I’m not a product manager. At least, I’m not paid to be a product manager. But I do manage products. All developers do. It comes with the job (as a developer).
So in my not-so-official role as the product manager of every single product I’ve ever built, I’ve started to realise a few things about what I believe makes a product great.
If you’ve ever created a product, you’ve likely needed to support it. Even if you didn’t create a product, and you just happened to put together a few products and a design for a single client, you likely needed to support it.
Support is a way of life. It’s an inevitable by-product (or by-service?) of almost everything you’ll ever make. So much so that I’ve even gone to the effort of writing about both the giving and receiving of it.
So today I want to talk a little bit about the often forgotten but always needed Support Policy. Having one matters. It really does.
A few months ago I wrote an article that got shared quite a bit – 3 months in WordPress customer service – mainly because it resonated with readers.
It talked about how to serve your customers better, giving them the support they not only need, but deserve.
Today though I would talk about WordPress support from the customer’s point of view, and how to actually receive good support, rather than give it. I’m going to pretty blunt and honest as I was in the other article. You’re not my customer here, just my reader, so I want to tell you the harsh truth.
I made my first theme for WordPress about 3 years ago. It sucked. Not just because of the actual style / functionality of it, but more specifically, the admin experience was an awful, unthought-out, careless disaster.
I designed a settings panel to try and make the user’s life easier. Instead, it destroyed it. Well, their life probably wasn’t destroyed, but their user experience definitely was.
Since that time, I’ve probably built about 25-30 plugins and learnt a few things about designing a (WordPress) product for the user.
About 6 months ago I started working on a simple idea – a beautiful, modern recipe plugin for WordPress. A month or so after that I launched a very rough beta release, starting at 0.5. It took me a few months, but today I’m extremely happy to launch Recipe Hero 1.0.
It took me longer than it should have, but I got stuck in a mentality where everything had to be right before I pulled the trigger. That’s not the right mentality – at least in my opinion. So, today I’ve released the almost-ready one point oh.
I’ll tell you a secret that no one else is really going to. It’s hard. Getting into web / WordPress developement is really hard. Whether you dive right in or start by spending 4 years in university studying computer science, the start is especially hard.
I started with WordPress back in 2007 (2.2.2), so that’s almost 8 years ago. I was young and used it purely as a blogging platform. I don’t remember it much as I have an awful memory and I was young & reckless, but it was pretty fun. WordPress was a pretty exciting thing back then and whilst it still is continuing to excite me everyday, it was especially ‘fresh’ back in 2007 (at least to me).
But I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had a theme, I think it was called Chameleon. I learnt a bit of CSS and managed to change the colors to green and black. That was exciting. I learnt enough HTML that I could add a logo – also very exciting. It was really damn hard though.
It’s no secret that almost everywhere in the world has its own local WordPress group. That in itself is really awesome, and on Meetup alone there are over 650 dedicated WordPress meetup groups.
So there’s really no reason not to be involved in your local community, if you happen to love WordPress, Open Source and/or PHP.