Starting a New Project

[00:00:00] **Aurooba:** You are listening to View Source, a conversation around tech, web development, and WordPress with hosts. Aurooba Ahmed that's me and Brian Coords.

[00:00:13] **Brian:** All right. My opening question for you today. I got a really good one.

[00:00:16] **Aurooba:** Mm-hmm.

[00:00:16] **Brian:** I got a really, really hard one. You ready?

[00:00:18] **Aurooba:** Okay, I'm ready.

[00:00:21] **Brian:** What is the most off the rails project you've ever worked on? Project that just went totally off the rails. Be as vague as possible.

[00:00:33] **Aurooba:** Oh my God.

[00:00:34] **Brian:** Just like, give us a crazy story.

[00:00:36] **Aurooba:** This, so this project I, is it, what does it say? That I knew exactly which one to talk about. Anyway, this project started out as like a tiny little, um, you know, membership site. But for students. Um, and then it spiraled into a big platform that had a social media like component to [00:01:00] it and live streaming and everything.

[00:01:02] **Aurooba:** Oh. But it had an event driven timeline and had to be launched in under four months. And that included the design and all of these like permission issues. And it had like Gutenberg in the front end without like the back end. And it was like we started with 10 feature 10 items that it had to be, and it came out to like 60, but without having to extend the timeline.

[00:01:24] **Aurooba:** And I just like pretty much. Went crazy. It was a very, very bad time.

[00:01:30] **Brian:** Did, did that like shut you down after, like were you, were you off the map after that?

[00:01:35] **Aurooba:** I was, oh, for like two months straight. Like I took my first two month vacation after that and I didn't look at a computer. I refused to even go onto my computer to read an article.

[00:01:45] **Aurooba:** I was like, I never wanna see my machine, this computer for like two months. No

[00:01:50] **Brian:** Uh huh.

[00:01:50] **Aurooba:** I just, I couldn't handle it because I had been sitting there sleep deprived for like three months straight running on like three hours a day of sleep at most. Oh my God. [00:02:00] It was bad. I was scarred.

[00:02:03] **Brian:** I

[00:02:04] **Aurooba:** What about you?

[00:02:05] **Brian:** Well, you know, I was thinking more of when I, like the first ones that came to my mind were the ones where, you realize quickly like that you're building something that you just ethically like feel gross about?

[00:02:19] **Brian:** Like those, like have you read those like ones where you're starting to make something and you're like, oh, wait, I, I now see your business model and like I had one guy like, do you, you know, there's like the website, I, I, I dunno if they have it in Canada. It's like the BBB, it's like the Better Business Bureau.

[00:02:36] **Brian:** And it's basically like

[00:02:37] **Aurooba:** Yeah, totally.

[00:02:38] **Brian:** A list of all the companies and you can like, complain about 'em and stuff like that.

[00:02:41] **Aurooba:** Yeah, it's like Yelp for businesses.

[00:02:43] **Brian:** Yeah. And it's like the kind of old school like rating and he wanted me to make him one, but it was the reverse where people would complain about a company, sounds so dumb when I say it out loud, people would complain about a company and then that company would have to pay him to take it [00:03:00] down. So like, so you could post anything terrible about a company that you didn't

[00:03:06] **Aurooba:** Oh my God.

[00:03:06] **Brian:** Like that you didn't, and he, you would pay, you would pay him to take it off if you owned that company.

[00:03:12] **Aurooba:** That's,

[00:03:13] **Brian:** which is, I think just blackmail. And then,

[00:03:15] **Aurooba:** yeah,

[00:03:15] **Brian:** it all came out that it was all because of one company that he was super mad about. So he was trying to make this whole thing so he could be the first customer and put whatever person he was mad about, and then come to them and be like, you have to pay this.

[00:03:30] **Brian:** You know? It was like a whole, it was a whole thing.

[00:03:32] **Aurooba:** Oh my god. That Wow. Wow.

[00:03:36] **Brian:** That.

[00:03:36] **Aurooba:** Wow.

[00:03:37] **Brian:** That, that was one where I was like, I, I think, I think I'm doing a bad thing . You know, like

[00:03:44] **Aurooba:** Yeah. What an unethical website. That's like straight up extortion right there.

[00:03:48] **Brian:** Yeah.

[00:03:49] **Aurooba:** That's good. I'm glad,

[00:03:52] **Brian:** but, you know, I had a couple, but that one, that one came to mind. Uh, but you know,

[00:03:57] **Aurooba:** I don't think I've ever worked on anything like that. I, I'm pretty [00:04:00] picky about the projects that I pick on, work on, you know, even this Off the Rails one that I talked about, the only reason I still did it is because it was like really cool people with a really good cause and so

[00:04:10] **Brian:** mm-hmm.

