Wagento Creative

  • My Social Media Experiment / Disaster

    My Social Media Experiment

    I have recently embarked on a uber social media experiment using my own personal profiles to first explore what is out there for social media and to find easy to use platforms to manage the social media. I went through what Google says are the top 6 social media platforms right now. (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus) *Who actually uses Google Plus? I realize there are more we can focus on and in conjunction with these platforms I have been blogging on a regular basis about customer experience. The following are the mistakes that I self-identified. Of course this is not a complete list, or a sample that I saw to be problematic. I would like to get your feedback on what you have seen me or someone else doing wrong in social media.

    Mistake number one

    Aggregators: I went into this thinking that content was king, regardless of how I generate this content. Some of the aggregators I tried automatically posted for me. People saw right through this. Some of the content was crap, some was relative but the quantity of content diluted the quality of content.

    Mistake number two

    BOTS: I created a bot which retweeted images from a conference that I was following. Who would have thought that someone would post pornographic pictures with the hashtag I was searching for. It goes to show that you can’t just shoot and walk away. Social media needs some love to make it work.

    Mistake number three

    Auto-posting: Similar to the bots, taking a feed from a third party and auto posting is not a great idea. Unless your goal is to just spew so much content that it floods your thread then the auto post is not the answer. This is not to say that scheduled content is not relevant. But simply generating automatic content is just regurgitating potential garbage. Eventually you re-post real garbage which makes you look like garbage.

    Mistake number four

    Cuing up the same message across multiple platforms: If anyone follows you personal social media profiles they will quickly see that you are posting the exact same content on Facebook and Twitter. Full disclosure; I am still doing this but not as much. What I have ultimately decided to do is split my interests into different platforms. i.e. focus Twitter on Magento and Facebook on running. Instagram has been my home for running photos and my running selfies are starting to be retired.

    Mistake number five

    Scheduled posts when everyone knows I am not really posting: For example, if I am asleep or even worse, if I am doing a running selfie during a marathon and then suddenly I post something about a Magento extension 2 minutes later. ahhh… either someone is posting for me or I have scheduled my posts without thinking about my schedule.

    I have made many more mistakes than these five but they are some big ones that come to mind. The bottom line is that I should be posting content on my personal profile that means something to me or someone else. The business content I was posting really meant nothing to my personal twitter audience and the auto-posted content to Facebook meant nothing since I rarely read about what I was posting.

    The bottom line: There are no easy short cuts to social media and the more you try to grow your personal brand by automatically posting content the more you will potentially damage the reason your personal followers are following you. This is not to say that Buffer, Hootsuit, Hubspot or any of the other tools that we use are important. The key is to use them with the for-thought rather than blindly posting content that may or may not be valid for your own person.

  • New Magento 2 Payment and Product Updates

    Updates for Magento 2.1.3 and 2.0.11

    Enhance User Experience, Quality and Performance

    Magento has released new versions of the Magento 2 software, including: Enterprise Editions 2.1.3 and 2.0.11, and Community Editions 2.1.3 and 2.0.11. These updates will provide clients with new payment functionality, accelerated performance, and enhanced product quality. The following resources are available to help you get up to speed:

    Please contact your Product Owner or Account Manager now and ask about having your Magento 2 site upgraded to the newest version!

    Thank you, Wagento Team

  • Gathering Information - The Fixed Bid

    discovery

    This is part of my on-going Customer Expectations Series

    The biggest problem facing developers when working on new projects is how they gather their information. It is more than likely that an agency or developer gives an estimate before knowing the entire project. But how can you know the entire project? Sometimes the client doesn’t know everything that is part of a project.

    The simple answer is to do discovery on what you are doing and from this discovery you write a SOW. I will lay out two different formats for projects and briefly describe the benefits of each. I will split this post into two, one for Fixed Bid and one for Time and Materials.

    Dead Termites.

