People always ask me “Scott, what is your process and why do you project managers go on about it so much?” Well, today, I'm going to explain the Primate process and why we’re so passionate about following it.
Process is the seat belt that allows you and your client to move at pace, with confidence and trust.
Having and following a process is important for all aspects of business, especially when starting a new project with an organisation you may not have worked with before.
That said, when it comes to process, there’s no right or wrong. There’s only what suits your team, client, or project and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ - however, there are some necessities that all of our Website Development processes should follow:
The first step towards a successful project is Project Discovery. This is an opportunity to understand the project in more detail, how this fits within a client’s future plans, the needs of their users, and how we can best work together to achieve great success.
This step is often skipped but is the most important part of the project for Project Managers such as myself, because it allows me to be an extension of the client’s team, and really step up to the role of Client Advocate within the Primate team.
Projects are at their best when clients are collaborative, engaged, and make themselves heard. A key stage in engaging clients is within UX and Ideation. This provides an opportunity for the ideas posed in the Project Discovery to be enhanced and moulded into tangible Wireframes and Style Guides which we call an Element Collage. Engagement is key as this stage has a massive impact on project success. Here, key decisions around branding, content, messaging and structure are made, informing the full website build from then onwards.
Including feedback loops early in our process is imperative, as overlooked content in these early stages can lead to significant changes later on, which can impact time and budget.
Separating our craft into UX / Ideation and Page Designs allows the client to focus on content & structure in isolation without the distractions of the pretty colours and shapes. We’re all magpies at the end of the day, and our design team makes some easy distractions!
Having your blueprints (wireframes), specifications (functionality) and finishes (designs) all ready and signed off before the Build starts, is the key to avoiding expensive rework during this phase of the project. The fewer question marks for our developers, the more efficient the build. This all leads to a smooth and steady development process, that can stay on plan, with a happy development team and ultimately a happy outcome and client.
The Content Population & UAT (User Acceptance Testing) phase of a project is often under-estimated and under-valued. It’s a lot more than just a copy and paste job as the Content Population allows clients to familiarise themselves with their CMS, the constraints of their site, and really experience all aspects of the site before finalising their UAT. Think of this stage as test driving your car. You give it a drive, make sure it works and is catered to your needs, you can also report any knocks or bumps to the garage for fixing before you finally purchase, this would be our Refinement phase. Changing the alloys or adding a subwoofer would be what we call a Change Request and would need to be paid for. Making this clear upfront avoids a lot of confusion and frustration at the sharp end of a project.
Following the above and remaining engaged throughout the project will lead to a successful Website Launch, followed by some beers to celebrate!
We can flex and manoeuvre these steps to suit a clients needs, fitting within a Waterfall, Agile or Hybrid project depending on the size & complexity.
I mostly deal with medium sized website development projects myself, so I tend to utilise a Waterfall methodology - with each section above as its own distinct phase gated by client signoff. However, for our larger projects, we make use of Agile or Hybrid methodologies - that way we’re still touching the same key areas while using the familiar Sprints and Scrums we all know and love.
In short, the power of process is that it can and will elevate the quality of your own work as well as the quality of others. It will also have an impact on the quantity because you will inevitably be able to manage more projects successfully and simultaneously when steps are broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about our process, how it can help you achieve your digital dreams or how it can be adapted to work in your team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.