Path to MVP – An Introduction to My Sitecore Product Idea
I admit it – I’m a Sitecore junkie. I started working with the Enterprise CMS back in 2013. At the time, I was at a small digital agency on a pretty big Sitecore implementation. I was hooked from the first demo and, in 2016, I decided to pursue my Sitecore Strategist MVP nomination. To my knowledge, I am the only independent Sitecore professional that’s working on a new product module. This is how my story begins.
Why pursue Sitecore MVP?
I would say most technology professionals know that certifications can play a huge role in your career path and growth. Some aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, while others are highly coveted.
I attended the Sitecore Symposium conference in 2014 in Las Vegas and 2016 in New Orleans as well as the Sitecore User Group Conference (SUGCON) in 2016 as well. I saw first-hand at these three conferences, how respected Sitecore MVP’s are. The first Sitecore Strategist MVP I met was Sean Rusinko. I was really inspired and impressed by Sean’s knowledge of digital marketing in general, but especially of his grasp on Sitecore’s capabilities from a marketer’s perspective as well.
From that moment on, I wanted to be a Sitecore Strategist MVP, and I made it my personal and professional goal to do so.
But achieving MVP status isn’t easy; you have to convince a current (technology or strategy) MVP or a Sitecore employee to nominate you. That’s easier said than done, especially as a client. Agency strategists and developers are at an advantage because they work on multiple Sitecore projects and platforms per year. As a Sitecore client, I only work on one project – my own!
How would I go about seeking my Sitecore MVP nomination? I’d come up with a new Sitecore module idea, that’s how!
What inspired my Sitecore module idea?If a Sitecore professional on the client side is at a disadvantage from an implementation perspective, we are at a distinct advantage from a functional perspective. In any given day, I spend at least 4 hours of my day logged into the Sitecore CMS. I know (almost) every nook and cranny of my CMS from a content editor and marketer’s perspective. I know both what my Sitecore CMS does well and what it lacks and that knowledge would serve as the inspiration for my Sitecore module idea. I’d come up with a new Sitecore product that solved the very problems I was experiencing! I also signed up to be on the Sitecore User Council as well. That means I get super-secret access to new feature concepts before anyone else. I even had to sign an oath of secrecy (actually, an NDA) not to talk about them before they’re released.
My Sitecore module idea – what am I doing, exactly?I manage a team of Sitecore editors and designers and there are a few core issues that we struggle with every day. I started to notice that these areas either remained neglected or they took a large portion of our effort to optimize. As a software professional, it made sense to attempt to come up with a set of tools to fix those problems and make our management of these areas more efficient. The challenges we encounter center around the following functional areas:
- SEO Optimization
- Content Optimization
- Social Media Optimization
- Quality & Accessibility Optimization
What are my project goals?I’ve led a number of Sitecore implementations, but this is the first product that I’ve architected 100% on my own. Here are the goals I’ve defined for this Sitecore module project:
- Create a full feature list in the four major functional areas (mentioned above)
- Categorize each feature by its priority and size (level of effort)
- Define a feature set that would be required for a minimum viable product
- Create user stories and acceptance criteria for most major feature areas
- Create user experience (UX) concepts for all minimum viable product features
- Perform market research to provide information on product viability, marketability, pricing estimations and market potential
Will my Sitecore module ever be built?When I first started this project, my original intention was simply to design a product so that I would be a better candidate for Strategist MVP nomination. The deeper I got into the product and the more detailed plans I built, the more I began to realize that this may actually be a viable product idea that could be brought to market.
- Form a team and build my Sitecore module
- Approach a Sitecore agency with my product
- Approach Sitecore themselves with my product