UNESCO-IHE students benefit from über postboxes.

The beautiful wall of mailboxes at UNESCO-IHE. We all still need snail mail for many tasks, but of course Akvo is all about communicating information in other ways.

I have been pondering for a while on how best to report the progress of what we do at Akvo. Obviously we are using this blog to report things, but this doesn’t offer you the ability to see, at a glance, how we are doing.

I have been playing with the idea of a status panel, with progress bars and status icons showing how things are going. But a status panel doesn’t give you a historical view of the progress, it just shows what something is like right now. Doing anything sophisticated data driven at this point (like a control panel for an Operational Performance Management system) is outside of our current scope and resources.

So instead I think we should probably investigate using some simple web tools here on the blog. Below is an example of what this could look like. Each month (or so) we post a status update, which contains the main area of Akvo development (note that I am not talking about field projects but the work of developing the Akvo platform, i.e. Akvo RSR, Akvo Matchmaking etc.). Each status update will have a link to the previous status update, so you easily can follow the historical progress. We would also have a category called “Akvo status update”, which one can click on up to the right on this page, which would then show you all the updates on one page.

Example of status update

Akvo RSR


Goal: To have an operational Akvo RSR system at World Water Week, in August 2008.

Completed tasks
Tasks coming up
  • Hold Akvo Sprint
  • Document Akvo Sprint
  • User interface sketches
  • Finalise second version of Project format
  • Collect pilot project data in project format
  • Akvo technical infrastructure


    Goal: Live infrastructure to run the Akvo platform with live Akvo website, Akvo RSR and Akvopedia.

    Completed tasks
    Tasks coming up
  • Setup of Ubuntu server at ProWeb
  • Upgrade firewall with anti-spam tools
  • New firewall hardware
  • Get 100 mbps line at Swedish office
  • Create development server
  • Install all applications on ProWeb server
  • Collect pilot project data in project format
  • Endnote: The idea for all this came from seeing the status report for an undersea cable being rolled out between Australia and Guam, and from the fact that I have tried a few methods to report to our stakeholders, which all were quite unsatisfactory. The Pipe International report has some Javascript goodness, where you can click on the plus sign to expand a task, but I am not sure it is worth the effort. What do you think?

    Thomas Bjelkeman is the founder of Akvo.