It can be so easy to get caught up in the urgency of a project. We work in an industry where, in order to stay competitive, we must come up with the best ideas and come up with them before they are irrelevant. Because technology often moves faster than production. The speed of advertising can be detrimental if strategies are not executed correctly. When you throw technology in the mix, you have to be even more careful to ensure you deliver a quality product that lives up to the expectations of your users.
The most common pitfalls are often found in digital projects that go through no process and follow no standards. Technology requires a process that allows you to create quality outputs while still being agile enough to handle the unpredictable. Having standards and requirements for a project allows to you create a product with true value. Additionally, not shortcutting the process upfront sets your project up to provide long-term value.
So what is the “best practice”? For us at SPARK, many projects have helped us define our process, and we are constantly trying to improve . But this is generally how we work. It may not be perfect, but it helps us balance the demands of the client and the agency, with the goal of launching a killer digital property.
1. Have Formal Planning Process
Have a kick off for every project, no matter how big or small. This allows you to understand projects needs and start planning how each person involved will handle specific tasks.
2. Get Your Resources Together
Now that you know your tasks, understand what is needed to get them done. Know what frameworks you are going to use, and get all your resources in one place. It saves a whole lot of time and confusion between your teammates.
3. Stay Clean While Coding
Indent your code, comment your scripts, do whatever you have to do to make sure your code is clean and easy for you and your team to follow. This keeps your website in shape when it comes time to extend it or make necessary design changes. A website or application might look beautiful on the surface, but sloppy code can end up causing problems down the line for whatever company or agency ends up having to maintain it. (And if the quality is that bad, believe me, another agency will be taking over the reins…)
4. Test Test Test
It can be tempting to skip out on some testing time. DON’T DO IT!!! I urge you not to stray from testing. Errors and bugs not caught in the testing phase will blow up in your face by the time the project is pushed to production. Testing now saves you the trouble having to go back and figure out.
Crazy deadlines and unfavorable conditions might not always allow for an ideal development timeline, but these situations shouldn’t warrant the elimination of best practices. Process truly is key to successful projects, and they should be respected.