Yaw Anokwa TSC Application - 2019-01-10

Yaw Anokwa (@yanokwa)


What contributions (e.g., issue triage, tech support, documentation, bug fixes) have you made to the ODK community?
Over the last year, I've personally contributed to many of the widely-used ODK tools and docs, maintained much of the infrastructure the project runs on, done much of the project's marketing, successfully sought funding for organizations on the TSC, and served as chair of the Project Management Committee. Further, Nafundi, a company I run, has committed most of its organizational resources to making meaningful improvements to Collect, Aggregate, Central Build, XLSForm, and JavaRosa.

How do you believe your contributions have benefited ODK?
I think my efforts and those of my team at Nafundi have led to higher quality (more features, less crashes) software and a healthier community. Numbers don't always tell the story, but over the last year, we've seen a doubling of users of ODK Collect and a doubling of members of the ODK forum.

What do you believe the top priorities for ODK are?
We have made huge strides in the quality of the software we ship and the process we use to ship software. We must certainly keep that momentum going, but I think a greater priority is to find and incentivize organizations and people who can make consistent and deep contributions to the project. This isn't traditionally what a Technical Steering Committee is called on to do, but I believe it's what we must do to ensure ODK can sustainably solve our user's problems.

How will you help the ODK community accomplish those priorities?
I strongly believe that the best way to "steer" a project is to "row". I will continue to work with my colleagues on the TSC to identify problems, set priorities, propose solutions, find resources, and generally get things done.

How many hours a week can you commit to participating on the TSC?

What other mobile data collection projects, social good projects, or open source projects are you involved with?
I spend a lot of my time on ODK-related deployments and customizations. Much of this work is contributed back to the core and community.

Please share any links to public resources (e.g., resume, blog, Github) that help support your application.


(I didn't want you to feel overlooked in these TSC candidate interrogations, so here goes... :slight_smile: )

@yanokwa, you have been involved in the ODK 1 Project since its inception, and seen it mature into what it is today. And you have probably also noticed other alternative (competing?) mobile forms products come to market... What do you view as most distinguishes ODK from the rest of the pack in this increasingly crowded space? And what can the TSC do to continue to emphasize/maintain this differentiation?

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I think our primary differentiators have been and continue to be: cost, responsiveness, and people.

The difference between $0 and $1 is huge. That is, if you have to get a credit card or a PO to use something, it's a non-starter. We can't always make things free, so I think the TSC has to be really thoughtful about where and how we introduce cost.

Our responsiveness to support, bugs, features, etc, is what drives adoption. The faster we can respond with an answer, even if it's no, the better. And the fewer resources we can use to get to that answer, the better. And it's not just support. I think the TSC should try to look at technology choices with this lens. Does this change reduce potential bugs, broaden the potential base of contributors, etc.

I think the folks who contribute to ODK have a genuine love of the project. ODK is not perfect, but at the end of the day, the project is driven by friendly people who are trying to make the world a better place. I think the more the TSC can do to help more folks like that contribute, the better.


your hard work and dedication is much appreciated!

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Yaw, ODK team,

Your efforts to make a functional application can never be taken for granted. The impact of collecting data accurately in digital format has had a big impact in public health for example.

In one organization I supported to migrate to electronic data collection for example, they had done paper-based surveys for decades. A big chunk of their survey data was not and will never be used to inform policy or improve health outcomes since either the data collection implementation or supervision faced Unique challenges related to paper-based surveys.

ODK for electronic data collection has had such a big impact to this organization from data collection to data use. Life will never be the same again for this organization and many others!

Sure, we all need to butter our bread. Remembering the positive impact ODK has made to people's lives is very rewarding too!


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