    I covered the topic Fixed Bid in my article “Things Change - The Fix Bid Project”. The hardest part is knowing what you are bidding on. When you hire a builder to fix your floor boards and after they have removed them for repair they discover that you have termites and suddenly the cost of your project has quadrupled. The difference between the home owner example and the software project example is the homeowner can see the dead termites. If only we had dead termites in software development we could show the client what we found and demonstrate why we need to add time (and money) to the project. [We do have bugs] The point is that things never stay the same and whether the client comes up with something new or the developer finds something, things change. The danger in the fixed bid as that no one takes into account that something could change. You would think that the client is the one who drives this rigidity, but the responsibility it on the agency and how the agency communicates what they will do. If the client believes that the agency or developer will do everything from the start and that everything is not well defined. If the “EVERYTHING” is stated verbally as; “Yes of course, that is easy”, then the client would believe that everything is included. Even worse, the effort needed to complete is assumed to be easy which leads to mistrust because everything is taking longer.

    The key to the fixed bid is a lot of discovery and documentation. The documentation has to be so in depth that it will be hard for the client to argue that some unknown feature that is later discovered should be included. To mitigate much of the risk the agency should build in risk. If anything is missed in discovery, the built-in risk allows for a cushion to pull from without having to ask the client for more time and without the agency frustration of doing work for free. What can’t be invented is time.

    Next week I will publish thoughts around Discovery on a Time and Materials Project

  • What I've learned about Magento 2 so far - Repost

    This is a repost of a Fooman blog. You can view the actual article here

    It's hard to believe that Magento 2 turned one this month. In the developer community we're finally starting to get a solid understanding of the quirks, opportunities and stability of the platform.

    I've spent most of this year re-writing Fooman Magento 1 extensions from the ground up. Learning the ins and outs of M2 has been a real labour of love. But these development hours have taught me a lot that I want to share with the #realmagento community in our new email series.

    Fooman's new Developer Monthly will hit your inbox with:

    • Our take on what's happening in the world of Magento
    • Tips & tricks: what we're learning
    • Developer Q&A: sharing what our users are learning about Magento 2

    Hope you find it useful. Send a quick reply to let me know what you think.

    What two years developing Magento 2 extensions has taught me Whether you write custom modules for individual clients or are aiming for the Magento Marketplace - M2 extension development is a whole new game. I've learned a heck of a lot rebuilding Fooman's M1 extensions from the ground up to be M2 compatible, and share six ways you can write better M2 extensions. Read more.

    Being a Magento extrovert is challenging Rebecca Troth shares a great read about overcoming fears to get involved in the #realmagento community. I suspect a lot of us can relate to this. Read more.

    Magento 2: UI Components UI Components are probably the most under-documented new feature in M2, but are a powerful feature we all will need to learn how to use. What I am currently hearing from Magento is that there will be even more UI Components coming to Magento 2. Alan Storm has started an excellent series digging into UI Components with this post.

    TIP OF THE MONTH

    You can run Magento 2 in three different modes: default, developer and production. Magento 2 allows you to define which mode to run via a server variable (MAGE_MODE).

    My advice: don't bother setting MAGE_MODE on the server environment level unless you are absolutely sure you'll never need to change the mode. Find out what to do instead.

    WHAT'S M2 READY?

    So far you can download 4 free Magento 2 extensions:

    The following paid extensions are also available on M2:

    Stay tuned for new releases (including Fooman Surcharge, which is right around the corner).

  • Outbound

    outbound-banner

    In continuation of my Customer Expectation Series I want to focus for a very short time on Outbound communications. (I promise this is a short article)

    I am a strong believer in the idea that what works in one arena works in another. For example, the same practices that are successful with a customer will be successful with employees. To be more specific if we communicate as much internally as we do with a client (or vice-versa) it will only increase the probable success of a project.

    This leads me to our new car. We recently purchased a used car from a broker. Now when you first decide to buy a car everything is exciting and everyone is happy (Honeymoon phase). But as we progress through the process and more specifically, after you give them a check, then the communication is a little more scarce. Promises are made and perhaps not followed up on. Sound familiar?