[00:04:11] **Aurooba:** that made it manageable in my head, you know, working with them.

[00:04:16] **Brian:** Yeah. My early freelance days were a lot of projects where I felt like towards the end you'd be like, oh, this person's not gonna make their money. Like the, you know, like, like,

[00:04:26] **Aurooba:** yeah,

[00:04:26] **Brian:** that guy's never gonna make back what he did with his extortion scheme. I don't know that he ever even,

[00:04:30] **Aurooba:** yeah,

[00:04:31] **Brian:** found someone to finish it and launch it. But like a lot of those projects where nowadays you'd be like, I'm not gonna even take this project cuz this person's clearly does not have a business plan. And that's a red flag.

[00:04:42] **Aurooba:** Yeah, I definitely took on some projects like that too. I was just like, you know, you're spending all this money and I'm totally okay taking this because it's a great idea, but I actually don't think you're gonna make any money on this.

[00:04:53] **Brian:** Yeah.

[00:04:53] **Aurooba:** So that was a dilemma. But yeah, after that early time, I stopped taking those on too, [00:05:00] because it's just not worth the stress, you know?

[00:05:02] **Brian:** Yeah.

[00:05:02] **Aurooba:** The client gets stressed and then that stress like spills over on you and it's not cool.

[00:05:07] **Brian:** Yeah. Like clearly they're a person who has like bad judgment, you know, so like there's, there's, it's not like that's gonna be the only problem.

[00:05:15] **Aurooba:** Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

[00:05:18] **Brian:** So this, that's my segue opening question for the topic today, which is starting a new project, just like big picture, new project.

[00:05:27] **Brian:** It's about to start. Um, I think you're like the organization master and uh, um, so it's really just gotten chance.

[00:05:34] **Aurooba:** I have gotten better.

[00:05:36] **Brian:** We'll see, I'm going to, I'm gonna pick your brain apart on this one and think about, you know, even that one, that your example of like a project off the rails , that probably falls under the like scope creep kind of, uh,

[00:05:49] **Aurooba:** yeah.

[00:05:50] **Brian:** Umbrella.

[00:05:51] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:05:51] **Brian:** When you started that project, did you have safeguards in place, like for scope creep? Were you

[00:05:56] **Aurooba:** Yeah, we did, but they were not enough for [00:06:00] this particular project because, that, that, that project taught me a lot about how you, to, you should frame a project that is an MVP, like a, like something that they've never done before and it's like a new idea.

[00:06:13] **Aurooba:** How do you like scope that? Before that, I had never done an MVP, so I didn't really know how to manage scope creep in a situation where you don't have all the variables figured out and just won't when you first start the project. So that was a, it was a deep, very intense, difficult panic attack inducing learning lesson.

[00:06:33] **Brian:** Yeah, I mean, I, I think everybody learns about scope creep and contracts and timelines and what an MVP is, you know, the hard way.

[00:06:48] **Aurooba:** Mm-hmm.

[00:06:48] **Brian:** I think we all, every developer, I think, learns that the hard way with one bad client.

[00:06:54] **Aurooba:** The thing is they weren't a bad client. It was just that they were so invested and then [00:07:00] we were so invested in trying to give them the thing that they wanted, that the only way to do it was for me to not sleep.

[00:07:07] **Aurooba:** And so then I didn't sleep for a little while, which was not great, but, I have to say that what came out in the end was amazing. Like amazing. Yeah. It was like, wow, I am so proud of this, but I'm wow, so not proud of how I had to do it.

[00:07:23] **Brian:** Yeah. So my,

[00:07:24] **Aurooba:** yeah.

[00:07:25] **Brian:** First question of like starting new project in my mind is, is this right for WordPress or

[00:07:31] **Aurooba:** Yes.

[00:07:31] **Brian:** Or is it not a WordPress? Like that? What you described almost sounds like not a, like, not a WordPress, I mean, some, you know, WordPress is good at those sorts of things, but sometimes when you're trying to do too many things, so,

[00:07:44] **Aurooba:** mm-hmm.

[00:07:44] **Brian:** how did you decide WordPress versus non WordPress? And when you went WordPress, how did you decide like plugins versus like custom features, like

[00:07:55] **Aurooba:** Right.

[00:07:55] **Brian:** For all of that.

[00:07:57] **Aurooba:** So I think for me, I, [00:08:00] one, in terms of deciding whether it's WordPress or not WordPress, it depends for me a lot about like how much control the client needs in terms of like constant change and editing. Because if they need a lot of like content editing control and managements of that kind, it just makes sense to use WordPress usually.

