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The tutorial you linked appears to be for an older version of ros, so some of it is out of date, and the important setup.bash step is not even mentioned.

You should download the git source code, build it, and see it work before you try to create something custom. Also, make sure you do not have the tutorial apt package installed from the ros repository, because it will be difficult to tell which code you are actually executing. For me, the following created a working demo on melodic:

# it is ok if purge wants to also remove pkg ros-melodic-desktop
sudo apt purge ros-melodic-rviz-plugin-tutorials
mkdir -p ~/catkin_ws_plugin/src
cd ~/catkin_ws_plugin/src
git clone
cd visualization_tutorials
git checkout -b melodic 0.10.5
cd ../..
source devel/setup.bash
rosrun rviz rviz