Many have asked, what’s your process? The honest answer is, it varies quite a lot, since we are always adapting to our clients, their goals, timeline, budget, etc. However, there are some constants that have emerged, and they are quite straightforward. So without further ado, here are the basic components of our process:
Who are you and what are you trying to do?
Before aught else, we need to get to know you, the client, and understand what the goals of your product are. This generally involves a few phone calls and meetings so we can get to know each other. Although this part often is discounted, building a trusting and respectful relationship between client and agency at the outset makes every single step of the process easier. We’ve found that the way people behave in the earliest phases of a project is a pretty solid indicator for how they will behave throughout. We like to put our best foot forward and set the tone for productive and engaged collaboration early on in the project.
But the discovery phase is not all touchy feely. The discovery phase also involves reviewing any existing product documentation and existing builds, if available, examining metrics and activity logs, customer support records, and sometimes competitive analysis of similar products or services in the market as well. The end goal here is to gain a through understanding of what our clients are trying to achieve and where they are in this process, so we understand how we can best help.
How will we work together?
At the end of the discovery phase, we generally will present a detailed proposal that includes dates, deliverables and pricing. The discovery phase insures the accuracy and applicability of our proposals. In other words, we know enough at this point to make useful and targeted suggestions of what design deliverables are needed in order to achieve the stated goals of your engagement with us.
Either as part of the proposal or as a subsequent deliverable, the design schedule is an integral part of our process. We believe strongly in saying what we are going to do, when are going to do it, and then delivering promptly. A design schedule keeps everyone on track and sets proper pacing and expectations for the whole team.
Every Cloudforest Design project has an assigned design lead (usually one of our principals) that oversees all design project management. Though our design teams can vary in size, the design lead owns the schedule, meeting coordination and acts as a single point of contact for all of our client’s needs.
Location & Software
We use a combination of phone, Skype, teleconferencing and in-person meetings to make sure we are on schedule, on track and meeting expectations during every step of a project. We generally do the bulk of our work in our own offices but come together with clients for brainstorming and review sessions.
Things change. Happens all the time. Our process is by no means rigid, and we try to flex and bend with our clients needs. Therefore, we will write up a change order when new requirements, requests and/or scheduling changes arise. A change order document formalizes the changes and makes sure both the client and designers have agreed to the changes together.