Reasons To Become An Agile Web Designer. #3 Less time wasting
Web designing was my escape from the tedium of being a manager in the civil service.
I loved working with staff to achieve our shared goals, but the processes and documentation requested by my office became soul destroying. I felt it prevented me from getting on with my job.
Mostly, I was creating an unread audit trail to allow higher management to cover their backs. It was based on a lack of trust and a wrong assumption about what motivates people to work.
Ironically, I left my organisation just as it was starting to recognize its problem only to find many in the web design industry could not seem to get enough of the same.
Tools for everything
Traditional website project management adores structured processes. It’s all about managing scope and finishing to a deadline. There’s tools for:
- Contract signing.
- Content gathering.
- Project management (assigning tasks).
- Design feedback.
- Client training for all the above!.
These are great for exercising management control, but to what extent do they move clients towards achieving their business goals?
For that matter, to what extent are our employers willing to be managed by us?
Failing Forward Fast
With agile approaches the aim is to get a “minimal viable product” out into the world where the data from it can inform the next sprint of work.
Working in small self determining teams everyone collaborates on a smaller set of tasks. They are low risks and so decisions can be made quickly.
The need to use documentation to justify (to management) what is going out months later is replaced with the question “how well did the last sprint of work go?”
My default tools are now:
- Shared Google documents.
- Whereby (video conferencing and screen sharing).
- WP/ Beaver Builder (my site building tools).
Although, I’m still ropey, if I set it up right and can move the project forward on a video call, address any training needs and gather content all at the same time.
Previously, there was too much stopping and starting waiting on email responses. Many ignored because they did not understand what was needed.
I don’t spend time writing proposals. I don’t have “tire kickers”.
If they are interested we have a video chat where I explain how our prepaid sprints work.
I tell them I’m not going anywhere and encourage them to spend on the basis of returns over time.
I mostly like to start with some low cost keywords and competitor research. It’s a low risk commitment as they can take this elsewhere, but so far everyone has bought this along with a first sprint of web design work.
I talk about terms they sign up to when booking (related Beaver Builder licences and liabilities). With no project scope, this is the only contractual thing I presently need.
Seeing them face to face I get a good idea how it sits with them. My attitude of “we will work out what is needed together” seems well received. In fact, I see relief!
Bookings seem to come immediately after the call and I start working.
I mentioned my bureaucratic government office was changing its ways as I was leaving.
Both Lean and Agile (like web design itself) puts people first. Since going agile I’ve found many tools and processes are the cause of inefficiencies that are better remedied through personal communication.