    The same things hold true with any project. The more that we (the agency or developer) communicate with the client, the more everyone will be in tune with what is happening. This is Project Management 101. Communication is King and it is up to us as project leaders to communicate with the client often. When was the last time a client said to you, please don't call me so often?

    This is not to say that you should call your client every hour, but you should decide on key check-ins. For example, during your ramp up phase when it is critical to collect data, it is good to check in every day. During the build phase, you can move to once a week and finally prior to launch go back to every day.

    The idea is simple. You as the project manager need to initiate the call and you need to do this more than you think is necessary. (Unless you have already read my articles or the client files a restraining order)

  • What we expect in a Project Manager

    expexcting-something

    THE PROJECT MANAGER

    This article is a continuation of my series of articles around customer expectations. After reading the article from Pam Ravenscroft from Space 48, "Project Managers, where the hell are you all?", I got thinking about how important that the PM/PO's understand what they should be doing. More importantly, what are their priorities if they could only accomplish a certain amount of things in a week. The list I came up with is by no means a complete list. It is the list I came up in my head on during my 2-minute shower on November 15, 2016, my 5-minute drive to work and finally after reading Pam's article. (Yes I know, too much detail.)

    Scenario: PM/PO has to do make sure certain things get done during a one week period.

    So if we had to deliver something in a week, what would that be? The deep dive on this exercise is to get the PM/PO to ask certain questions that have to get answered. By asking the questions they can then enable themselves to deliver objective information to the client.

    He is my incomplete list, it is broken into two parts. Client communication and team communication. You will see that team questions will answer the client questions.

    Team
    1. How long do we still have to spend on the feature?
    2. What is our capacity this week and are we on track to deliver on time?
    3. Have changes impacted the timeline?
    4. Are we working on features we can work on while still getting requirements for additional features?
    Client
    1. What is the due date of the feature?
    2. How long have we spent on the feature?
    3. How long do we still have to spend on the feature?
    4. What are the changes on this feature and do they impact the timeline?
    5. Have you communicated this to the client? (REPORTS!)
    6. Have you spoken to the client this week about how they feel about the project?

    Hopefully, from the simple list of questions, we can learn all the things we need to know to communicate to the client. The communication needs to happen on a weekly basis and the more you can help the client understand when something has changed the better. So a great example is when you find that some feature will take longer than first estimated. This should be communicated the minute you as the project manager found out.

    So now, we had the subjective portion to project management. For this, I want to turn to Pam and her recent article. To effectively answer the questions and in-turn deliver those answers to the client some skills are needed. I only want to add three requirements to Pam's list.

    1. Are you organized?
    2. Are you a planner?
    3. Can you demonstrate the first two questions?

    For our own plug: We are based in Minneapolis, Cochabamba, Mexico City, and Ahmedabad. We have REAL offices in each of these cities staffed by REAL Wagento folks who care passionately about their jobs. We are hiring in all of our locations.

    Space 48's Article Excerpt

    The complete article is again linked here Now the real requirements

    You get your kicks out of a fast-paced environment, and I don’t mean disorganised, I mean busy!

    You absorb pressure like a sponge. I don’t mean you’re a punch bag for clients, I mean you can handle it, it’s all in a day’s work. If you hadn’t chosen a role in project management, you’d be a high-flier in the UN.

    Problems, you love problems, well you love solving them. That doesn’t mean its nothing but problems, but lets not kid ourselves they do happen but you can deal with them. That doesn’t mean you don’t bitch and rant getting to the resolution.

    You don’t believe in process for process sake but you know why it’s needed and how it can enable you.

    Pragmatism is your middle name, you strive to make clients happy but also care about making sure what you do is the right thing for them, not necessarily what they want.

    You’ve worked for a software development agency (not digital). You’ve ideally worked in eCommerce with at least 1 of the top 10 enterprise platforms, eg Magento, Websphere, ATG, Hybris, Demandware.

    You’ll be working in a supportive environment with an experienced team who love what they do. eCommerce is not for the faint-hearted but it is hugely rewarding.

