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This week on WPwatercooler we discussed the gauntlet that we must travel through to get our client’s MVP to market. From change orders to delays and phasing we talk about all this and more on this episode of WPwatercooler.
Check out our most recent episode of WPblab – Marketing Yourself as a WordPress Developer with Rachelle Wise
- Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It Kindle Edition
- GOTO 2015 • Agile is Dead • Pragmatic Dave Thomas
- Embracing Scope Creep – Chris Lema
- Project Strobe: Protecting your data, improving our third-party APIs, and sunsetting consumer Google+
Join us on this episode of WPwatercooler by visiting our Participant guidelines page.
ike sound effects just like randomly throw-in I'm just in this stays recording voice right exactly what's up everyone this is Jason Tucker and this is Davey water-cooler episode number 324 this topic is going to be ready fire aim getting your clients and BP the market before we go around the room real quick I want to let everyone know that this particular episode is brought to you by server press makers this desktop server make sure you go take a look at their website over at desktop server comm they're doing some really cool stuff over there if you haven't used any other products WP sites Inc is pretty dang awesome and if you haven't looked at that definitely do that let's go around the room real quick get everyone introduced newbie how about that Adrian tell us about yourself hi my name is Adrian I am the CEO and founder of groundhog we developed marketing automation plug-ins for WordPress primarily looking at email marketing and SMS marketing right within the WordPress dashboard we've been in business since I know them since February of this year and we're looking to make marketing automation more accessible to businesses around the world who use WordPress awesome I'm Miriam I'm Lee developer for upon stone digital marketing in Ottawa and I'm also one of the co-organizers for work camp Ottawa which is coming up this July 13th and 14th awesome good to have you cost for how about you hey Jason Casper it can't that my own wig happy to be here happy to talk some my WordPress today awesome man good to have you on man II have a here a many websites for clients and for myself using WordPress I'm one of the co-organizers of wood Cape Las Vegas this year in September we are about to launch into our website so you guys can go there check it out and I also call it a night commerce get up here and another one digital marketing get up I'm super excited to be here today cool good thanks for thanks for being on happy leo tell us about yourself everyone my name is Leo post white I am not as cool as Jason with a nickname like Matt Mullenweg but I I am one of the co-organizers of work camp long beach and we'll be having our first work camp in October so super sad about that here in Southern California sweet awesome awesome good to have you guys I'm Jason Tucker you can find me over at Jason Tucker on Twitter my website is Jason tuckered-out blog I do this show as well as another show called WP blab that happens on Thursdays feel free to go take a look at that on that that episode we did a couple weeks back is episode number 126 where we talked about marketing yourself as a wordpress developer and it was pretty dang awesome Rachelle why is joined us and we we talked about some really cool stuff so make sure you go over there and take a look at that one last thing this particular episode and all the other ones that we put out here are available as podcasts you can go over to david wark or calm slash subscribe where you can learn how to subscribe to this stuff and also join our mailing list if you like as well alright so let's talk a little bit about a ready fire aim this was this was a topic that that it's Adrian's fault actually that he he brought this one up so adrian key give us a quick little intro on this and then we can kind of start working through it yeah absolutely so as a plugin developer a lot of a lot of businesses who use our plugins we it's very flexible what we provide and what happens is especially with niche markets like podcast creators or course creators they get really deep into the weeds of what software can do or what they don't want is to launch their product with too little content so what happens is they spend a really long time or or an excessive amount of time creating a lot of content and trying to figure out the software and make it all work perfectly seamlessly so that there's you know no gaps in the pipeline or anything but what happens is when they do that they they get to a point where they put in so much excessive amount of effort and time into this that they never actually launch or it takes them a really really long time to launch when it would have been so much easier and quicker for them to achieve the success that they're looking for to have launched with less content and less kind of the back end all set up and just get their idea and their product out there and they might be surprised at the results they receive so we're talking about ready fire aim so it's the process of creating your Minimum Viable Product or your minimum file solution or just your initial seed stage content getting that out there as quickly as possible and then optimizing the delivery of that on the back end we've never had any issues with getting content from our customer those clients they always just silver platter that content they go here you go all my words nicely edited already vetted figured out here make it happen yeah being building websites since 1993 that happen was once in my life yeah never one reason that projects get delayed its content for sure you know I think that's why I think I try to educate my clients first and tell them about the discovery phase because they at that point we can you know find out what do they have ready what they don't have and what they're trying to achieve because as we were talking here before the show stock they don't