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Small Changes and Big Impact — Low Effort and High Reward in Product

Working in product one thing I consistently look out for is what I like to call low effort big reward items. 

Small things you can do that have a big impact. When we talk about low effort it could mean a day, it could mean two days. But it means overall minimal impact on other areas of the business. 

It improves the software or workflow for users and staff and has a real change day-to-day in how people interface with the product. 

Some of those changes come in the form of plugin updates for users. Some of those changes come in the form of changes for internal team workflows, tools or best practices. 

They might even be as simple as statement of practices (SOPs) for formalizing a process. 

But let’s dive into why we’re really here. 

Today at LearnDash we launched a nifty new internal tool for our support and account team. Before I reveal what it is, let’s examine the problem. 

Licensing — How to Verify?

Every software team knows the need to verify customer licenses to offer support, updates etc. At LearnDash our license verification was handled by our accounts team who also deal with hundreds of other requests a week. 

Being a global 24/7 team, sometimes someone from accounts wasn’t around when a support team member needed to verify the license and only the accounts team had access to that part of the system. 

It also wasn’t particularly quick, log into a system. Enter the email, if you didn’t know the email, try and find the key, you get the idea. It could take a few minutes to get the information. 

And the billing team handled 40+ requests a week. On busy weeks even more, at a conservative estimate that’s 3 hours a week on literally looking up a license. There has to be a better way? 

An Idea From a Spark

Last week I had a call with one of our accounts team to listen to their blockers, and what we could try and improve for them in our systems. It was a great conversation that sparked a ton of ideas. 

One of which was a license lookup bot. See most of our team work in Slack, customer interactions are handled in HelpScout. 

Slack works great with bots so why not build a custom one to lookup licenses? 

Queue a ping to our developer who handles infrastructure and systems with a loose spec for a license lookup bot called LDBot. 

Within a day we had a working prototype. And less than a week after conception we were ready to release! And let’s be clear, that’s not a full week’s work. More like 10-15 hours. To save 3 hours a week!

Now anyone on our team can ping the bot with a license key or an email address and it’ll return all relevant details about the license within a Slack thread. 

Today we formally released it to the team and reception has already been fantastic. It’s small quick changes that can have a big impact. 

And trust me we have plenty lined up for LearnDash customers too. 🙂

One of the things we ask ourselves every day at Stellar and Liquid Web is “how can we help”. A core value we bring to our colleagues and customers alike. How can we make this better for you? 
The best ideas are born out of asking how we can help and moving at speed to execute. I’m consistently impressed by our entire team every day throughout Stellar, Modern Tribe, Nexcess and Liquid Web.

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