    We’re based in Warrington at the moment and on schedule to open a new office in Manchester end of Q1 2017 where you will then be based.

    The salary matches our expectations and is highly competitive for the right candidate.

    I am linking to some other helpful articles about Project Management Best Practices

    • http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-best-practices-for-successful-project-management
    • https://www.wrike.com/blog/project-management-best-practices-infographic

    Please give me your feedback:

    Twitter https://twitter.com/brentwpeterson Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/brentwpeterson

  • Acquia/Magento partnership: content and commerce combine

    Editors note: This blog post was first featured on DBM.today and was originally posted on November 3rd, 2016

    Acquia and Magento Commerce have joined forces to integrate Acquia’s digital experience portfolio with Magento’s commerce and fulfilment solutions.

    This integration of open-source content and commerce solutions is intended to enable global brands and merchants to take control of the customer journey and deliver highly personalized, content-rich experiences across every touchpoint.

    “Acquia and Magento combine the best attributes of open-source development — agility, speed, innovation and security,” explained Acquia CEO Tom Erickson. “Together, we’re putting the power back in the hands of merchants and brands to allow them to control every pixel of the experience throughout the customer journey.”

    The partnership is promoted as offering B2B and B2C merchants:

    • Personalization at scale: Contextually optimized real-time experiences across the entire customer journey, regardless of device or channel
    • Speed to market: Rapid deployment and management of content-rich commerce experiences
    • Empowered marketers: Allows marketers to own the customer experience and collaborate more closely with merchandisers
    • Flexible integration: Unlimited flexibility to meet any market need or technology configuration

    Magento Commerce CEO Mark Lavelle commented: “The combined power of our respective technologies and our thriving global ecosystems will allow our customers to drive unbridled innovation, engage consumers like never before, and pave the way for the commerce experiences of tomorrow.”

    To enable the solution, Acquia and Magento will integrate the Drupal CMS and Acquia Lift solutions for personalization with Magento’s commerce and order management products to unify content, commerce and context across the customer journey.

  • The Client

    the-client-blog

    THE CLIENT

    Please read the previous post here Things Change to get context

    Let’s briefly look at what the typical client expects at the end of any project. (This is not meant to be a comprehensive list but a summary of the basic items a customer expects. If you think something should be there please comment on this post. I am always looking for feedback.)

    1. They would like what they like. This may or may not be defined at the start of a project.
    2. They want to know how much it will cost. This almost always must be defined at the start of a project.
    3. The cost has a max. This is ALWAYS true with everyone.
    4. They would like to know when it will be done, but unlike cost, when it will be done may or many not be as important.

    Like what you like but what is it like?

    If everything was a “Yes” and “No” projects would be simple. If there wasn’t complexity and, more importantly, subjectivity, projects would be easy to plan and deliver. The problem is the following:

    Client: “Dear Agency, I would like my website to look like MegaCorp.com” Agency: “Ok we will model some designs to make it look similar to MegaCorp.com” Client: “Please tell me how much it will cost to make it look exactly like MegaCorp and how long it will take.”

    If the agency is not careful they will start the project already failing. The “want” in a subjective environment is the hardest thing to attain and contains the greatest risk. The “want” is something that a young designer could deliver quickly or a seasoned designer may never deliver. The point is that it is very subjective. The “want” is the biggest risk because you don’t know what anyone really wants until you start working. The client may have many ideas in their head about what they want and those ideas change every time they look at the new website. For the agency, this means it is a moving target that can only be achieved once a design is locked down, agreed on by both sides, and signed off on.

    To further complicate things, if the design is something new and if the designer comes up with something revolutionary and fantastic, the inherent complexity of new design will most likely take longer and be more expensive. If they stray far from what Magento can do, the backend estimates for this design will be greatly inflated. This leads some clients to question why. It is the agency's responsibility to have a developer sign off on designs even before a client sees them. If you take a category page for example; The default category page does 80% of what most clients want. The designer may have great ideas but some of the functions they may suggest would require extending the basic functionality of Magento and thus add cost to the project.

