Traditionally clients have employed outsourcing in the form of individuals (consultants/freelancers) or companies (agencies) to provide them with the specialised resources that they either do not have or do not have enough of. This all makes sense and works generally well for the most part.
When a company commissions an agency to undertake a project (web development in our case) it is a very complex process. Firstly, the accurate gathering of information is paramount to any future stage of the project. Get the facts wrong it doesn’t matter how clean or solid the code is: It will ultimately be wrong and function incorrectly. In short, this is often the failing of many projects.
It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? If you are going to build complex applications with all the varied workflows and parameters, it makes common sense to capture them all up front and build exactly what is required. At Bullet Web Development we take this very seriously. In fact, we always suggest a consultancy stage to ensure that the project commences correctly.
This might sound just like another step tagged onto the front but the remit is slightly different than just looking at the problems the client is trying to solve. The concept is to not look convergently but switch it around to a more divergent inspection of the way the client does things. This would be done before a proposal is developed and is used as part feasibility study and also as part of being able to provide different options that had not been considered before.
This stage is often employed to help provide a detailed brief of the client’s requirements. The construction of a brief can be extremely difficult and easily underestimated. The beauty of this approach is that everyone from the project stakeholders, board and the incumbent agency have a clear scope of what is required. Scoping documents and functional specifications can then be derived.
What about partnering?
It is fair to say that the build of an application is not an overnight process and each stage of the project has its own challenges. It is also quite common for the scope to shift during a project. This has to be managed and expectations properly realised. It is therefore key, that everyone on the project communicates transparently and candidly. This can only be achieved effectively by creating a partnership environment. The client-agency axis that is naturally envisioned has to be developed into a proper partnership where the agency is almost an extension of the client’s own employees or even seen as another department.
At Bullet Web Development we have done this for years with our clients which is extremely helpful once the application has been launched and further phases embarked upon. It enables clear understanding and empathy for everyone involved in the continued success of the application.
We have worked with Temple Legal Protection for almost 10 years and in that time we have forged a successful and proactive relationship resulting in building their sophisticated online policy system (TOPS) which we continue to support.
A few highlights below: