Every client deserves first class input and expertise on their project, and to deliver the best possible service we follow a clear workflow process. This ensures the best use of everyone’s time, and keeps our clients up to date at every stage of the project.
When you’re developing bespoke software every project is different – after all every client is different! Building a membership platform with an integrated CRM will involve a different discovery phase to that for an ecommerce site, which will be different again from an elearning platform. Even with these differences there is a common process we build on and adapt, and we’ll describe a typical website build project below.
At the start of any project we schedule a kick-off meeting where we introduce the key people involved from both sides, and establish how we’ll run the project. We document the key deliverables and milestones, taking into account the availability and capacity of the client team. And then we get started!
In this first phase we get to know the client organisation and any other stakeholders and audiences, for example website visitors, members or funders. As part of discovery we incorporate any research the client has already done into their users and needs, and identify any gaps.
Based on the discovery work we develop an information architecture and content plan for the new website or platform. These lay out all the pages that will be required, and detail the content that will go on each. From the content plan we produce wireframed designs of the key templates and components. These are sketch-like visuals that show the content of each page, without any branding, to allow everyone to focus on the structure and functionality.
After the wireframes have been signed-off we create full visual designs incorporating any existing brand guidelines. At each stage we iterate with the client team to adapt the designs to their feedback.
Next it’s time for our engineering team to turn the designs into reality. We usually work with fortnightly ‘sprints’ to implement a set of features every two weeks. This lets us make progress in an iterative manner and schedule ‘show and tell’ sessions where we can demonstrate the new features to the client. We also hold regular project management calls to ensure the build unfolds as planned, check in on any questions that arise, and identify any new opportunities and challenges.
User Acceptance Testing
When development is complete we hand the new website over to the client for the final stage in the process. This is when the client team check that what we have built meets their expectations, and let us know if there are any snags or bugs to attend to. At this point we also give training on the Content Management System that allows the client team to populate the website with text, images, and any rich content.
Once all the content has been added we launch the shiny new site so that the whole world can see it!