sometimes they don't understand they don't know what they want they have an idea they have a concept but they don't have something tangible you know and then I think nowadays that are like awesome tools like you know envision FEMA and a bunch of other ones sketch that have ups you dad know correct this draft and then have a starting point for a maybe MVPs fall for a final product you know so what do you guys use as far as a to to like mock happen and discuss with clients in you know what do you guys use personally I recommend people start with whatever tools they have in front of them right like I I think there's a lot to be said around things like basaltic and things like sketch I personally really really like figma think that's fantastic because it's free it's cross-platform it works on things the only actual decent design program that does it also produces some pretty easy to use styles it also has a pretty powerful API I know ooh BRR for example like every time a designer makes a change sure there's a pull request and there's also pretty cool stuff in the background but like psych maps to give you like a moment fume of everything yeah it can totally do whatever you want with layouts and design but like I also think there's a problem here that it's slightly different but if you emphasize the tools too much you're probably forgetting the design process which is you want people to get excited but the things in front of you and you want to figure out like what's the minimum thing in front of you to actually ship so if all you have is a piece of paper or Photoshop or GIMP like I don't care as long as I can just understand what you're doing that's more important to me so sorry to hijack your question ready but like it's also matter to do right yeah and to be clear again as in the open source software or Photoshop replacement not guy in a mask right so if you're like a content creator actually listening in on this podcast or you're a developer but specifically if you're a content creator in most cases what consecrate errs have in front of them are as far as their tools that goes is their WordPress website and I think we should talk about maybe what what is the minimum amount of content that you need to have on your WordPress website in order to be able to say hey listen you know I'm gonna go to Facebook I'm gonna publish this and I'm gonna show this with people like if you're a coarse grater how many courses is it if you're a blogger how many blogs if you're a podcast or how many podcast is it if you're creating some sort of store how many products do you need what do you guys think about that oh man well the products thing I'd imagine it's however mean you need to make it look like that the shelves aren't bare and that people walk into the store and go a while you have three things for sale but you're talking you're talking about you know selling hundreds of products and it's like well you have three things that's cool I'll never come back here again I guess maybe wait I mean if if the whole point is you're selling one product if you're selling one particular thing then make the layout of your store actually look like okay you get one thing when you come here you get a coffee mug you get a little pin or something like when you come here not like so so basically having keeping in mind that you know the number of products that you have also in the forms how your store is laid out that is something that's fairly important I think Jason raises a really good point the the problem is that people think they need a lot of things to be successful but sometimes the pop-up coffee shop is just selling coffee and that's just fine it doesn't mean that I need to get my shoes shined there it doesn't even need to buy a dress there doesn't mean I need to get a whole lunch there it means I just want a cup of coffee right I mean like take and take it in and out for those of you who are watching who don't know the gospel yet all in on stones is hamburgers fries drinks that's it now you go and compare that to some place like McDonald's that has chicken sandwiches and nuggets and chicken strips and salads and parfaits and they have breakfast no in mail doesn't need that they have here's a hamburger oh you want two patties that's fine add cheese that's as far as the burgers go you can kind of been awake secret menu menu sort of stuff but the menu up on the wall says hamburger and then fried it's you can order the fries all these secret ways but it just says fries and then the drinks and that's all but Jason aren't they like a little startup like they're brand new right oh yeah yeah I mean they're really just getting off the ground I think I think I think that's actually the perfect example you know because they're the launching with their core strategy of what that is that they're going to offer there that's their value proposition that that's what they offer that's what you can expect and you don't have like to choose in between a whole bunch of different products but they've chosen to go ahead and launch with essentially a limited amount of product and see and test their market without you know going ahead and opening a bunch of different stores or trying to invest all of that money in time a friend let's just get what we have ready for us what what our clients are asking for what we believe our clients are asking for and go ahead and launch with that and sometimes the MVP happened back in 1948 and he never changed anything after that so there's nothing wrong with that and in Adrienne case you don't know like in and outs been around invented the micro group that's the thing and there was something a hero of the singer broke Valley and and they have probably 2000 stores or something crazy and they have not been new in 50 years and they won't and I love that because sometimes your MVP is actually the best product that you needed the idea very soon no I like I like me I like the idea of getting just enough to get launched and answer your question about about how to do this with content I think you need to have