[00:08:20] **Aurooba:** Right? Because it does get great content editing, especially with the block editor if you're using that. It has like good, like page control, user control, um, for the average project, the user permission role, the role types that WordPress has, makes a lot of sense, large ecosystem, can do translation. It can be really great, if a project has a lot of like API integrations or has like a lot of stuff that is dynamic on the front end where there's a lot of like front end interaction.

[00:08:54] **Brian:** Mm-hmm.

[00:08:55] **Aurooba:** then I might be like, okay, maybe this is a project that [00:09:00] needs to be WordPress and something else, or just not WordPress at all. Because sometimes it makes sense to split a project into like partially managed by WordPress and partially like a Laravel app or something else, right?

[00:09:10] **Brian:** Yeah.

[00:09:11] **Aurooba:** Um, or even headless. But I mean, my, my faith in headless is not fully there. So that's like a whole thing.

[00:09:18] **Brian:** Yeah. But uh,

[00:09:21] **Aurooba:** yeah. Um, but yeah, I think that that's like my major biggest like consideration, like how much control the client needs and what kind of interaction is happening on the front end. Those are the deciding factors of whether something's WordPress or not.

[00:09:35] **Aurooba:** Anything else?

[00:09:35] **Brian:** Now? Yeah, now like you are sitting on that project, you're thinking, you know, just vaguely you're talking about like a social sort of environment on it.

[00:09:46] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:09:46] **Brian:** And part of you could think, all right, I need front end login forms and user management and I need

[00:09:51] **Aurooba:** mm-hmm.

[00:09:51] **Brian:** uh, you know, some front end like content editing for users.

[00:09:54] **Brian:** Cuz I'm guessing there's a lot of users that aren't gonna be like seeing WordPress.

[00:09:59] **Aurooba:** Right.

[00:09:59] **Brian:** So [00:10:00] then how do you decide, all right, I'm gonna use, I'm gonna try to like hobble together, like, I don't know, BuddyPress and like Restrict Content Pro and like all these, you know, plugins and like try to get them all to work together.

[00:10:12] **Brian:** Or do you just sit down and go like, I should just do this myself, you know?

[00:10:16] **Aurooba:** Right.

[00:10:16] **Brian:** How do you make that decision?

[00:10:19] **Aurooba:** I think time and budget are two like initial factors, right? Um, and also complexity. Like, okay, with this particular project in, in the beginning, it didn't actually seem that complex. So it made sense to not only go with WordPress, but also in this case, like, yes, we actually did use BuddyPress on it or no, we used bbPress, not BuddyPress. Um, BuddyPress is like social media stuff, but bbPress is just the forums.

[00:10:44] **Brian:** Mm-hmm.

[00:10:45] **Aurooba:** Um, so yeah, we, we use bbPress on this project, um, because they needed that kind of interaction, but it didn't seem complex at the time, and that aspect really wasn't, so BB Press was a great fit.

[00:10:56] **Aurooba:** Um, but if you need, [00:11:00] like, I think that if a website needs more than like, I don't know what's a, what's a 10 plugins, but not 10 plugins, but 10 types of plugins. For example, Gravity Forms has a lot of add-on plugins, but I wouldn't count them as separate plugins. I consider that all Gravity Forms.

[00:11:18] **Brian:** Mm-hmm.

[00:11:19] **Aurooba:** So I wouldn't, so, but yeah, if you need 10 like unique plugins or more, this is a serious issue.

[00:11:26] **Brian:** You've got WooCommerce and you have a restrict content pro, and you have a BuddyBoss,

[00:11:32] **Aurooba:** WPML,

[00:11:33] **Brian:** whatever, and. Like the big plugins.

[00:11:35] **Aurooba:** Exactly.

[00:11:36] **Brian:** Like the big ecosystem plugins that like

[00:11:37] **Aurooba:** Exactly, yeah.

[00:11:39] **Brian:** They work together. But like it's never fun to like

[00:11:42] **Aurooba:** No, it's not

[00:11:43] **Brian:** Have them all happening. Yeah,

[00:11:45] **Aurooba:** it, yeah. And it can cause so many like unintended consequences or issues that some honestly, on that project, like I came up with so many issues that nobody, I could not doc find any documentation of anyone else coming across those because of [00:12:00] the way that we had to deal with it was so like wildly different from how other people were using those plugins together. So yeah, that can happen a lot.

