On Episode fifty-one of the WordPress Briefing podcast, join WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy as she makes a case for why routine is a good thing– in life and in the WordPress project.
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Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Santana Inniss
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:00]
Hello everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing, the podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks.
I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go.
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:00:29]
All right, my WordPress wonders; it’s time to join me for one of my gentle rants on basic leadership principles. Today we’re talking about the importance of routine and predictability in everyday life. But don’t worry, I’m gonna tie it all together with WordPress, too. So by now you’re probably aware that I don’t really consider myself one of those “born leaders.”
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:01:00]
Over the years, I’ve put a lot of effort into researching characteristics of good leaders and general leadership methods overall. But one of the things I encountered early on in my leadership learning journey was the concept of routine.
As with most leadership practices I hold, routine has more than one purpose. From a very pragmatic standpoint, routines provide predictability and the more predictable something is, the lower the cognitive load becomes, which in turn lets you use your thinking power for something better. For instance, if you know that in every check-in with your team lead, she’s gonna ask you what you were proud to have shipped last week, what you want to ship next week, and what things stand in the way of your plans, then you know that that is what you have to prepare for.
The knowledge work, the thinking part. The thinking part stops being, what is my team lead going to ask me and starts being what is the problem that she can help me solve?
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:02:00]
But from a more human standpoint, that kind of predictability helps us to understand when something that happened is out of the ordinary. Whether it’s a notification of a comment left on your blog or syntactical highlighting that lets you know that you’ve written something that’s out of voice or against grammar standards, it just lets you know that something is unusual there and deserves your attention.
Now for me, this has a lot of applications across the WordPress project. There are the obvious things like the cadence of our major release cycles or our notification system, which honestly could use a bit of TLC, a little bit of elbow grease.
But there are also less obvious things that this idea still applies to simply because of the way our brains work, the information architecture on our sites, for instance. It should make sense visually and semantically because that makes it easy for us to skim and predict where the highest value content is for us. Or the user interface across the back end of our software.
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:03:00]
Having familiar tasks or actions across any type of content or area of content makes it easier for a site maintainer to flow from one area of a site to the next, fixing things as they find them without necessarily having to stop and put down their hammer and pick up a screwdriver or whatever metaphor works for you. Or if you’re doing more nuanced work, like put down your timpani mallets and pick up your xylophone mallets.
So, yeah, consistency. Consistency is the topic of today’s gentle rant. I get really worked up about it because I feel like consistency ends up being this euphemism for being boring. But I honestly believe that it’s the consistency and the dependability that make it clear what is supposed to be exciting, the things that are different enough that they merit our attention.
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:03:38]
Which, fortunately, now brings us to our small list of big things. It’s actually a pretty big list today and also a bunch of pretty big things. So first thing to know, there was an additional beta added to this release cycle.
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:04:00]
It was beta five; it came out last week, I think. There was a bit of a regression that we worked our way through. And so RC1, release candidate one, is going to be postponed a little bit because of that. But don’t wait until RC to start testing, obviously RC is tomorrow, so that means you get to test, like, today!
The second thing on our small list of big things is that we have the WordPress 20th anniversary coming up. That’s May 27th. And you can join in the celebrations. So at WordPress’s 10th anniversary and 15th anniversary, we had like a big, ongoing global set of parties, like Meetup events got together and made cakes, or did a concert, or did a hackathon for various reasons.
Like they all got together on May 27th or thereabouts and did some really fun, like celebration of how far WordPress has gotten them and how far they hope to be able to go with WordPress.
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:05:00]
So if you are from the before times WordCamp kind of organizing timeframe, you know that we always consider WordCamps to be like an annual celebration of the excellence of your community and how much you all come together and how different you are as part of this overall big WordPress-y thingy.
All right. Third item that we have is that, I know that I mentioned this in the last WP Briefing as well, but we have another session of the diverse and inclusive WordPress events coming up that’s happening on March 16th. So coming up really fast, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well.
And the final thing, I don’t remember what list number we’re at, but the final thing is that there is a proposal out there right now to modify the events and news widget that we use inside the WordPress dashboard. If you’re not familiar with it, it is a place where all of the local-to-you Meetup events get listed.
[Josepha Haden Chomphosy 00:06:00]
It’s where all of the news items from various WordPress media outlets get published. We just have a link to it there. And so, we would like to make some changes to that so that we’re able to include not only specific location types of events but also events that are location agnostic because they’re online but might have a specific, identifying niche that you particularly find interesting.
So it might be for Spanish speakers or for women in particular, or whatever it might be. There’s a proposal out for that. We’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well.
And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Thanks for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.