April 24, 2012 by Bill Haley
The Secret to a Happy Interactive Project
I’ve been involved in hundreds of interactive projects, going all the way back to the early 90s. Many of those projects have been a true joy to work on. Some haven’t. A few have been downright painful for everyone involved. What separates the good from bad?
Truthfully, that title should probably read “The Secret to a Happy ___________ Project”. You fill in the blank because there is an overarching theme that traverses practically all projects…
In a word: Communication. But that’s a pretty broad term, so let’s break it down into manageable chunks.
First, there’s vision. As the client, do you have a really clear vision of what you want the end product to look like? It’s ok if you don’t, but let us know. We can work with you to arrive at a shared vision. But we can’t read minds, so we need to talk.
Next is candor. If you trust us enough to build this important interactive project for you, you should trust us enough to tell us your honest thoughts and opinions. Don’t feel like you need to sugarcoat things. If you think something sucks, let us know and we’ll fix it.
How about consensus? We’ve worked with clients who have had dozens of stakeholders on a project. It can be really challenging to arrive at a consensus with that many people. But it’s foolhardy to move forward until everyone has had a chance to speak their piece and come to agreement on things, or at least a ceasefire.
Then there is timeliness. If we were all going to live forever, there would be no deadlines. But we aren’t, and consequently there is some urgency to getting things done. We allow a reasonable amount of time for client feedback when we create project schedules. But please bear in mind that if things get slowed down on your end, there can be a ripple effect because we’re juggling multiple projects.
This list is incomplete. I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you would add. We’re always looking to improve our process, and make it more enjoyable (and thus, successful) for you.