[00:12:07] **Aurooba:** So I would say like 10, I would feel nervous. Even with 10, like I feel like if you have more than like six independent, like major plugins. That are providing major functionality, you need to probably seriously consider either custom coding it or not using WordPress.

[00:12:22] **Brian:** Yeah. Right.

[00:12:23] **Aurooba:** Yeah. Yeah.

[00:12:25] **Brian:** What about like project management side of it?

[00:12:30] **Brian:** Did you, with a project like that, I mean, you must have had to launch that project with like a ton of scaffolding, like, you know, a place where they could track all of the progress. A place where they could give feedback, a place, you know, recurring meetings. Yeah, all of that stuff. What?

[00:12:49] **Aurooba:** Well, I'm not a big believer in meetings, so there weren't a lot of recurring meetings.

[00:12:53] **Brian:** Okay. No Recurring meetings? No Quick hops on Zoom? No. Uh,

[00:12:57] **Aurooba:** we did have some quick hops in Zoom, but they were not [00:13:00] often and we definitely didn't have recurring meetings. We only scheduled a meeting if we found that we could not resolve the Async.

[00:13:10] **Brian:** Oh.

[00:13:11] **Aurooba:** Um, yeah. I think that project management and the choosing the right tool can be very powerful in mitigating the need for a lot of recurring meetings, but, it does require buy-in from everyone involved. Um,

[00:13:26] **Brian:** yeah, I mean, could every client get away? I mean, some people, some clients, they just want a phone call and an email every other day. Like, did you fee, do you, do you think like, how much of that was the client and how much of that were you able to, like, how do you, you know, how could you, like, make that happen?

[00:13:42] **Aurooba:** Um, you come in with the expectation and tell them that this is how it's gonna be, and if they try to not do it, you find ways to make it. You know, like for example, for the, for like the person you're saying who wants a phone call all the time, you teach them how to use Loom and then they can loom you stuff and then you can that,

[00:13:58] **Brian:** have you taught a client to [00:14:00] loom?

[00:14:00] **Aurooba:** Yes, I have taught a client to Loom . It's a verb now. Oh my goodness. Um, . It's a very weird verb. But anyway, um,

[00:14:08] **Brian:** yeah,

[00:14:09] **Aurooba:** yeah. I have taught a client to Loom and then they, I had one client who sent me like 10 looms in 10 hours, probably

[00:14:17] **Brian:** Uh huh,

[00:14:17] **Aurooba:** and then I would just sit down the next day and watch them all as one thing. And then I responded with one Notion comment cuz with this client, I was using Notion at the time and it was all fine.

[00:14:32] **Brian:** I mean,

[00:14:33] **Aurooba:** I think that if you are not willing to sacrifice your boundaries, the clients learn or you fire them.

[00:14:41] **Brian:** I mean, I do love the idea of a client sending a Loom. I mean, when they're in a good mood. I think we,

[00:14:48] **Aurooba:** yes.

[00:14:48] **Brian:** We've recently seen what happens when a client's not in a good mood and they send you a loom.

[00:14:51] **Aurooba:** Yes, yes.

[00:14:53] **Brian:** But yeah, I mean, I, I think what you're saying is like, you, you do give [00:15:00] your clients a little more like faith, like you put a little more faith in them that they can like join a modern workflow that, you know, some people are like, some clients live in, you know, Microsoft Office and they want to send you a Word document or a PowerPoint with like their notes, you know, that you need totally to scroll through and all that stuff and,

[00:15:20] **Aurooba:** and then you take that PowerPoint and you put it in your system and you make them a video on how you did that and how they could do it the next time, right?

[00:15:28] **Brian:** Mm-hmm.

[00:15:28] **Aurooba:** Whenever I onboard a client, they actually get a whole video from me on how to use the project management tool they're gonna be using with me. It's not a call, it's not a written thing, it's a recorded video made especially for them that they get. And I'm not gonna lie, it's actually prerecorded and I just do the first, like two minutes of me saying hello with their name, um

[00:15:50] **Brian:** mm-hmm.

[00:15:50] **Aurooba:** and they get that and it works, generally.

[00:15:54] **Brian:** Do you track if they watch it? Do you put like, uh, anything in there to like, see if they make it all the way [00:16:00] through? Like, I know Loom kind of tracks a little bit and

[00:16:03] **Aurooba:** it's on Vimeo, so I see that they, if they have, if it has a view or not. So Vimeo does have analytics, so I do, I can't see if they watch it or not, but the real test is basically when I do it, I also set up like test tasks, things I need them to do in there to

[00:16:17] **Brian:** mm-hmm.

