Here at IDEAS our Interactive Team is constantly pushing the envelope to make innovative, high-quality products. To do that, we must constantly refine and improve the processes we use to bring our visions to life in digital form. “Nothing gold can stay”; this is why we continuously analyze our methods to find places to improve. Ultimately, we strive to increase productivity and efficiency, while maintaining a high level of quality. But, most importantly, we endeavor to ensure that our clients and consumers are satisfied with our finished products.
Recently, we created a new website for our friends at Integrated Insight. We were humbled to be part of the process of reinventing themselves to adapt to the changing times. The part we played, was in creating a new website that expanded, communicated who they are as a company, and served as a knowledge bank to shed some “insight” on how they do what they do so well. Little did they know, we tested out a few new ideas on them that we hoped would improve our process. Luckily, our ideas were beneficial and improved the experience on both their end as a client and our end as a development team!
For those of you who don’t know, our Interactive Team uses an agile methodology for development known as “scrum”. Our scrum process allows us to adapt to changes quickly and create products in an organic and flexible way. We work closely with one another and with clients to ensure that everyone owns a part of the project and feels connected to it and with one another. Translucency and communication are key factors because we want the client to see what we are doing and understand why we are doing it. Instead of relying on one person to direct and communicate a vision, we create the vision as a team and share ownership.
We felt we were not spending enough time in our Discovery phase where we design the information architecture of the website and ensure it meets the design goals we put in place. We took a chance and spent an additional three weeks meeting with the client and revising our wireframes to ensure that the organization of the website was laid out in a way that would resonate with a majority of our use cases. We ended up spending over half of our production schedule on the discovery phase, which freaked us out a little bit. What we did not realize was that we streamlined our Feature Creation phase! By working closer with the client in the Discovery phase we made sure that the wireframe version of the website was ideal. We were all on the same page and understood what it was that we were building, which is extremely important.
We were able to code the website in half the time that it normally takes because we were well organized and ready to implement the plan. The added discovery time allowed our Programming team to explore the WordPress theme more in-depth, allowing them to identify features in the design that could have cost us several days to implement. We knew what features we would need to implement and best way to implement them before we even started building the site. We had a working version of the website up and running after just 6 weeks of development, which surprised most of us. We delivered exactly what the client expected we would deliver and we did it with less confusion and in the same amount of time we normally would have spent on a site of that complexity. It was a win-win all around and we walked away from the project with a stronger client relationship and fewer headaches than normal!
Never Stop Reaching
The morale of this story is just because something is working doesn’t mean that it can’t work better. Constantly analyze and ask yourself if what you are doing is the best possible way you can do it. It is good to change and not get locked into doing the same thing in the same way repeatedly until it doesn’t work anymore. We are creatures of habit and it is very easy for us to fall into the same routine and become set in our ways. The only way to improve is to constantly push the boundaries and search for the areas where we are weak or lacking. Trying new things may not always result in the successful outcome you want, but it is important to remember that you aren’t failing. You are simply discovering and ruling out ideas that don’t work. The only failures in life are never trying and giving up. Now, GO CREATE SOMETHING GREAT!