Ever wondered if Agile principles can be applied to no-code?

Here’s how an Agile coach is using the principles of iteration and Agile to help people build better and more efficient apps on Bubble.

Hi! My name is Rico Trevisan. I'm a freelance agile coach and trainer at agilar.com. Through nights and weekends, I refactor other people's Bubble apps at refactoringnocode.com.

As an Agile Coach, I support product owners on their quest to delight their users, and I support managers to remove organizational impediments. As a Bubble developer, I draw from those learnings in order to support entrepreneurs.

I was born in São Paulo, Brazil during its military dictatorship. Somehow my parents once brought home a computer, an Intel 286. My 2 brothers and I immediately took it apart, wiped it, and fiddled with it constantly.

Later, while in university in the US, I learned how to run a website where I could practice my Photoshop skills and blog about stories of the people in my dorm. Afterwards, I tried teaching myself programming with a Java book, but it went so far over my head that I avoided it for almost 2 decades.

The coding desire was awakened a couple of years ago when I discovered Bubble.

Building and rebuilding on Bubble

Refactoring NoCode gives customers unlimited Bubble design for a flat monthly price. It's DesignJoy for Bubble.

Some builders come to Bubble trying to transform a spreadsheet-process into an app. They invest a ton of energy to learn Bubble, to test the idea, but might not have spent enough time with the UX and UI.

That's where Refactoring NoCode comes in, it refactors those existing designs.

Customers can submit as many requests but can have only 1 active at a time. Customers can submit as much or as little information as they want, in whichever format they want.

It's even possible to submit nothing whatsoever; Refactoring NoCode will assess the app and propose a backlog of improvements. The handover of each item is done with as much documentation as possible, mostly via a Loom.

Potentially, I'll get real nosy, pull out my decade of Agile experience, and offer business advice.

How does it translate

Acquired experience is transformed into design elements that the community can use, mostly delivered via Atomic Fusion and YouTube tutorials.

The key benefits for customers are:

  • They get an experienced Bubble developer for a low monthly fee
  • The cost is predictable
  • No onboarding or scoping phases, customers get value right away
  • No project or account manager, customers talk to the doer directly

Inspiration comes from everywhere!

Some makers leave big corporations because they don't have flexibility. Corporations do want to iterate and innovate faster, however, existing processes and structures get in the way. Long procurement and contracting phases, scope must be defined before a project is started, and deviations must be avoided.

Refactoring NoCode offers a safe harbor for those "corporate refugees".

After building my first Bubble app – a back-office app for my brother's company, https://reabra.com.br – I wanted to deepen my Bubble skills, especially responsiveness and UX.

I had been following the work of Steve Schoger from Refactoring UI (yes, I was so inspired that I copied the name). I bought the book, and I read it multiple times. Nevertheless, I had a hard time applying it.

That changed when I watched a Makerpad masterclass led by Gregory John. His system was simple yet powerful. My mind was blown. I spent a month refactoring my app combining Gregory's and Steve's teachings.

After refactoring the bulk of the app, I wanted new challenges. So I turned to the Bubble forum and tackled users' challenges. I learned a ton. I wanted to take it 1 step further and actually work on their problems directly.

A Bubbler might come to the forum with a question about workflows or database structure, but the root of the problem might be better tackled with improved UI and UX.

It was not clear to me how I could make a business out of it. I knew I wanted a different revenue model, not the per hour freelancer nor project-based agency. I ran into the eye-opening work of Tyler at Productized Services.

He helped me explore different ideas and pointed me to alternative models. That led me to the amazing stories of Brett, the founder of  Designjoy.

I swiped that business model and decided to test it in the Bubble world

First I needed to test if I:

  1. Could actually do the work; and
  2. If someone would be willing to sacrifice their app

I put an offer on the forum and got 2 replies. I got to work right away and I was able to completely transform both apps. I published one of my learnings on the forum and got some positive replies. That attracted 2 paying customers.

I was able to meet those customers' expectations and they were able to continue on their own. I'm currently onboarding a couple of clients and testing if improved tooling – both the backlog with the requests, and better documentation – will increase those customers’ satisfaction.

So far it's been a good model:

  • The customer gets value right away. No long onboarding, no scoping phase, no contracts.
  • No timesheets. I get to manage my own time.
  • I get to teach & advise makers with my Agile experience.

Since then I've been tweaking the model.

How I built all this

The tools I used: Bubble, Gumroad, Miro, Slack.

Bubble is my landing page. It might grow to take over what Trello and Gumroad do.

Gumroad is where I do the invoice. As you can tell from my landing page, I love the Gumroad style.

Miro is where customers can create their backlog and where we can communicate.

Slack is for customer communication and where I send notifications from Bubble.

The biggest challenges are related to my comfort zone. At 44 years old, I'm likely on the older side of indie hackers. I've got a comfortable job, a comfortable routine so it's challenging to make space to try something new.

But I couldn't resist.

The magnetism of solo'preneuring and Bubbling is too strong.

Other people have braved a path that inspires you, test out their advice. In my case it was Brett Williams from Indie Hackers and Tyler Gillespie at Productized Services. Tyler's grid has been instrumental to me figuring out how to structure my offering.

Offer stuff for free ––> turn that into marketing.

If I have one piece of advice for makers, it’s this: Get yourself out there. Build in public. Interact with people in your niche. I'm amazed how much attention I receive by simply sharing what I'm doing while I'm doing it.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Rico! You can follow his journey on Twitter here.

Something wrong?
Want to contribute to Makerpad? Learn more.
What's your story?  Tell us how you use no-code