[00:16:18] **Aurooba:** like illustrate their acknowledgement and understanding of how things are gonna be. Um, and I also provide alternatives. Like, for example, um, one of the designers I worked with really liked ClickUp. And so when we were on a project that they used, um, you know, ClickUp has the ability to work with email as well, so people could email and it will show up as a comment on a task.

[00:16:40] **Aurooba:** And you can have the ClickUp email, the task, and its information to the client. So there are ways to deal with that. And if you have a project management tool that can, and you should, um, then you are able to work in the way you know best and you can, for the most part, allow your client to either get acclimated [00:17:00] to your system or find a compromise that will work for them too.

[00:17:05] **Brian:** You let your, now that you've set everything up, do you let them see, I don't know, do you have a separate place for internal conversation? Do you have like, like if you, you have another developer on the project

[00:17:17] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:17:17] **Brian:** And you're setting it up, you know, there's sometimes it's like, you know, you wanna be transparent with a client, but there's just conversations that sound scary to a client.

[00:17:26] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:17:26] **Brian:** Because they're not developers.

[00:17:27] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:17:27] **Brian:** And they don't really need to be a part of that conversation, so,

[00:17:29] **Aurooba:** yeah.

[00:17:30] **Brian:** Didn't, didn't you feel like you get lost in the like, oh man, I gotta like check my this and log into that. And they messaged here.

[00:17:37] **Aurooba:** Mm-hmm.

[00:17:38] **Brian:** but I need to triage it to over here. But then they want to message back like this, and then I'll record a Loom.

[00:17:43] **Brian:** And I, when I started with Loom, I would give like names to all my videos and put 'em in folders. But now I don't do that at all. Now my Loom is just like a giant trashcan full of videos that just are named, you know, screenshot or something. It's like, am I [00:18:00] describing a real thing or it's just my own example?

[00:18:02] **Aurooba:** Yeah, you totally are. But I mean, okay. The original question, you were talk, talking about how much, how much access you give your client, right?

[00:18:10] **Brian:** Yeah.

[00:18:10] **Aurooba:** In terms of like conversations that are not directly client facing. So I learned this from a designer actually. Um when I first came onto their project, and this is like a few years ago, but the way they set up their space is they had a client space and then they had what they called a production space.

[00:18:27] **Aurooba:** The client space is where all the client interaction is happening. The production space is where the developer and designers are all talking to each other, but that space is actually accessible to the client as well. But they're not notified about any activity in that space. But they can always go and they can look, and that's where most of the high level conversations happen.

[00:18:44] **Aurooba:** But then there was a secret, sort of an internal section to it too, where you could have conversations that, you know, you definitely never want the client to see because it doesn't make sense for them to see it. Right. So most of the work was happening

[00:18:55] **Brian:** And that's called iMessage, texting.

[00:18:56] **Aurooba:** No, it wasn't, it was actually inside. Inside the actual thing.[00:19:00]

[00:19:00] **Aurooba:** But sometimes Slack too, right? I mean, slack serves that role in internal teams too.

[00:19:04] **Brian:** Yeah.

[00:19:04] **Aurooba:** But. But yeah, so like there is, there was a certain level of transparency, so I wouldn't say it was a hundred percent transparency, but it was like 80% transparency, but in a manner that didn't bug the client and didn't like incentivize them to go look at it.

[00:19:21] **Aurooba:** But it's totally there if they want to go look at it, which I think is like the perfect way to deal with that in general. Like I think, and I adopted that almost immediately after, because I love that the clients have as much access as they choose to have. But you still have a space that is slightly private as well, if you need. Um,

[00:19:43] **Brian:** yes.

[00:19:43] **Aurooba:** Yeah, I just thought it felt like it was a good balance.

[00:19:45] **Brian:** Some clients wanna snoop on everything and see every little thing, and then most clients, I would bet, or at least the majority

[00:19:53] **Aurooba:** don't care,

[00:19:53] **Brian:** will just respond when, something gets sent to them two or three times, you know, the third time you say the same thing, they respond to [00:20:00] it. There was, um,

[00:20:00] **Aurooba:** exactly.

[00:20:01] **Brian:** We've used like Basecamp in the past, I dunno if you've ever used Basecamp, but it had a really good sense of, um, on the top of any thing, there'd be like a blue bar or so, or a different color for like the client can see this or this is internal and everything

[00:20:16] **Aurooba:** That's cool

[00:20:16] **Brian:** was one of two. And you could always know, like, so you could use any tool.

