What: Wordpress site for a political youth organization of a german party (~ 1000 members)
Time frame: Several months in 2014</li>
Cost: I am part of that orgnization, so I did it for free ;-)
Every member of the executive board with the right permission can post articles.
I used a simple wordpress plugin to do the member management.
Enable new members to sign up online
Pupils who want to join our organization can now apply online instead of mailing us a print out.
Included an RSS Feed of important government sites
Modern and professional design
Communication with a big democratic orgnaization is time consuming.
The executive board of the youth organization only gets together around 8 times per year. Mayor changes (like a new way for people to become a member) need to be discussed with the entire group. Sometimes that was really frustrating.
Try to find a way to make decisions quickly.
A solid plan saves you a lot of time and trouble
In hindsight this sounds like a no brainer. When I started I had no idea which features I wanted to implement and when I wanted to be finished with the project. It was my first web project ever. I would highly recommend sketch out all your features first on paper or with a simple tool like Sketch, get a buy in from all responsible parties and THEN start coding.
It took way longer than I thought
I have never done a web project before, I thought it’s not real programming it’s just wordpress… Oh my god was I wrong. At the end I had to modify plugins which took years as I didn’t know php properly.
Look at your schedule for the next weeks/months if you have enough time for your project!
Adverse circumstances made me procrastinate on the project
At some point I was not happy with the code implementation, so I refused to finish this particular feature and instead started another one. Then I was not pleased by design aspects of the new feature and switched to back to the old one. At the end it was kind of mess and it took me way more energy to really finish the project than if I would have build the featues sequientially.
Get things done before moving on!
Don’t start coding without a final agreement
This issue is related to my approach to start working without a real plan. I ended up developing a feature wihout a discussion beforehand. Sometimes I got the feedback that there is no need for the feature or even worse we can’t use it for other reasons and I need to remove the feature again.
Use the startup approach and always get feedback before you actually start building a feature/product.
I didn’t use version control…
At that point I didn’t know that git exists. So I developed version v0.9 then v0.95 followed by v1.0, then v1.05, went back to v0.95 and continued with v2.0. It was a total mess…
Use version control early on.
Leaving your comfort zone can lead to a steep learning curve.
I had worked for a german science institut on some microcontroller projects before I started working on this Wordpress project. You can say I had NO IDEA what I was doing. You can learn a lot on the way. I just googled, stackoverflowed and youtubed a lot. At the end I had a pretty decent knowledge about Wordpress.
Make bold moves and just try even if you are not 100% certain that you can make it!
Creating is way more fun than consuming
This goes especially to all my friends in Germany because you tend to be too shy to actually publish your work. Creating stuff is so much more fun when other people give you feedback. It doesn’t matter if you build a company or just feed your facebook timeline with interesting content. As long as you get feedback - you will have fun.
Start being a creator instead of a consumer!