Paneris

Paneris is a Collaborative embodied as a set of tools which facilitate distributed web development.

 

1. What we have done

The various members of Paneris have built some high quality Web Sites and Web applications over the last couple of years. Some of these customers are given here, and all can be found by visiting the Paneris web site.

The United States Navy - Parts ordering system

Mansoft - Software ordering system.

Illustrators.co - Artists showcase

Adrift.co.uk - The worlds #1 White Water Rafting Web Site

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Skyguard

Rapport

Iglu.com

 

2. What we have learnt

  1. Building websites is not trivial, but it is not rocket science either.

  2. High quality communications is key to success

  3. Distributed development is successful and productive, but brings with it it's own set of problems.

  4. We are best placed in the market place as a 'Flexable outsourcing resource working from End Clients through Partners'

  5. Technical competence is our only real asset.

 

3. Where are we going

Paneris as a community sees itself as a prototype 'business' model for the information economy. Our ideas are drawn from a range of sources and experience. We have all spent many years working in the IT industry, and have seen so much go wrong. The drive to run away from 'pointy headed bosses' is key, as they largely increase the cost, and reduce the effectiveness of solutions produced.

Paneris is not currently legal entity, and will never become a company that makes profits. Its ambition is to build a community (or perhaps guild), that can threaten the status quo in the application development market.

We are completely web centric, and do not undertake new work that does not use Internet technologies.

 

4. The Structure

The 4 levels of interacting with Paneris

  1. Members of Paneris. Members of Paneris are free to brand their work under the paneris banner and exploit the resources available. Members of Paneris must use the Paneris systems when working with other Paneris Members, Partners and Customers. Members of Paneris are expected to behave ethically and for the good of the community

  2. Paneris Partners. Paneris Partners use the resources of Paneris by interacting with their Key Paneris Member. Partners will be encouraged to use the Paneris tools, but it is understood that they will often have their own agenda.

  3. End Clients. These are the people for whom we build systems. They interact with one of the above.

 

5. Open Source Software

Paneris does not feel there is any money to be made in selling software. There is only one company in the world that achieves this (Microsoft), and their position is under threat from a number of fronts.

We therefor sell consultancy and solutions, and give the software developed away. Whenever possible the software developed will be supplied under a General Public License or a Library General Public License. This allows anybody to use and change the code without restriction (although it is usual to keep the original author informed).

By supplying software under OSS, we do not get involved with ongoing maintenance contracts, freeing the customer and ourselves from ongoing commitments. It allows us to support the software supplied on a 'price per job' or 'hourly rate' basis which is attractive to our clients from a cost basis, and has long term benefits to us for flexibility, legacy issues, and costs.

OSS has tremendous momentum, and is a paradigm that is set to change the software industry as we know it.

OSS success stories include:

  • Linux

  • GCC

  • Apache

  • Netscape 5

  • Perl

  • PHP

The industry has recently be rocked by Microsoft's leaked assessment of the OSS phenonenon in the Halloween Documents http://www.opensource.org/halloween.html. These are very valuable reading.

 

6. Adhocracy

A mechanism of making decisions by special interest group. It has gained widespread acceptance as a governance mechanism of the internet. Everyone is treated as equal with the power and logic of their arguments being used to decide the outcome. Debates take place in Public Forums and everyone is welcome to contribute.

Specifically for Paneris it means:

  1. You can do what you want.

  2. Disagreement leads to discussion.

  3. Unresolved discussion leads to a call for votes.

  4. Any interested party can vote.

 

 

7. ISPs

We currently have a relationship with I-way and are actively looking for other ISPs to partner.

 

8. Openness

Paneris consider this to be a 'Good Idea'. However security is still required especially to prevent corruption of data in business critical systems.

For customers a gentle approach was agreed, we have the following procedure:

  1. Introduce openness by giving simple contact info about the customer, and judge the response.

  2. Password Protect if required

  3. Slowly add more information, encouraging the customer to approve of openness.

Data belonging to Paneris (such as invoices, timesheets etc) will always be open. NB: Flexibility (below).

 

9. Flexibility

In the environment in which we work, Flexibility is crucial. The mechanisms that Paneris is developing all seek to include maximum flexibility. 'Dogmatic' is the worst thing that you can call a member of Paneris.

 

10. Money

Central to Members of Paneris surviving the recession is our ability to keep costs down. We currently cost our time out at £50 per hour, and the 'standard' rate of dealings between paneris members is £40. This is reflected here:

A job is worth: Price for Job - Fixed Costs

80% of the job then goes to paying developers (calculated on an hourly basis)

10% goes to the finder of the work

10% goes to the manager and biller of the job.

The management fee is not sacrosanct, and will be cut by agreement if the job overruns etc. Some members of paneris cost their time at less that £32, and often on fixed price jobs which overrun, developers get as little as £20 per hour.

None of use are involved to get rich, but simply (to (miss)quote Billy Bragg) 'to build a path from cradle to grave'.

 

11. Rules

The most difficult area of Paneris has turned out to be the management of the relationships between those out side and those within. Nobody likes to have them but we have forced to introduce the following Rules.

  • We will not do business with a customer's client without written permission from the customer.

  • We will not take work directly from a customer introduced to us by another member without written permission.

  • Customers introduced to a Paneris Member by another may not approach the second with work without written permission from the first.

 

 

12. Employment and Roles

These are broadly considered a bad idea as they did not encourage the flat structure of Adhocracy.

 

13. The Immediate Future

We have made a strong ideological commitment to OSS, and are currently building a web server to allow us more control over developing customer sites and our own systems. The server will only run OSS software: Linux, Perl, Apache, and Paneris. PanerisII is an exciting project that will carry us forward. We hope to have completed the majority development by Christmas.

We have just completed a very significant project for Iglu.com. We hope to build on this with more projects of a similar or larger size (1000 man hours).

We are very excited that Keyhaven are interested in joining the community, and are looking forward to the perspective that they will bring to the group. Predicting how things will change as we expand is difficult, but this only makes us excited.

 


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