Client Portal Five

In the last week of April, we finally released Client Portal Five. We shifted from using CMB2 to create backend UI to go all-in with the Block Editor. Not only because it gives our customers better editing experiences, it also helps the business to keep up with the current WordPress development trend, by involving more and more JavaScript into our tech stack.

I’ve written about how Belinda helped us to smooth out the curve and take care of the most heavy part of the JavaScript development work. And luckily we still have her to keep an eye on this part after the release! We’re now in a one-week release cycle, where we try our best to ship a hotfix release every Monday, to patch Five.

Parkinson’s law

Doing things in small chunks has historically been working very well for me. In fact, the current tagline I’m using for this site: “1% better than yesterday,” more of less reflecting the same spirit.

It may not work for everyone, but I find it working for me because I’m kind of impatient and short tempered. If things take a bit longer and I don’t see the results I expected, I could easily consider it’s a failure and tend to drop the project. Chunking them in just a week or two works can create a feeling (a good delusion) that you’ve kept bringing things on the table and addressing issues for the customers or the stakeholders. So it’s a healthy and positive feedback loop.

And of course, the core of chunking is the Parkinson’s law. The amount of time you set can never reflect what you will finish, but more of the other way around. You come up with something you’d like to do, and you set a time limit. Then boom! You’ll be happy with anything you deliver because it is the best result you can have within this time frame.

It takes a team

Just like the famous joke: “how many engineers does it take to change a light bulb, ” you may wonder how many professionals you’ll need to run a software business. So far, the team I love to stay with, is usually with a “handful” of people.

Currently CosmicGiant has 3 full-time staff, including me, Travis and Karl, plus we have two part-time staff in the team for design and marketing. At Client Portal, it’s also around 5. For my other freelancing projects, it is also very common to work with less than 5 people here and there. Somehow, 5 seems to be the mental capacity I set up for building a team.

At core, the total number doesn’t really number, but more about if this group of people can collaborate with each other and creates some sort of harmony while moving towards the same direction.

With your first or second business, it’s very empowering to realize you can build something out of nothing with your bare hands. But after a while, if you would like to keep going, it’d be getting harder and harder to go solo.

What you need is not a family at work. (I personally am not against it, but I’ve heard that people nowadays see it a red flag if a company claims their coworkers are like a family.) But we do need comrades, who can help you unblock things and remind you of the blind sides.

Open to invitation

It is also not like you can just build up teams whenever you want to. For example, I’m a Projector in Human Design, who is famously advised to “waiting for an invitation”.

While it doesn’t mean all I can do is waiting, I certainly agree that, the most successful projects I’ve delivered are being invited to create. This includes being hired for freelancing roles.

I’m not the type of entrepreneurs who has strong desires to create things of their own, but I love building things for people who have the barebones of ideas. And I got to realize this is actually a rare kind of superpowers, in the era where people usually get credits for their “ideas”, but less for their “actions”.

Just a reminder that I’m open for more client work. Although I currently don’t have much availability, I’m happy to chat with you about your WordPress plugin/SaaS ideas. Feel free to drop me a line!

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