Why process matters
We love our clients. Yes, I know you’ve heard that before, but it’s true. We evaluate clients every bit as much as they evaluate us, and we only work with clients that are a good match for our services. So when we commit to working with someone, we do so because we believe that we are capable of giving them something of value, something they truly need. To do that, however, we require processes that are appropriately matched to the fluid nature of technology and business requirements.
Imagine that you are sitting in a meeting room, watching as a project team presents their finished product to the client. The budget has been expended by this point, and expectations are high. The presentation concludes, and there is a long, awkward silence. Finally, the client says, “It’s beautiful.” Everyone smiles and starts to breathe again. “But it’s useless.” The startled project team members look at each other. Why, they ask. “Because while you were working, our business changed.”
This story is not uncommon. The names of industries, products and clients may be different in each case, but the salient points are the same. I know, because I’ve seen it. It’s painful.
It’s also entirely avoidable.
A process that works
At 6-2 design, we use Scrum, an Agile methodology that is particularly useful for web design and development. We work in short periods called sprints, during which we design and develop portions of a web project to a “potentially shippable” state. This doesn’t mean that a particular area or feature is complete. It simply means that it can be made available to upload and review, giving us the ability to gain early feedback and make modifications before time and budget are consumed.
It also means that we don’t waste time developing unnecessary features when we can increase the quality of key features. When the project focus is regularly brought back to exactly what the client requires at that time, all of the effort is directed at the features that are of greatest importance to the client. We don’t ignore the “nice to have” features, but we know that when they come at the expense of the “must have” features they are no longer nice to have.
At its essence, Scrum is a series of iterative cycles: prioritise features, develop, review, repeat. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Yet this deceptively simple approach to web design can make the difference between a beautifully useless website and a website that delivers true value and ROI to the client. We think that matters.
Our clients are important to us. That’s why we care about our process.