[00:20:21] **Brian:** you could make a to-do list, but you could have two different to-do lists. One would very clearly say client and the other one would

[00:20:26] **Aurooba:** right

[00:20:26] **Brian:** say like internal. And so every tool you could just kind of like, you could have a chat that's with the client, a chat without, you could have a post, a status update that's internal or a status update

[00:20:38] **Aurooba:** right

[00:20:38] **Brian:** that's, you know, so, um,

[00:20:40] **Aurooba:** That's awesome.

[00:20:40] **Brian:** I think they really handled that super well.

[00:20:43] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:20:43] **Brian:** How do you set the expectations of communication? Like if you're not doing a weekly standup with a client. Say it's a big project, they're not doing a weekly standup and you're sending them updates. Do you still have some sort of a schedule like, you know, every Friday by noon, that's when you, you know, [00:21:00] expect it.

[00:21:01] **Brian:** Even if it's, even if it's async, like there's a rhythm to it, there's an expectation that you wouldn't go a certain amount of time or that every certain Friday or whatever the day is, you send them some update

[00:21:11] **Aurooba:** yeah, so usually there's a weekly update. It's either on a Friday or a Monday, depending on what's been agreed upon with the client and their own preference usually.

[00:21:19] **Aurooba:** Um, so it did differ by like project, but yeah, and I pretty much have a template and it's like basically the Scrum template, you know? Um, which is, what am I working, what did I work on? So what did I work on in this past week? What is what I'm going to be working on this week? And here are the issues or blockers that I had.

[00:21:37] **Aurooba:** Super standard gets, gets them all the information they need. It has like super helpful links to it, like, you know, related tasks that they can look at or whatever. And, and I also have like a, Hey respond, please let me know in a comment that you read this. Like, you know, they're required to provide their acknowledgement.

[00:21:54] **Aurooba:** Um, and clients really like it. They like feeling part of the loop [00:22:00] on a schedule they can trust. And even when that's async, it works. It works really well. I mean, I found that even clients who were like super like into meetings and everything, they adjust very quickly to it and find that they actually really prefer it.

[00:22:15] **Brian:** And

[00:22:16] **Aurooba:** yeah.

[00:22:17] **Brian:** I'm thinking we got tech, WordPress picking all of that sort of stuff. We talked a little bit like project management, setting up that

[00:22:26] **Aurooba:** mm-hmm.

[00:22:26] **Brian:** like piece of it. Communication, client expectations. Is there anything else that's like when you're starting a new project, one other area where you're like, oh, I do a little bit of prep and time.

[00:22:40] **Brian:** You know, what else am I

[00:22:41] **Aurooba:** Documentation. Training and documentation. Right? Like that's such a core part

[00:22:45] **Brian:** For like after the project.

[00:22:47] **Aurooba:** Yes. Okay. So I think that even though it is delivered after the project, it's something that you kind of have to do while you're doing the project. Right. Um, For me like it, like let's say you [00:23:00] have a project and it has a design component and a development component.

[00:23:03] **Aurooba:** It literally starts with the design, right? Like in the design, we've decided that these are the kind of functionality and features we're going to have. Okay, cool. Let's put that into a document. Awesome. Now the developers created the stuff in the development stage. Okay, cool. How do you actually interact with that as a client to actually create that functionality, like, you know, use that functionality and then usually you need to like refine that and make that super easily accessible to the client. It not only serves as a great template for you when you're training the client, um, on video, but it's a great referral, like a great reference for them after the fact because who wants to constantly go through a recorded video just to find that one tiny thing when you could go control it or, or command f in a written document and find that quick thing and be done.

[00:23:45] **Aurooba:** Right. So to me, that's like a important piece. Um, and I've gone like back and forth on how I provide that to the clients. I've done the Google Doc thing doesn't work well. I've done the PDF thing works even worse. I've done [00:24:00] the, there's like a WordPress help plugin. WP help used to be, yeah,

[00:24:05] **Brian:** uh huh.

[00:24:06] **Aurooba:** But one, it wasn't, it wasn't updated for a long time.

[00:24:09] **Aurooba:** And two, I found the whole experience to be kind of awkward. So now I've landed. Right now, currently my practice is to create a set of private pages on their website, which has all of this information. So it'll even has like interactive, like here is what a, this block would look like once you use it.

[00:24:26] **Brian:** Mm-hmm.

[00:24:26] **Aurooba:** right there. And I also make a PDF of those pages just in case, just in case they lose access to their site. Um, but otherwise they're in their site. They can open up these private pages, see what the information is, see how I actually built a particular thing, because they can go and look at the actual editor for it, and it's really nice.