the basics you need to have a page you know a homepage that says here's what our project is here's all the things that we're doing with it you need to have a contact page it says here's my contact here's how to get a hold of us if something doesn't work out right you need to have all those pieces of being able to make sure that there's privacy policies and all those sorts of things like get all that type of content on there and and that's enough to get that part launched you know when you get into the product itself maybe that's the spot that you really need to put a lot of emphasis in and how you're going to kind of sell that person over on here here's how you know here's this is why this is a good thing and this is why you should buy it and and all of that and that essentially becomes like your landing page of getting people to to go buy that thing do you guys have like a list of questions that you asked your clients you have like a discovery phase - how do you do it whenever the guy oh the guy comes to you and I want a plenty oh I want a website what what follows up with that what kind of questions you ask them yeah we have a questionnaire we have a questionnaire that is standard that we send all our new clients or if a client comes in and they want to talk about website refresh there's a list of questions I don't remember them off the top of my head but I know we have all the stuff asked about content it asks about what type of designs you like what type of if they were looking for a total design refresh there we are them what websites do you like and for development or what are some features that are must-haves right out of the gate what are things that could be in say a Phase two and so we have a discovery phase before we start anything before any content goes any design and in development we get that from our client and we don't even start any work until the client has felt that out and sends it back to us and then we sit down and we review it and then we just keep working with the client can tell active development and design starts that's awesome when when I used to work in a digital marketing agency we we came of it from a little bit of a different perspective we we whenever new client came in and especially if it was like a new product that they were launching or they it was their first kind of foray into the digital world we always ask them what is your intention you know at the end of the day what's the results that you actually want to come out of you know putting a website together putting campaigns together putting ads on Facebook what is it you want and they'll say well I want maybe you know I want to grow my business but that's not concrete enough we need something that's tangible some people call it a smart goal I like to call it an immeasurable intention it's like I want a hundred new clients in whatever business or I want a thousand new podcast listeners or I want ten people to purchase my course right we always start with what their intention is from launching this product on any sort of digital platform and we design and strategize the minimum number of steps required to get someone who's never heard of this person before into purchasing whatever product it is that they're trying to sell or their listener or subscriber or what it is that their intention is and we always try and minimize the number of steps that it takes to for someone to do that and then we build the systems in the websites in the processes around whatever that strategy turns out to be yeah I think the big thing that and I'm going to use the words that Jason they want to hear the word scrum and agile the the big thing here is that you know as you you do this the right way in professional software development there's actually frameworks and tools and processes in place and we're kind of also in a very interesting time period where we're about 25 years since the real agile manifesto sort of broke outs lots of great talks over the years or people said agile is crazy agile is dead agile is dumb and I think now we're actually fully you know rebored the idea of how it means to take small steps forward and how to be comfortable with shipping stuff I think there's a really fine line between you know shipping stuff that is ready for the market and shipping stuff that is entirely dangerous and destructive so agile tries to allow you to move forward being comfortable what you're doing but without locking yourself into a path that ultimately locks you down a certain way moving forward there's a great video on YouTube of one of the founders of the automatic Festo it's called agile is dead and he talks about what he actually meant when they met back in the early 90s to go through the entire entire process of knowing the answer manifesto is like what we really just want to make it easier to make changes down the line because in what Miriam is talking about where you have multiple phases and you're doing this what if you thing your mind halfway through phase one what if you you know decide that we need all these things from Phase three up now you need to be able to have the ability to pivot on a dime but be comfortable with still shipping stuff so in a dream scenario if your Springs are two weeks long you cut a release at the end of every two weeks you feel comfortable shipping something and if you're a content creator like you can apply those same ideas but it just means you publish you have to publish or otherwise you perish that is a concept also Cochinos delivery content now like this is very common but one thing that I try to my clients to do and before back in the day before I used to say like before I watch Chris lemma talk about this I was like super afraid of content creep right so I mean scope creep but he has he has an awesome video don't know if you guys saw yet about like embracing scope creep and it's interesting you know and he talks about like oh the guy goes to a restaurant and then ask oh I don't want one use for this dish and all I want no bacon on this dish and then they start you know