09.27.2017 Project Management and Process

How to make your Onsite last, and last...and last

Goals. We’ve all got them, and your website should too. That’s why we kick off all of our redesign projects with a series of deep-diving, goal-seeking workshops hat we collectively call “The Onsite.”

The onsite is an opportunity to meet our clients face to face, ask a lot of questions, understand their current systems and infrastructure, identify the goals of the new website and generate excitement around the upcoming redesign. We travel to them, wherever they are, and we spend two full days extracting as much information as we possible can out of the organization. There are a LOT of sticky notes involved.

Intense Sticky Notes Working Session

This intensive two-day session is meant to lay the foundation for the rest of the project. It’s critical to our success, and we invest a lot of time and energy into this part of our process. To get the most out of the investment, here are some best practices we’ve developed along the way:

1. Bring your Project Manager (PM), or someone else who will be solely responsible for taking kickass, copious notes. Not only should you write everything down, as a fail-safe, we also recommend recording the meetings. This is helpful in that once your PM’s fingers start bleeding from all the amazing notes they’re typing, you can rest assured that all of the information is still being captured and can be reference later. In addition to being a fail-safe for note taking, it allows other team members who weren’t able to attend in person the opportunity to absorb all the same information. To really streamline your resources and documents, try using Google Drive and add links to the audio files in the corresponding section of the notes. Or, try a program like Microsoft OneNote which will automatically sync your notes and audio.

2. Take lots of photos. Be sure to document any whiteboarding or sticky note activities so that you a have a visual reference when you’re digging through the notes and need more context. Also, take photos of the group because they’re working super-duper hard! Clients love to reflect back on evidence of the efforts they’ve put into their new website.

3. Continue the conversation with collaborative worksheets. If you’re not able to get everything during your working sessions (which is often the case), follow up with shared documents or worksheets on Google Drive that accurately reflect what was discussed, and what inforamtion is still needed. The client team can then collaborate and fill in the blanks for you online until documentation is complete.

4. Post Onsite, codify the goals you’ve just gathered in one simple, concise deliverable, and get sign off. We call this the Goals Document, and it is referenced again and again, and again, throughout a given project. Whenever there are questions, concerns, or decisions to be made, this document should be your guidepost and help keep everyone on track. So much can change over the lifecycle of a project, but the original goals for the redesign should not be forgotten. And if they do need to evolve, updating them in writing and getting approval from the client along the way will help keep everyone clear, focused, and anchored.

And there you have it. Four pro tips for how to set your redesign project up for ultimate success, by making the critical information from your precious onsite last, and last…and last.

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