[00:24:46] **Brian:** So I've noticed that recently on, especially developers working on like block editor sites where that sort of like, here's the documentation, it's just a private, you know, page on the [00:25:00] site or a draft or something like that. And

[00:25:02] **Aurooba:** yeah,

[00:25:02] **Brian:** as you're building out block custom blocks or shortcodes or whatever, you're just like slowly documenting them into like one document.

[00:25:08] **Aurooba:** Mm-hmm.

[00:25:08] **Brian:** because like you said, you can, like, you can literally just click edit.

[00:25:12] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:25:12] **Brian:** And see exactly what it looks like on the back end. You can go back and forth between the two. I think that might end up being the best way to do a thing like that might be. And then especially like as WordPress, you know, say you are building like block patterns for a client.

[00:25:31] **Aurooba:** Exactly.

[00:25:32] **Brian:** And you have, you know, you're starting to build out that library of block patterns. Um

[00:25:36] **Aurooba:** Mm.

[00:25:37] **Brian:** I mean, I remember what's the plugin? You know, the little like help tab at the top of WordPress and you click and it like slides down and it there is

[00:25:44] **Aurooba:** mm-hmm.

[00:25:44] **Brian:** like in the backend of WordPress, you can click help and it like, comes down.

[00:25:47] **Aurooba:** You can do that. Yeah.

[00:25:47] **Brian:** Yeah. And you can like, there's like plugins that hook into it that like

[00:25:51] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:25:51] **Brian:** You can add videos and all stuff that

[00:25:52] **Aurooba:** You can add information

[00:25:52] **Brian:** stuff. Yeah. And like, of course all the videos are like recorded from like WordPress 3.0 and like, you know, it's like, and you can add your own, but like, you're [00:26:00] not gonna do that for every client.

[00:26:01] **Brian:** So I, I do think I kind of like the, uh, the page, do you link to it? Do you put like a link somewhere? Like?

[00:26:09] **Aurooba:** Yeah, so I have a support, I create a support meta box on the dashboard. Mm-hmm. and it's linked straight there. Plus like a button to email me if you need or whatever. Yeah. Like in some cases it's not an email, but a support ticket system, et cetera.

[00:26:21] **Aurooba:** So it's like it's there for them. Um, yeah. And

[00:26:25] **Brian:** no like top level,

[00:26:26] **Aurooba:** I actually have that

[00:26:26] **Brian:** menu thing little like on the, like under WP Engine. It's like

[00:26:30] **Aurooba:** you could do that. That's a good idea. But I found that I just like okay, yeah, that's like other gripe with dashboard. Sometimes people use too many top level menu items.

[00:26:39] **Aurooba:** This, we could have like a whole conversation about like CMS dashboard, like design and setup, but I don't like to add it unless it's super, super necessary. And I find that actually just keeping on the dashboard is more than accessible for most people.

[00:26:54] **Brian:** Yeah. And there's like plugins where you're kind of like, you know, rearrange the,

[00:26:59] **Aurooba:** I know

[00:26:59] **Brian:** [00:27:00] sidebar and like I, that always scares me.

[00:27:02] **Brian:** I don't like messing with it. Um, I mean, you can hook into it and, and change things and stuff. I don't know. I, I've been this a side tangent, but I've been messing around with full side editing and I've been using what, as of time that we're recording right now, it's not released, but it's in the plugin, which is like the brows mode where it basically looks like Squarespace and it's like your website takes up like two thirds of the screen and then there's just like a very clean black, like sidebar and there's no, there's none, you know, there's no WordPress like OG Chrome. It's all gone.

[00:27:34] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:27:34] **Brian:** You're only in the site editor. And it's just like the, the fact that it's like we're erasing everything. No tools, no settings, like you can get to it. It's, it's pretty

[00:27:45] **Aurooba:** mm-hmm.

[00:27:45] **Brian:** easy to get back to it, but you're just not seeing any of it.

[00:27:48] **Brian:** Like I could imagine that version of WordPress existing for editor and below users, like

[00:27:57] **Aurooba:** a hundred percent.

[00:27:58] **Brian:** Old WordPress [00:28:00] only shows up for the administrator. Everybody else gets new WordPress. Um, I mean, it has a long way to go and it's only for the site editor type stuff, but like, just modifying your content and like, you know, they don't need to see settings.

[00:28:12] **Brian:** They don't even need to see users like just hide a lot of that stuff. Like I could see that being the case. And then have your one little like, help guy in the corner that's like your own custom like screen that you render.

[00:28:24] **Aurooba:** Maybe that's a little bit like what does, right? Like in

[00:28:29] **Brian:** Yeah.

[00:28:29] **Aurooba:** When you have a site, you can be inside their like custom, they have a name for it, which I don't remember anymore, but like their React.