anymore so it's all about like expectations so if your client is expecting the they know what they can I get for you and and what you're gonna believe to them so if they ask some changes and that's that happens always always they never know exactly what they want and to you we start building stuff right who does actually build a website or pluggy with like perfect blueprints and and scope details and everything nobody right so if you have that oh now I'm building your house but you want an extra bathroom yes he's gonna you know delay the project is gonna do gonna cost you this more and sometimes they do it sometimes they got right so I mean Bracy more scope trip than before before I was know this you can't do this like now I listen to it and see is it feasible can we do it now can we you know just postpone for five days to or something like that because that's Cochinos money coming in right if you if they are asking for change and upgrades and stuff right so and the other thing also that back in the day we used to do it this like build this thing and forget about it right with WordPress is not like that because of all the updates and stuff right and the dependencies of all the plugins and all the themes that again uptake and then you have to test it and then try it again that's another thing too they I now I made this mistake to get a new client build his website in WordPress and do not sell maintenance so now I tell them hey if you want to use WordPress eh it's quick it's fast we can launch the website really fast but that is like the after going guys how do you guys do you guys tell also about this when you build the website Amelia if you probably you use this kind of stuff too like I've only been with my position for about two years but I know that there are some clients that our company has basically built and basically sent it off to them and they're not maintained we always make sure that we try and get a maintenance contract and sometimes it's just basically going in making sure all your plugins are up to today even now with with PHP 7.3 being released at the end of last year making sure is there PHP up today all that kind of stuff and there's a disclaimer if a client is now want to pay us and they don't want to take the onus upon themselves to keep their website up to date then we just say it's like okay then if it breaks sorry we it's not on us because we have offered a mayonnaise contract and we have advised you to and it's very common for you know outdated websites to get hacked oh yeah I've seen some that are like PHP 5.3 4.0 and I just want to faceball yeah oh and we're we're we're we were talking a little bit about about agile in this and cost per you you were mentioning in the chat here you know was Gutenberg actually done agile way is that that's not the case right no no they came release every two weeks yeah and I know that I know that's that's kind of a frustrating thing for a lot of folks when it comes to watching WordPress being built and how how the how these things are being kind of released in a timely manner or they get really delayed and they get released how do you deal with that when you have all these change orders that are coming in for your client you what the MVP needs to I think needs to get launched at some point and you need to control the nut because like many was saying you know those change orders make money and if Steve was here Steve would be all like yeah like change orders are great but I think at some point you also need to kind of manage this into the fact that it's like you know like Miriam said you want to get this thing launched but there's also like a version two there's also like a next step there's also like how do you how do you guys kind of navigate those waters to make sure this thing does get launched and you don't end up in this like scope health type of thing outside of doing the Gutenberg shipping it right right yeah yeah you gotta watch watch out for that too what if you build a plug on top of Gutenberg like we did an extra piece which is crazy yeah you were you you guys were building you guys are building the seats in the airplane that was being that was being that's flying but they're building the airplane while it was flying as well so I mean we extensively extended core blocks and you know we added our own custom blocks before the custom block API was really built outs and we did lots of stuff that is really cool and I'm really excited that like we shipped we shipped all the way through and we've kept up to date with Gutenberg but like the the reality is there are at least two or three different ways to approach the software development and the one that I would generally recommend as hard as it is is to make sure you stay updated you have to read the blogs you have to read make down WordPress or news updates you have to read the tavern you should be watching shows like this one and you also have to plan to keep your features small if you do a lot of custom stuff that goes against the best practices are sort of what the patterns were seeing in the wild it's gonna be harder to maintain your software and I I'm not gonna pick on anyone but I would say that what the way that we do core software development at work at xvp it tends to line up with core WordPress and we've actually offered up quite a few the things you've done in the past that I've got merged into WordPress core so things like the customizer and we did a lot of work with good MIRR direct directly itself and in the past like that's the stuff that we know it's going to be better if you're using the right hook so you're using the right priorities using the right filters all the stuff that in a way that's really clean I've seen a lot of plugins in the wild but you know use patterns from Drupal or patterns from laravel that are you know the technically proficient code but they're not maintainable in the long term the other big thing too is that people don't escape and sanitize inputs and outputs like the more basic things that usually open up major problems in the wild