The Problem of People

The Problem of People and how we solve it with our new engagement model.

At XWP we’ve been serving our industry for close to 5 years. As part of the larger X company family, it’s been closer to 13 years. We’ve learned a lot of things over this time. It’s actually been so long that we’ve even had to “unlearn” some things due to the pace of change we see in our industry. One constant though is a problem we’ve observed, year in and year out, across every one of our client and partner engagements.

The problem of finding the right people.

Finding the right people to work on a team is hard. There’s absolutely no shortage of talent out there, but finding, connecting, and onboarding them is hard. No surprise the size of the recruitment industry.

We’ve seen this problem regardless of the type of engagement we’ve had with our clients. Be it:

  • Project engagement
  • Support engagement
  • Consulting engagement
  • Placement engagement

The underlying issue beneath all of these is that the company wants to do something and they need someone, or a team of someones, to come on board and help them get it done. Break it all down and this is literally why agencies exist.

We’ve also learned, sometimes the hard way, that the typical “agency way of doing things” just gets in the way. Our industry is amazing at producing complex proposals, SOWs, contracts, etc. Granted, clear documents and contracts are necessary to a safe and rewarding b2b relationship, but we’ve realized these are not what set a project up for success. They just mitigate risk. We’ve become clever at muddying the water and dressing up the “problem of people” as something else as we go about positioning, pitching, and growing our businesses.

The more we review the last decade we identify our biggest wins and best projects have 99.9999% of the time come down to having the right people on the project.

With all our learning we’ve decided to change things up. We want to establish a simple foundation that brings the right people to a project fast and sets them to work on the things that are important to our clients.

Effectively we’ve reworked our engagement model so that it simply enables work to get started and clearly outlines the parameters of the engagement in a way that scales rapidly. Up and down.

This works internally by:

  1. Having a highly optimized recruitment and resourcing model that includes rigorous vetting and onboarding.
  2. Engagement contracts that aren’t blocked by project scope definition but are rather geared around the number and type of team members joining a project.

With these two pieces in place, we can quickly bring the right people to a project and quickly set them to work. We can get the right people working fast. Whether an individual joins a team, a whole team joins a project, or a team manages a project, our engagement model sets the stage for doing great things with WordPress. And we do this by gearing the engagement parameters around the people.

If you’d like to learn more about how we’re facilitating this, we’d love to hear from you.

A New Look For XWP

Friends,

This is an exciting week for XWP. We finalise the implementation of our new Visual Identity, the visual piece of a larger project around defining our mission, purpose, and values.

XWP’s story has evolved over the course of a decade and has largely gone untold, until today.

XWP was formed in 2014 as an offshoot of X-Team, where many of us began working together. The inspiration for XWP was the influence we saw WordPress having on open-source technology, its ability to make information more accessible, and the power it had to connect people. With 8 years of experience working on WordPress projects we knew we were in a unique position to be able to contribute to the movement in a significant way. With this vision, XWP has brought people, cultures, and ideas together from all corners of the world, and has committed to help people and businesses imagine using WordPress in ways far beyond building a simple website.

Today, we power client projects for some of the most beloved brands and highly trafficked websites throughout North America and Australia with our remote team of 40+ contributors spread across 14 different countries. Our work solves big business problems with a focus on advancing the visual editing experience in WordPress, creating dynamic editorial workflows, and finding innovative ways of improving performance for websites where every millisecond matters. With each new project we create positive and memorable experiences through our commitment to people, innovation, and service.

The three principles on which our company was built guide us in our work: Empower people. Help them discover their strengths. Find ways to be of service to them. We have further expanded these to include our team’s shared core values and our purpose as a company. It is centered around relationships, service, leadership, teamwork, and continually learning and growing. This is what makes us and our culture unique, and it is the fuel behind the service and products XWP brings to market.

In 2016 we recognized that our look and branding needed to better represent our core values, our contribution to open-source technology, and our remote-work culture. This became the backbone of our branding journey and informed the production of our new visual identity.

With the help of our friends at Focus Lab, we have evolved our visual identity, and I am excited to share our new look with you. The work includes a complete refresh of our logo with supporting colors, typography and patterns, impacting everything from our website, social media presence through to the stationary and document templates we use.

A highlight from this collective effort is the custom typeface designed for us which seamlessly ties in with our logo. It is a great tool for expressing XWP in print and on screen, and eliminates heavy reliance on graphics and artwork.

Another highlight is the engineering work behind our new website. The website has become a playground for our developers, creating opportunity to explore new tools and technologies. The team has worked with Vue.js and the WordPress REST API to develop the site as a single page application.

The result of our rebrand lays a strong foundation for our visual communications going forward and we are excited for the future ahead. It is a privilege to serve you, our clients, partners and the WordPress community, and we are grateful to have incredible opportunities for growth, as we learn from our experiences together.

Thank you for being part of the journey with us, and you can count on us to continue to be there for you!

Tine Haugen,
Managing Director