Agile WordPress projects
Building what you need, rather than what you initially thought you wanted, is incredibly important. We do this by constantly re-evaluating the WordPress project and building it in small iterations. This is the strength of agile WordPress and WooCommerce development.
Process in 5 steps
Our process is well proven and works well for all types of web projects, although we normally work mainly with WordPress and WooCommerce.
- Initial estimate
- Workshops, wireframes & specifications
- Iterative development process
- MVP release
- Further development & maintenance
The process is adapted to deliver the greatest possible business value to our customers while at the same time being a security for both us and our customers.
Step 1: Initial estimate
The first step is of course time estimation and thus quotation writing. How can you time estimate something that you only have a general idea of what it will end up like? There is only one simple answer and that is experience. Based on our long experience of WordPress and WooCommerce, we try to estimate how much time may be needed for this particular project. If you as a customer then have that kind of budget, we can start our work.
In several cases, we have carried out similar projects like yours before and it is this experience of WordPress that allows us to carry out really good projects, quickly. For example, for a website that is for marketing or e-commerce, we have created a really good starting point that combines all the knowledge we have built up since 2007 – Qala. With Qala, you get many good features instantly – a kind of the smallest possible deliverable so that you can get started quickly with your project, in the right way.
Our first step is above all to clarify if we have the WordPress and WooCommerce skills you need and give you a very rough estimate. Getting a prepared price proposal in this step is unusual and usually means that the customer receives a copy of a previous quote rather than the supplier designing the quote specifically for the assignment. We want to deliver real value and to do that we need to carry out our next step.
Step 2: Workshops, wireframes & user stories
The next step in the work of establishing what we are to do for you as a customer is that we, together with you, gather at a workshop and where we write user stories. This is simply a way of expressing what things you should be able to do with what you build and what functions you need to make this possible.
Up to this point, only fairly technical tasks or general things have been specified that are needed. What we now need is to produce sketches together, so-called wireframes, where you draw what you want. This work can sometimes challenge previously made user stories, which means that some of them may need to be rewritten or supplemented.
When the user stories and wireframes are ready, we try to estimate the time required via a method called time estimation poker. Our working group sits down and with the help of its collective experience, we arrive at a time estimate that is fairly realistic. In this situation, we have a pretty good estimate of how much time the project will take.
Based on this, we can sketchily lay out the plan for the next step. In this plan, it is wise to work based on priorities. What is most important to include in the project? What can we put in future versions? When the priority list is ready, it’s time to move on.
Sometime some of the challenges we face will be difficult to estimate. We think about the complexity of our estimates according to a concept called Cynefin. The concept means that some things can be estimated, others are simply impossible to estimate. Everything is a matter of complexity.
Problems are therefore divided into 4 different categories:
- Chaotic problems – These we can not estimate. These often include obscure troubleshooting and problems with many dependencies. What we do here is do our best to solve the problem and then give feedback to you on a regular basis. Normally we troubleshoot and feedback every 4 or 8 hours depending on what we agree on.
- Complex problems – We can not estimate these, but here we will ask for examination time, normally 4 or 8 hours. Most of the time we are able to figure out what the problem is and how we can solve it at this time, and sometimes we are even able to actually solve it during the examination period.
- Complicated problems – These problems we have a pretty good sense of what they are and how we can solve them. We normally give an estimate within a wide range, eg 20-40h.
- Common problems – These are tasks that we have solved many times before, and the solution is obvious for us. Here we usually give estimates within a narrow range, eg 6-8h.
You as a customer should be aware of these ways of sorting complex tasks, because it is something that very clearly defines our everyday life – and will be common elements in how we tackle problems and challenges within the project.
Step 3: Iterative development process
In an iterative development process, the parts of the project are divided into “sprints” that can vary in length. Our sprints are normally 1-2 weeks long.
Every week we have a reconciliation around the sprint with you as a customer. At this time, we go through what we have done and talk about any wishes and change the priorities for the project. Our ambition is to never have to expand the project beyond the allocated budget. The only way it can be done, at the same time as you are “allowed” to make wishes along the way, is simply that you as customers yourself must be involved and prioritize.
What makes the iterative development process work is good communication and constant feedback. It should be said; If one of the parties does not really have time to get involved and postpone the communication, it is easy to miss things. Communication is important for the project to be a successful project, but is also important for the project’s transparency. It is often the small details that have a big impact on how the project goes.
For the first reconciliation, we have, usually with the help of a kanban tool such as Trello, written down all our user stories and other tasks in the order of priority that we initially set up.
This is good for several reasons. On the one hand, we can work in small iterations in a simple way. If you as a customer, for example, want a change in User story 1, then this is completely OK. But; this should be added as a new user story. Changed functionality must absolutely not be “included” in any existing user story, it creates a situation where it becomes very difficult to see changes in the project over time. Instead, this is added as a new user story. This makes it clear to all parties that you have to prioritize, which can lead to another user story having to be postponed to the next version or sprint – and thus be included in a different budget than for the existing sprint.
Step 4: MVP release
After a certain number of sprints, we come to a position ready to make a release. We always try to think that you should make a release as early as possible to enter the market and start marketing your product immediately.
To sit and develop the project indefinitely pays no bills and with each passing day, the competitors get one step closer. This is the reason to why we use modern development methods such as Continuous Delivery. Continuous Delivery means that we can enter the market quickly – and is the basis of our ongoing maintenance work.
Step 5: Management (Further development & management)
With us, we divide ongoing WordPress work into Further Development & support, and maintenance. Operation is our commitment where we ensure that the website works as it should at a fixed monthly cost (with exceptions), and Further Development is how we help you day to day. As a customer, you can choose between being completely passive in working proactively or even being an integral part of your company.
Further development is partly about looking at the things that we did not have time / prioritize away in the project, but also with data analysis as a starting point to continuously help you drive traffic and understand your visitors.
First 6-12 months
In the beginning, it is usually enough that we help with minor involvement in UX and conversion optimization.
Based on this understanding, we help with changes and improvements that create value for you. What that value can be is different from case to case, but it is often clearer purchase flows that increase revenue and reduce the cost per sale. Successful data-driven work can add an extra zero in the end to how much business your WordPress / WooCommerce website generates.
A regular reconciliation meeting can consist of:
- Review of measures implemented since the last meeting
- Review of KPIs
- Review of measurement data
- Quantitative data (GA / Hotjar / Etc)
- Qualitative data (Feedback from your support – what do customers ask for the most?)
- Theories about why the measurement data looks like it does
- Theories about how we can improve to increase our KPIs
- Planning of measures to be implemented for the next meeting
After 12 months and then annually
When we start to run out of low-hanging fruit, it’s time to think about a little extra. Then we are happy to conduct a workshop where we, based on collected data and with a wishlist from our project, highlight opportunities for improvement, and map the expected effect of these.
Together, we map your customers’ customer journeys with the help of Customer Lifecycle Marketing. Together, we highlight potential bottlenecks and paint a clear picture of how you will work with digital marketing for a long time. This provides a predictable action list of future actions that will be easy to plan.
Maintenance & support
Our WordPress maintenance & support is more than just maintenance. It has no real counterparts in the Swedish market. What we sell is total responsibility and security (often called Managed Application Services / MAS). Our Continuous Delivery process means that with the help of good processes and tools, we can do quality work continuously during the work but also after a completed project.
With different types of automated tests, we secure so that no business-critical functions can break down in any case during, for example, an update. As a WooCommerce e-retailer, you want problems to be discovered early BEFORE you have destroyed the checkout in the store. In this step, you will notice very clearly that our expertise is among the foremost on the market.