    You can see how quickly the design portion of a project can get complicated and you can see why it is important to move from the subjective to the objective. If you have a design that shows what the look will be and then describes what the look will do then you will be able to gauge the effort of that feature much better than just “I like the Google.com page”.

    No Free Lunches

    I recently met with a large enterprise agency and they stated they build in 40% risk to a fixed bid project. In fact, if any agency is not building in some risk then they are providing a disservice to their team as well as their client. The time and materials model works the best if there is a broad budget of what is trying to be accomplished. The fixed bid is a myth and what fixed bid means is the following: I have a bunch or requirements that will never change and I will not want to add anything over the next 12-16 weeks. I have never had a software project where nothing changed. This is the reason that fixed bids are full of risk and that risk is built in. I will stress, if you are a client and reading this, don’t think the risk is something that you want to add. The risk is for something that wasn’t known but could have been, should have been or, at some point in the project, became known.

    Max Headroom

    The idea of a broad budget is, in my opinion, the best way to approach a project. You can section off specific buckets of work and then scope out that work. The risk is balanced over different areas and it will allow the client to see where changes happened and how they impact the project. Design, Development, DevOps, and Data are all big buckets that can sit at the top of your SOW. These buckets can be pared down into smaller segments which will further reduce the risk.

    The Final Countdown

    Of course, everyone wants to know when their project will be done. I think this is the most overlooked area. Once you have hours estimated you can by definition plan on when those hours can be worked. From this, you can plan on how long it will take to carry out the work. Finally, you can build in the time that tickets go back and forth with clients. Once you have that formula you can come up with a launch date. The launch date will help to hold everyone accountable. It not only holds the agency accountable, but it also holds the client accountable to what they need to complete.

    Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll finish tomorrow

    As we just discussed, the “when” can easily be estimated and the more you report the “when” the better everyone understands what is holding things up. So the final launch date is set, we are moving towards a date and the client decides they want to wait.

    …and wait

    …and wait

    What do you do?

    Next week we will look at the Agency perspective and see how the waiting and other things can be resolved.

  • Issues with EE 1.14.3 / CE 1.9.3 and Malware Cleanup Recommendations

    This email provides updates on remediating sites impacted by the recent malware attacks and issues with newly-released Enterprise Edition 1.14.3 and Community Edition 1.9.3 software.

    Malware Remediation
    New malware strains impacting Magento sites have recently emerged. On Monday, we shared recommendations for identifying impacted sites and protecting your clients from future attacks. Today, we are posting another article on how to remediate a site that has been compromised by malware. You can find the article in the Security Center at https://magento.com/security/best-practices/remediating-your-site-after-malware-attack. Please review it with your team and share it with your clients.

    Issues with Enterprise Edition 1.14.3 and Community Edition 1.9.3
    Several issues with our most recent Magento 1.x release have been reported. Some affect functionality critical to store operations and we are working on a new release (Enterprise Edition 1.14.3.1/Community Edition 1.9.3.1) that is tentatively scheduled for the end of next week. Magento is aware of the following issues:

    • Search results return all store products
    • Some integrations using Magento APIs no longer work
    • Bundled product prices do not update
    • Store-specific attribute labels disappear
    • Auto generated passwords do not work for some customers
    • Exceptions appear for stores with disabled breadcrumbs
    • Free shipping sales rules are not calculated correctly
    • PHP warnings occur with the session timestamp variable

    We recommend that merchants wait to upgrade to Community Edition 1.9.3 and Enterprise Edition 1.14.3, and instead apply the latest security patch, SUPEE-8788, which does not have these issues.

    If merchants have already upgraded, are experiencing issues, and cannot wait for the new release, the Magento community has created a module that resolves the issues outlined above. It can be found at https://github.com/digitalpianism/bugfixes. Magento has not tested this module. If you and your clients decide to use it, we recommend you remove the community module and upgrade to Enterprise Edition 1.14.3.1 or Community Edition 1.9.3.1 as soon as they are available.


    Thank you,
    Wagento Team

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