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