Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The benefit of foresight

As a director of a digital consultancy and web agency, I get asked to pitch for work quite a bit these days. Often these requests are of the “we know what we want, how cheap can we get it?” sort… However these projects invariable end up with the client changing their mind once we have engaged with them and shown them what is now possible with the latest tools & technologies, an improvement on the user interface they thought they needed or more manageable in the longer-term.

However we always prefer to be part of any web project before this stage and to be involved in the pre-project planning (and sometimes ONLY involved in this stage if that is what is needed)/

The pre-project work means that we can:

  1. Understand & document the business proposition and processes (multi-channel delivery, content management work-flow, etc.)

  2. Define the overall scope and help detail the business requirements

  3. Map typical customer profiles (e.g. CRM personas) to user journeys

  4. Understand the non-functional requirements such as volume (how many) and performance (how fast) criteria

  5. Provide best practice on product/vendor and service suppliers

  6. Work with the different internal departments (e.g marketing, eCommerce, distribution, customer services) to prepare them for the

We have found that helping clients at this early stage can not only help them start and deliver a project that is right-first-time, but one that is better suited to their needs going forward. Only then would we look to help them with: project/programme management, user experience, website design, development, testing, launch and subsequent online marketing skills.

It is perhaps a shame that this doesn’t happen as often as we would like.

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