I talk a lot about the changing nature of our business. It often comes across in terms of changing technology.
We take pride in being adaptive to a changing landscape of tools and requests from our clients. While we have done a very good job of setting our clients up technically with scalable solutions, we have not always done a good job of communicating the strategy or the path necessary to embrace the opportunities the tools provide.
Most people (ourselves too for far too long) saw a project as a finite thing. There is a start (the kick off) and a conclusion (the launch). You then send the website out into the world, everyone exhales and pats each other on the back for a job well done. “See you when you’re ready for an upgrade” was not specifically stated, but certainly implied.
This doesn’t work. It may have at one time, but certainly doesn’t anymore.
Today, successful projects don’t have a beginning or an end, instead they are smaller chunks of improvements, launched, measured and revised. This continuous loop reminds me of my days teaching where we would teach, monitor, and then adjust in a continuous loop.
The Web is always changing; therefore our thinking about our websites needs to change, too. Instead of long design and development projects that end with breaking the champagne over the bow of the website - we need to think more about incremental deployments, measurement, user testing, improvements, launches and then repeating the cycle.
The big launch can still happen, but that is where the work should begin so that three years from now you have a completely contemporary site, that you arrived at through constant iteration.
Design -> Test -> Build -> Launch -> Measure -> Design -> Test -> Build -> Launch -> Forever