contribute)
@Kirsten @Rachel @lin_d_hop @luisramos0 @tschumilas @Mario

Delivery circle meeting notes April 27th
Delivery circle meeting notes April 20th
Delivery circle meeting notes April 13th
Delivery Circle meeting notes April 6th
Product curation meeting notes March 22nd 2021
Product curation meeting notes March 8th 2021
Product curation meeting notes December 14th 2020
Product curation meeting notes January 11th 2021
Product curation meeting notes January 25th 2021
Product curation meeting notes February 8th 2021
Product curation meeting notes February 22nd 2021
Inventory Management - Separate Product Info
'Networked e-commerce' overhaul [META]
Buying group can continue selling surplus after placing wholesale order
Buying Group applies price 'translations' to inventory from wholesaler
Buying Group applies price 'translations' to inventory from wholesaler
Summarise, adjust and place wholesale order
Product curation meeting #27 notes - 30 November 2020
Product curation meeting #26 notes - 17 November 2020
Product Curation meeting #25 notes - November 2nd 2020
Product curation meeting #24 notes - 20 October 2020
Product curation meeting #22 notes - 22 September 2020
Product curation meeting #21 notes - 8 September 2020
Product curation meeting #20 notes - 25 August 2020
Product curation meeting #19 notes - 11 August 2020
List of initiatives (that may or may not be prioritized) with Design work involved
Product curation meeting #18 notes - 28 July 2020
Product curation meeting #17 notes - 14 July 2020
Product curation meeting #16 notes - 30 June 2020
Product curation meeting #15 notes - 16 June 2020
A new admin interface for OFN
Product curation meeting #23 notes - 6 October 2020
Workspace concept (and OIDC keycloak implementation)
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes - December 14th
Delivery circle meeting notes November 16th 2021
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes October 19th 2021
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes October 5th 2021
Delivery circle - September 28th 2021
Delivery Circle - September 21th 2021
Delivery Circle September 14th 2021
Delivery Circle September 7th 21
Delivery Circle August 31st 2021
Delivery Circle - 24 August 2021
Delivery Circle meeting notes 17 August 2021
Delivery Circle Notes - August 3rd 2021
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes July 27th 2021
Delivery circle notes July 20th 2021
Delivery Circle meeting notes 13 July 2021
Delivery circle meeting notes July 6th
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes June 29th
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes June 22nd
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes June 15th
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes June 8th
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes June 1st
Delivery circle meeting notes May 25th
Delivery Circle meeting notes May 18th
Delivery Circle Meeting Notes May 11th
Delivery circle meeting notes May 4th

Hi everyone, this is an update re how the inception for network progressed in the last few months and a collection of all the material created for future reference.


After having fleshed out draft user stories (slide 11 to 14), which were a useful way to unpack what our definition / assumptions on network are, we ran a sketching / ideation session focused on HOW MIGHT WE allow Hubs to request Producers to stock their products and create new variants as needed?

Screen Shot 2020-10-16 at 12.38.55 pm

Sketches are collected here (slide 4 to 13).

This activity got us to think about new creative ways to get producers and hubs to connect with each other more easily.

Digital prototyping

After the sketches were discussed and voted, a digital prototype for a new concept, called Product Finder, was built. This prototype is focused on a new Hub that has just joined OFN and is looking to sell products from other producers.

Try the Product Finder prototype

:information_source: Useful tip: to identify the interactive elements, when you click anywhere, they will be highlighted in blue.

An explanation video of this prototype below

This prototype includes some initial thinking around sourced variants. More information and another prototype in the following posts.

Themes priotisation

After having discussed the Product Finder, we regrouped and voted on the areas that we believed were most critical to focus on. Here’s the outcome of that voting.

The themes with most stars seemed to have a higher priority. The Product Finder falls under the column on the left, so we decided to switch our focus on themes with a more immediate need.

This brought us to start exploring the concept of sourced variants.

Sourced variants - digital prototype

Sourced variants enable Hubs to create new variants linked to products that they don’t have manage products permissions for.
Currently, hubs can use inventory to override some fields for variants that they don’t manage directly. Sourced variants expand on that capability and enable for more advanced use cases of networked products.
The underlying reason for this idea is to move away from the Inventory functionality. It’s hard to understand for users, it has been adopted from some when it’s not actually needed, and it also present some technical challenges that we want to minimize in the future.

A prototype for sourced variants is available here.
An explanation video for the prototype below

Before going too far with our imagination, it’s time to get some feedback from the producers and hubs, more on that in the next post.

User interviews

Before committing to a specific solution, it was really important to assess if our assumptions were correct, and if our ideas are desirable from the people using OFN. The best way to test this was to talk with them. We found some really kind producers and hub contributors that were available for interviews.

  • 6 participants
  • 3 countries (AUS, UK, FR)
  • 4 HUB managers, 2 hybrid producers/HUB managers
  • 3 using inventory

We asked them open ended questions, and reviewed the prototype with them to understand if it was something they were interested in.

In a nutshell, the outcomes of these interviews were:

Things that we are now highly confident in

  • Yes to consolidation of Product List and Inventory
  • Yes to a bit of UI revamp, more clean and clear interface

Things that we have medium confidence in

  • Interest in calculations for sourced/linked variants, but it’s understood only by the most advanced/inventory users

Things that we are not confident in

  • Concept of sourced variants was not really understood by most participants, unless explained. This might be because the flow is unclear, or not fit for their needs right now
  • Network: low interest for HUBs right now in expanding the OFN producers they work with - easier to create their own enterprises and manage everything themselves

As you can read, the response for sourced variants was not as positive as we were hoping for. This is good. We reduced the risk of building something that people might not understand and adopt. We still gained some insights on aspects that people found useful (high confidence), which leads us to the next steps for the inception of network (next post).

PS: if you’re interested in understanding how the process of interviewing users works, you can find an explainer video here.
This was also an opportunity to start to expand on our proto-personas. If you’re interested in that topic, and to learn more about different types of producers, you can find more here.

Next steps

From the interviews with producers and Hub contributors, we learned that there is interest in consolidating the Product List with Inventory. We are also interested in “sunsetting” Inventory. That seems like a good place where to start.
The inception work on network will definitely continue.
We now have more confidence to bring some of the functionality of Inventory to Product List, and in the process do a interface refresh for the Product List. This will be proposed as a separate Product Curation initiative, and a dedicated Discourse thread will be created for it, and discussed with the community.

Recap of first phase of network inception

For a more detailed (heavy on product management) overview of next steps you can have a look at this video.

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