How do you start a project? Oh man…

The other day someone asked me how I approach projects. I am asked that question a lot, it’s such a broad question that it’s almost impossible to answer. But most behavioral questions are more about what you decide to say so I understand the intent.

I believe projects are fluid meaning they change during their course of development to an extent that I believe is the nature of the web. It is dynamic. There is such a thing a scope creep, but there is also a point where some “things” are integrated because it would be counter productive to not integrate them in the long run. If I didn’t believe in the value of an iterative, dynamic process then I would be a print designer.

Once I was asked if I am ever unhappy with a project I have delivered. The answer is both, yes and no. I always deliver a professional product, so no. But, by the time a project is wrapped up I already have a dozen ways I know I could have improved it, so yes.

In a sense it’s the same as my perspective on usability:

  • What we are not curious about will never prompt us to ask questions about
  • What we do not ask questions about, we will never know
  • What we know is predicated upon what and how we ask
  • The quality of the answers we receive are casual to who we ask
  • Our ah-ha moment of discovery frequently will come from qualitative data
  • Our experience has a bearing on turning qualitative data into a crystal ball
  • Part of every decision should utilize quantitative data or we run the risk of repeating past mistakes
  • We present, explain, convince and get sign-off from stakeholders every step of the way
  • We test with “real users” everything we intend to build with prototypes
  • Then we build it and test it again with “real users”
  • We understand that stakeholders, subject matter experts (SME) and well meaning involved third parties are not “real users”
  • We communicate with every team member, honest, accurate data so they have the best information for their options

So you take all of that, cross your fingers and believe you have done enough do diligence to…”Beep, Beep, get this train down the track”.


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