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Making It Safe for Your Team to Experiment

You're on a great team. They always find a way. Nothing will stop them from maintaining the most super-competitive web presence, as long as there's a safe place for them to experiment.

Don't Want to Go Backwards?

"What we have works! We don't want to put that at risk!" And it's true - no one wants to risk losing the gains already made.

The web is changing so fast, what made for success a couple years ago - might not be what makes for success in 2021 or 2023.

"A web presence is critical to our team's success." So let's not go backwards.

Few things can be more stifling than a previous success, so make sure fear of change doesn't prevent you from improving!

What Makes for a Safe Place?

We need to be able to run experiments. Quickly and cheaply. thisisengineering-raeng-FDzh1--azLM-unsplash Our competition is coming out with lots of really promising web technology - constantly.

  • Lightning fast pages
  • New features
  • Drop in Web Components that they found on the web
  • Vendor enhancements that nobody even thought about a year ago
  • Different looks and graphic designs
  • A/B testing to measure which things work the best

So we need a place to try all this stuff on our local machines, first. Or on internal only - test sites. Whatever it takes.

And it has to be fast failures. "Safe" in this context can never mean that it takes longer than a few minutes to run an experiment. The danger? Running out of time or budget.

Tooling Up for Safe Experiments

WordPress can make for muuuch slower experiments - and that's putting the best possible spin on it.

That's because 2003 technology (as in WordPress) wasn't designed for fast, safe experiments, it was designed to allow non-technical people to get their site up by themselves, without tech assistance.

I'm making some declarative statements here that aren't always true for slower moving teams. WP isn't always a black hole - especially in the initial years. You'll know, when it's time to migrate your team to something more nimble.

For 2021 and beyond, you may want something more akin to an SSG where you can run an experiment on your computer in seconds. I use Rocket but there are plenty of other great SSG alternatives.

SSGs require minimal tech staff to set up, but that doesn't mean that it's difficult. More like - unfamiliar, at first. Nowadays, all corporate teams have access to minimally skilled tech staff - and that's enough to get started.

The P.o.C. is Your Friend

Would your team rather have another gruelling meeting about this or that abstract idea? christina-wocintechchat-com-faEfWCdOKIg-unsplash

How about not? How about just authorize a quick Proof of Concept?

Deploy it to an internal site. THEN you can have your meeting, only it won't be about hypothetical crazy fears that live in the shadows of manager's minds. It will be on the deployed Proof of Concept site.

Your meeting about the proposal can be fast, concrete, and to the point.

There is Even a Technical Approach to Safety

This isn't a technical article, so I will only mention this in passing: Regression Testing on SSGs is relatively easy and normal to do.

If you're not technical, that's just a fancy way of saying when some experiment breaks something unrelated, you can be informed automatically, without checking every page and feature manually.

Regression Testing does require a technical person to maintain. That's the fine print.

Outsourcing Options?

Yes, of course you can outsource a P.o.C. to someone like myself.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash


Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash


Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash