With the aim of transparency and bringing the community with us on our development journey, we’re publishing details of the process that will lead to the release of our MVP, LaborX 1.0.
ChronoBank’s crowdsale finished almost two years ago, and although we’ve been hard at work during that time building our flagship software, it’s not always easy for the community to gauge our progress realistically. For most of our users, unfamiliar with code repositories and pull requests, ‘success’ looks like a released, working product and that’s an all-or-nothing proposition. Entering the next phase of a long and difficult bear market, as we evidently just have done, does nothing to help.
We understand the concerns of many community members, who simply want to see the results of our work in the form of a finished, fully-functional product. However, development is an iterative process, which makes this very difficult. In order to be more transparent we have decided to alter our approach slightly and share our progress with users along the way.
From the product point of view, we are focusing on delivering an MVP and sharing it with the community. From the user experience point of view, it is also important for us to position the product correctly, so it matches the user’s expectations and fits the right niche, so we’re also putting a lot of work into that side. On the one hand, we don’t want to over-promise and create unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, we want the product to be a reflection of the needs of the end user. These two things require strong collaboration between the development and marketing teams, which is what we are working on now.
MVP: ‘That version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.’ – Eric Ries
The way we manage this internally is to define MVP tasks clearly as a company and pass these on to Development. In this post, we’ll give a summary of what those milestones look like for each upcoming release to LaborX 1.0, and what you can expect to see along the way to that critical release.
Crypto is a fast-moving environment and we are continuously reviewing our development goals as we go. That’s why we cannot give specific timelines in advance, and we cannot commit unequivocally to certain features being in each release – working that way is actually counterproductive, and could end up hamstringing us if we find that there are other priorities in the immediate term. So we will keep you updated of planned delivery dates for the upcoming releases, but cannot promise given functionality far in advance. All the same, this list should give you a good idea of what we have planned, and in what order.
We have three main releases after 0.7 (which has already been released), culminating in 1.0. Each of these involves the implementation of key functionality that must be robust and user-friendly by the time we hit Launch.
The four major waypoints to our MVP are:
- 0.7. Core (released)
- 0.8. Message
- 0.9. Personas
- 1.0. Launch
In the remainder of this article we’ll spend some time exploring the nature and functionality of each release.
Release 0.7: Core
The goal of this release is to implement and test core workflow. This means the software is capable of facilitating the process between Job Seeker and Employer: the Employer is ready to pay to have the job done, the Job Seeker has the correct skills and wants to do it, and all that remains is to put the two together in a secure and effective way. Dispute resolution won’t be handled in this release – this will be included in future iterations.
The key elements in this release are designed to enable this workflow. We have General tabs in the Employer and Job Seeker profiles, and a Work Experience tab for Job Seekers that includes references to finished projects so that Employers can assess their experience for new tasks.
We have implemented a public, filterable Jobs Index that Employers can add jobs to and set their budgets. Each Job Seeker has a private Jobs Index with To-Do, Applications and Completed tabs, while Employers similarly have a private Jobs Index with Active, Posted and Archive tabs. This release enables Job Seekers and Employers to apply for and assign jobs respectively, and to manage each stage of the employment process. We have also included a Balance Widget to display balance and add a private Test Environment for internal UX tests.
Release 0.8: Message
The forthcoming releases build on this functionality. One of the key tasks for 0.8 is to standardise the user interface with the correct language. Our model and the way we articulate key entities across the service have changed over time, and so we need to develop a clear, unified vocabulary to ensure all users can easily understand their roles and the operations they undertake. (Currently, we do not use common terminology across the UI, leading to misunderstandings and confusion.) Thus an aim for this release is to fix unclear wording, creating and enforcing the new terms we have decided. This language should also permeate our marketing content. ‘Workers’ are to be renamed ‘Job Seekers’, ‘Clients’ as ‘Employers’ and ‘Account Name’ will be called ‘Nickname’, amongst various other changes.
We’ll also be implementing updates to improve the overall UX. These include the repositioning of various elements like live notifications, a new landing page, changes to certain wording, adding in missing information and creating an on-site support channel, plus reworking the workflow to make everything smoother and more intuitive. For example, Job Seekers can start work once an employer has unlocked the job; they will not need to click the Start Work button and trigger a request. The Job Seeker will receive the correct payment amount on satisfactory completion of the task.
Meanwhile other functionality will be temporarily disabled in this release, such as Validation (when enabled, this will allow our reputation system to work.) The Make an Offer button will be hidden for now too.
Release 0.9: Personas
The aim of this release is portfolio integration and overall profile improvement for all user roles. We’ll be adding functionality to upload files on job completion, and tabs (e.g. in My Jobs) will be updated to use custom URLs for referencing. Test LHT price will be displayed in appropriate widgets on the dashboard and in the wallet, and we’ll display transactions’ origins too. We also plan to add help for Job Seekers and Employers.
Release 1.0: MVP!
This is the big release! Note that MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product: this is the culmination of many months of work but is only the starting point of our public releases, not the end of our development process and the finished, polished app. We will continue to build on the MVP for the foreseeable future, improving the platform and maintaining the code.
Since this is our initial user-ready product, in this section we’ll explore what features will be available rather than discuss it from the point of view of underlying tech. MVP features and user experience/story will include profile creation, login process, profile personalisation and navigation.
The account creation process will enable new users to create profiles using email, Google or Facebook accounts, a wallet file or mnemonic phrase. There are two steps involved in creating a mnemonic-based account, to help the user record the phrase reliably: in the first step the user is prompted to write down the generated key, and in the second they are prompted to confirm it by re-entering the words.
The login experience will include creating a new profile and adding an existing one. An existing profile can be added using an email address, Google account, Facebook account, wallet file or mnemonic phrase. Users will also be able to recover an account using email or mnemonic.
Profile personalisation includes role availability setting (in some cases it is possible to disable Job Seeker, Employer and Recruiter functionality), and notifications can be set up and activated. Navigation is responsive to role availability setting, and it is possible to select another profile while logged in.
We’re entering a critical stage of our development. As you’ll know, we have already released the first versions of the ChronoWallet, and we’re looking forward to following that success with LaborX as soon as we can.
If you want to get involved in testing the beta features of LaborX, we’d love to hear from you. If you have experience of software development or testing, so much the better, but it’s not mandatory – we need regular users to tell us what they think of the UX too.
If you’d like to help in any capacity, from auditing code to trialling the UI, please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you an invitation.