are actually I just using burner tools I know Jason's a big advocate of this but you actually have to use the right pH piece we used to test your stuff otherwise stuff will break yeah how do you guys communicate with clients do you usually guys use like base care or something like that slack how do you talk to them email email yeah that works too we tend to use shared sacrum so as much as possible so like I if we can especially on a long-term engagement to set up that and and we're pretty async and all remote and distributed and socket school yeah we uses like you to slack and base camp pretty much I second base camp base camp is great tool for anybody that doesn't know uh what was the original just before Leo was talking about the Gutenberg process and how he was merging products into core there what was your original question there Jason this chrome stuff or cost per I don't I don't recall what the I wasn't really asking a question it was more along the lines of like how how Gutenberg was being built and then how they were building their product on top of Gutenberg and I was analogy of an airplane that's flying and how you're building the airplane but then Leo Leo's company thought it'd be a great idea to also build the seats that were in the airplane and building them as they were being built so we hadn't agree whether it was a boat or an airplane or a rocket ship or a bicycle and as a whole like I would say that like all things being said and done like Gutenberg right now is in a very good place there's been a lot of great things there was a major accessibility honor there was at least a little while back and and I have to say like you know there's been a lot of ugly that's been thrown around but like I'm happy that things are right now and people are shipping software on a regular basis or super transparent about the process there are open to contributors so like we've now agree that it is an airplane there are seats that are bolted down that might change and we generally know where we're going which is a good thing I see I'm okay with the airplane thing but really think it's more like a duck boat because it's both like a car and boat and it does not think very well but still there are plenty of people who go on it flying and that's now gonna be you know they're gonna be building in the entire interface using it you can build the whole website I think Gutenberg is there like a like a great example of kind of the whole idea of ready fire aim because they they release their their MVP which like the the plugin that you'd install with Gutenberg and they test the waters and regardless of you know the really terrible reviews that it got you know they they went ahead they went for it they knew that they had something special but they just got a got they have to get something out there at one point and maybe what you have as a content creator isn't the best thing that people will love immediately but you have to get something out there test the waters get the feedback because had they gone through the whole process of creating Guttenberg right from and right to it from beginning to end without releasing any of those mid stages or they're 1.0 or they're 2.0 or what we eventually gotten 5.0 then it would not be anywhere near where it is today and we'd probably be stuck with something a whole lot worse so as a concentrator getting your stuff out there just like how Gutenberg went about their development process I think is super important I would say though with one important caveat if your feedback you get up front is bad if people are telling you don'ts then or if the market tells you no this is not a good idea eventually some other force will pull this up now this week there was a bunch of stuff and announced surrounding project strobe the Google project that's going to essentially close off api's on Android and Chrome it's really powerful it's also the thing that finally killed Google Google Plus so Google Plus if you all remember it was a social network that existed and people used it apparently like not me but people could have used it was a really great idea had lots of product research was really smart yeah but that is also the other side of deadly or like I said no for my thing said that no people back in the 1900s they asked what people want the automatic horses nor a car right so sometimes some someone has to be bold enough to take a decision and you know put his face out there to get punched and move on us you can also have a any color you want it as long as was black I mean my point is that like if the market says it's a bad idea listen and if they say we want this other thing instead or slow down as we build it out listen otherwise you're gonna face a price and if you don't listen it will fail from some other greater external force like like the thing that happened the project oh yeah but on this specific case for good and bad I think that's the beautiful beauty of both press is that it's so flexible for you don't like cut the back no problem put the classic edit and that's it both on right so that's what makes what is so nice because you have you have the freedom to pick the way that you want to do it right yeah well that's about it folks for today I want to say thank you very much for all of you for coming on the show and hanging out with us we really appreciate it I do want to extend an offer to any of you folks that are watching the show and you want to get involved in it you definitely can go to wor Gore calm slash subscribe that's where you can figure out how to subscribe to this content as well as be able to get on our mailing list and we'll send out a mailing letting you know that what's going on and what's happening there so feel free to go take a look at that lastly I want to say thank you all for coming and hanging out with us on a Friday I really appreciate it it's a it's been good it's been a good fun time hanging out here and kind of talking about this stuff and I really appreciate it that's about it you talk and talk to y'all later you have a good one buh-bye