A few weeks ago we announced that we had left survival mode and entered into thrive mode. One outcome of that change is that we have been able to resume agile development practices which include retrospectives.
Retrospectives are conducted at the end of a “sprint” and are a time for teams to reflect on how they have been working with the goal of continuously improving their processes. We want Steemians to have as much insight into what we are doing as possible, so today we’d like to share with you a summary of what we discussed in our most recent retrospective which covered the past 3 months.
Things that went well
- MIRA was merged into production and succeeded in dramatically reducing the costs of running a node.
- We were able to continue making big cost reductions.
- We were able to onboard a new developer and quickly transition him to working on all layers of the stack.
- On a technical level, all of our deployments went smoothly and there were virtually no production issues.
- We cleaned up the condenser (steemit.com) repo by closing outdated issues, merging completed PRs and organizing the rest into buckets. This has made our efforts on public repos more transparent.
- We’ve reestablished good project management practices.
- We rolled out featured posts (and made a lot of changes to it to improve our communication outreach).
- We’ve engaged with the community on important matters, listened to their valuable feedback, and integrated it into our plans.
- We’ve released more public communications and the overall engagement on those communications is way up (some is even positive!).
- On a technical level, the wallet split rollout was smooth (more on this in the “Things that could be improved” section).
- Thanks to the wallet split, we have been able to merge in MANY more community contributions and our development cycle for condenser has rapidly increased.
- Thanks to the wallet split, user keys are handled more securely.
- The ad program has matured a lot and begun generating more revenue. Splitting out the wallet alone added around $45,000 in revenue to our bottom-line.
- Thanks again to the wallet split, we were able to migrate to a different CDN which has reduced our costs $8,000-$10,000 a month.
- We were able to assist Flipside Crypto in their Steem blockchain integration. Because so few blockchains have the kind of user activity that Steem does, the Flipside team was not taking full advantage of all the publicly shared data on the Steem blockchain. By helping them process the publicly available data which reflects user activity, our assistance may improve Steem’s FCAS score
Things that could be improved
- Communication with the wallet split wasn't as good as we thought it was (“Featured” posts were a response to this).
- We didn’t identify how disruptive the wallet split was going to be to user experience, which means it was difficult to communicate to users about it.
- MIRA development was longer than expected.
One of the guiding principles behind retros is that the first step to solving problems is acknowledging that they exist. The idea is not necessarily to know how you are going to fix all of the problems you identify as much as acknowledge where your weaknesses lie in the hopes that you will not continue making the same mistakes over and over. Instead, you want to make “new and exciting mistakes.”
We did, however, have some interesting discussions about how we can move forward. One thing we discussed was the potential need to highlight early on how different a Steem account is than an ordinary social media account. When Steem and steemit.com first launched, just getting people to consider using a blockchain-powered social application was a massive hurdle.
At that time it made sense to frame steemit.com as “just another social media app." But the reality is that a Steem account is closer to being a financial account than a social media account, and as long as we pretend this is not the case, users will continue to have a disappointing user experience.
One of the things we’ve learned is that we aren’t always a very good judge of what the community feels is needed. That’s why we’d love for you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. What do you think went well over the last 3 months and what do you think we need to improve the most?
The Steemit Team