[00:28:35] **Brian:** Yeah,

[00:28:35] **Aurooba:** like interface, right? But you can also say, you know, I wanna go and see the actual WordPress dashboard. And then you're presented with like everything.

[00:28:43] **Aurooba:** Otherwise it's like this really clean interface with just the stuff you need in order to publish really well. And the simple settings area, which is just has like the basic stuff that you might reach for more often, and like I remember helping a client who was on and honestly like for the most part, I found that [00:29:00] to be like a really nice separation for a content creator, right?

[00:29:03] **Aurooba:** Someone who just like the editor and below, like you said, like the people who just need to deal with that content creation aspect of the CMS and not everything else. So I, I agree. I can totally see that being a thing.

[00:29:17] **Brian:** I mean, I, we'll check back in like seven, eight years and we'll see if they've made that progress.

[00:29:23] **Brian:** I mean, I, I'm hopeful, but I'm also like, you know, it's literally just two things. And, and it's still pretty rough. Like it's just templates and template parts and it's still pretty rough.

[00:29:34] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:29:34] **Brian:** And like, it doesn't even have like a lot of the other stuff. I mean, it's a be it's like beta. It's not, it's not released or anything.

[00:29:40] **Brian:** It's just,

[00:29:40] **Aurooba:** it's super beta. Yeah.

[00:29:42] **Brian:** Yeah. And, but the more I've been using it, um, once you get into that workflow of like, templates, template parts and stuff

[00:29:49] **Aurooba:** mm-hmm.

[00:29:50] **Brian:** um, the, the actual animation from clicking a template part, going to edit it and then like getting into the gutenberg editor is like instant.

[00:29:59] **Aurooba:** Yeah.

[00:29:59] **Brian:** It's [00:30:00] like,

[00:30:00] **Aurooba:** yeah, it's slick.

[00:30:01] **Brian:** It's like, oh wow. Like I'm, I am in an app now. Like I'm in an app now and it's it.

[00:30:05] **Aurooba:** Yeah,

[00:30:06] **Brian:** it is. You're like, okay. I kind of see why they did it this way. I mean, should they have used like a better,

[00:30:10] **Aurooba:** and you feel focused, right? You feel like it's like a no distraction mode in order to do this stuff, which is like a really nice vibe.

[00:30:18] **Brian:** Which is weird cuz I hate the full screen mode in the normal block editor. I hate it. I need my sidebar. But like,

[00:30:26] **Aurooba:** I love the fullscreen mode,

[00:30:27] **Brian:** I mean, do you

[00:30:29] **Aurooba:** Yes. I never have the sidebar in the block editor. I hate it. I hate it so much. Are you, are you like, oh my God, why have my friends with this person

[00:30:39] **Brian:** my internet connection? It's not working. Um, I don't know. Well, it depends on the mode though like when you're in like, yeah, building a website for somebody mode and you're like, go into the settings, checking the plugin, check into this doing of that. It's like, I need it all I need, I need to go to the front end, to the back end all.

[00:30:57] **Brian:** But like when you're just in like site editor [00:31:00] mode and you're messing with full site editing that and yeah, it was kind of nice like getting there. Now, of course, nothing still, the, the, the design parity from front end to the back end is still so, so bad where I'm like, oh, this padding between these two elements is so big, and then I go to the front end and they're right next to each other.

[00:31:20] **Brian:** Like, there's still a lot of that. But

[00:31:22] **Aurooba:** yeah,

[00:31:22] **Brian:** I, I, I get, I get it, I get it.

[00:31:25] **Aurooba:** Yeah,

[00:31:26] **Brian:** Did we get everything, how to set up a project, project management, um we did scope creep, all the good stuff.

[00:31:36] **Aurooba:** Yeah, we creeped right into the Gutenberg thing, scope creep, right in this episode,

[00:31:40] **Brian:** that's, uh, every WordPress podcast goes like, has to have like two minutes on, how they feel about Gutenberg. So let's cut it off there.

[00:31:50] **Aurooba:** Yeah. Let's, let's do that.

[00:31:53] **Brian:** See you next time.

[00:31:55] **Aurooba:** See you next time.

[00:31:57] **Brian:** Visit for the latest updates and links [00:32:00] to the show notes. Review and subscribe to viewSource in iTunes, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Creators and Guests

Aurooba Ahmed
Aurooba Ahmed
(she/her) Developer building bespoke #WordPress solutions, tools, and blocks. My name is pronounced "oo-ROO-ba" — Default to kindness, folks.
Brian Coords
Brian Coords
WordPress developer and writer blah blah
Starting a New Project
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