Doing Stuff Quickly

So today we switched on the new Living Stones Blog. I say ‘switched on’, it’s been live since we started making it – yesterday evening. It’s actually taken under 3 hours to go from nothing to what you see now.

It was quick for two reasons – 1) we already had most of the infrastructure in place via WordPressNetwork‘ [of blogs] and 2) because it’s WordPress it’s quick and easy to deploy and customise.

It’s web tools like this that allow us to do stuff quickly. And doing stuff quickly is important.

Doing stuff quickly allows us to do more. Plain and simple. In the last 2 months we’ve launched 3 blogs, lined up another, built the infrastructure to support them, begun the process of replacing our printed Welcome Sheet with a weekly email (thanks to Mailchimp), started posting all church news on the website and all the while carried on doing everything else.

Doing stuff quickly allows us to iterate. The Living Stones blog you see now (depending when you read this) is almost certainly not what you’ll see in a month or two. What we’ve built is a Minimum Viable Product. In practice this means we can get a working product out there, see what reaction’s like and then do more work according to that. It’s far easier to talk to someone about what they’d like to see from something when it actually exists.

Doing stuff quickly allows us to fail. Failing’s important, if we don’t fail we don’t learn. If we can’t/won’t respond to a failure by iterating what we’ve got, we can pull the plug without losing too much spent resource down the drain – because it was quick to build.

Doing (tech) stuff quickly allows us to focus on the important stuff. Tech really isn’t very important in this. It’s the culture change and helping people that really matters. Getting the tech build out the way quickly gives us more time to do that.

So there you go – that’s why we use web tools like WordPress and Mailchimp to help us do stuff quickly.

What have I forgotten? What have you done quickly? You know where the comments are people…

(Stuff like this also allows us to do stuff easier, cheaper, better, etc. as well as quicker. But they’re whole new posts!)

Creative Commons photo credit: Speed Wagon by Peter Roome on Flickr

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2 Responses to Doing Stuff Quickly

  1. avatar Chris says:

    Jon – it is amazing what frameworks like WordPress allow us to produce – the ability to rapidly prototype and develop does aid quick projects, and to get quality design online quickly. I’d add it’s rewarding to see content develop quickly, and that can really encourage non techies that the web can quickly deliver what they need.

    However, I would say that your article missed a couple of the risks – particularly that the ability to rapidly develop a framework for a site is not the same as being able to rapidly (and consistently) deliver content for a site. The internet is full of very beautifully designed blogs which only have one or two posts. Failure to populate a site with regular content can quickly make a project or organisation look dated. A visitor can easily ask ‘Why haven’t they posted in two months? Has nothing happened? Have they closed? Is this even important to them?’

    For me, it comes down to a judgement on momentum. If doing stuff quickly allows you to keep up with a ‘wave’, and people are brimming with contributions, then the ‘rapid evolution’ approach is more likely to succeed. You can harness the energy, not lose people to other projects, and keep up the pace. However, if doing things quickly means you start without first building a willing foundation of content contributors, you risk finding your blog doesn’t have enough ‘content fuel’ to reach a steady orbit, and the opportunity is lost.

    The best picture for me is like the start of a horse race – you don’t open the gates for the quick bit until you have a whole row of eager jockeys and horses ready to burst out the gate when you let them. It is the getting them all into the stalls and pointing in the same direction takes a lot of time!

    If the riders aren’t metaphorically ready (and to cheekily quote your tweet), we end up starting every post with a ‘first one in a while’ apology, which hardly communicates the passion that inspired the project in the first place.

    That said though, Living Stones is a rich treasure trove of stories though. I hope lots of people are ready to hop on their horses and get writing for you.

  2. avatar Helen Nixon says:

    It is good to hear that you feel your efforts are not absorbed in long lead in times, but it must still be a great deal of work to produce and keep on top of all the various pages and links – many thanks for all that the team is doing (and for the contributions from various St John’s members)

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