Everybody Loves Efficiency
It’s difficult to find anyone who would argue with that statement – except my kids perhaps? In the agency/client relationship efficiency creates value for money for both parties – with lower costs, quicker turnaround and less time wasted on communication between both parties.
On our side of the fence, better project management means better profit margins. But, as those of us who work in creative industries know, profit is rarely the chief motivator at studio level. Happy project managers, designers and developers produce better creative, more engaging experiences and neater solutions – and the quickest way to derail that all-important positivity is by allowing their day to become fractured, rushed and confused. With our stock judged on quality and originality, organising the team to successfully engage with a brief is of utmost importance.
In this three-part blog series, I will sketch out a few of the ways we, at Drew, use managed, iterative design to ensure efficiency and happiness go hand-in-hand. I will also look at some of the blockers we sometimes encounter and how clients can help us to achieve workable solutions.
- Value for money for the client: lower cost, quicker turnaround, less time wasted
- Value for money for the agency: better time management and profit margins
- Happiness for Project Managers/Designers/Developers = better work!
The Importance of Iteration
At Drew, we try as often as we can to work to Agile principles. Fundamentally centered around value-driven development and adaptive planning, an agile approach provides a great foundation for good agency working practice. When done well, it allows projects to develop at a sensible and manageable pace whilst giving scope for user-defined change; it allows us to deliver the right solution (not always the original brief!) via the path of least resistance.
By building testable prototypes and incrementally developing based on user feedback we can allow users to determine change.
Iteration can create the efficiency we all want by:
- Allowing projects to develop in a managed way
- Giving scope for user-defined change
Being Aware Of Variables
At Drew, we design and build many websites and digital products and there are many proven Agile approaches we use to help us do this. But fundamentally, we are a branding agency with studio output that also includes brand, marketing strategy, print design, copywriting and everything in between. We are essentially trying to adapt a project management method that was originally designed to support a large team working towards a singular goal (software developers), to a multi-disciplinary team working on many types of project, for many types of client.
From investment banks to massage practitioners, from a business card to a fully bespoke website build, our clients and projects can vary dramatically in scale and complexity. This can also lead to the ‘product ownership’ function, fundamental to Agile working, becoming a variable across both client and project, too. Sometimes, where time and expertise are limited client-side, we take the product ownership in-house. Other times, mostly when working with larger organisations with specialist teams, we work with clients in this role.
For larger digital projects, being able to assess and scope projects with clients early on is vital.
Let’s Do This Together
In the next part to this series I will discuss how clients can help ensure smooth project delivery by describing some strategies that can lead to flexible and realistic collaborative solutions. Please do come back to check it out!