Good afternoon, team. I hope you’re having a great week. We’ve been making some significant progress here at Vibe HQ, and I’m excited to share some of what we’ve been up to in the coming days. For now, though, those of you who’d like a break from listening to me needn’t fret. Earlier this week I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of Vibe’s senior developers, to offer an insider's perspective into what we’re doing, how we go about it, and the important role that our community plays in shaping the paths that we embark upon. We’ve made a few tweaks to the app, which are represented in the last update we plan to make before the launch of VibePay+. I’m hopeful this will offer an insight into our plan of attack, and the processes behind our decision making.
We always stress the importance of updating our app. Could you explain why this matters, and why it’s particularly important this time around?
Every update includes bug fixes. In general, updating will stop you encountering issues you may have done in the past. So it's a good idea! In this particular update, whilst we don’t expect users to notice significant differences, we’ve made quite dramatic changes to how data is modelled in channels. It’s now much more efficient, and going forwards we’ll be able to keep improving them in a much more self contained way. We won’t have to re-engineer everything, so we can focus on particular aspects that we want to work on, like direct messaging, being able to control which users can message each other… Without these changes, that would be a nightmare.
We expect this to be the last version of the app to be released before we launch VibePay+. Are you able to share a little bit about what you’ve been working towards, and what the community can look forward to when it goes live?
Yeah, we’ve been working really hard on messaging in channels. That will exist behind a paywall, as part of VibePay+, and has been made possible by the changes we discussed earlier. VibePay+ will become a really valuable offering to those users who wish to have multiple business streams, or to draw a distinction between their personal and business transactions. You can really keep the different elements of your life in their own spaces. We’re at an exciting point now where we will be able to build upon the functionality. Being able to differentiate between regular and plus users is quite a big milestone.
Could you tell us about your processes as a product and dev team in a broad sense, when it comes to making these changes, and perhaps talk about the role that our community of users play in shaping what we do at VibePay?
Oh it’s total chaos, Will! No, that’s not true… Over the last few years I think we’ve really improved by strides with regards to how the product team works. We always try to strike a balance between having methods and processes that help us to do our work, whilst avoiding being too top heavy. We try to combine structure and flexibility. We use agile software methodologies that prescribe certain ceremonies, like sprint planning, and backlog reviews. We tend to pick what works for us. Perhaps we don’t adhere to that as formally as other teams, but it allows us to be dynamic. We can spend time on stuff that is as unexciting as maintenance, but by making sure that our code does things efficiently, we are able to make functional changes to the app, in line with the business’ overall strategy, when we need to. So with VibePay+ for example, we are adding major bits of functionality that reflect the strategic direction that VibePay is taking. The work that we undertake in uncovering bugs etc in the meantime means that we’re able to make these big changes in an efficient way. That is where the combination of flexibility and structure becomes really helpful. Our users are also really helpful when it comes to identifying issues and bugs, so they play a pivotal role.
Communication is really important for us. We have a fixed time where we meet every single day. We get on a video call and discuss the previous day’s work, and what there is to undertake in the day ahead. We flag the things that are important, the problems we’re encountering and where we need to succeed moving forwards. The rest of the day is shaped pretty organically.
I think the mixture between flexibility and structure that you touched on in your answer is really interesting; it gives us room to manoeuvre which I think is going to be really important when we put VibePay+ in the hands of our users. It’s going to be interesting to see how different members of our community adopt it, and how we subsequently adapt with that as it happens. The community will shape the experience they have. What does that mean for your team?
Our users really contribute to what we do. As well as highlighting issues and bugs for us to fix, they often bring forward use cases that we hadn’t perhaps considered. Typically, those ideas feed into the strategic priorities that all of us set for the business. We’re really looking forward to see how VibePay+ is adopted and we will be there to support the use cases that our users identify.