We’ve tried a load of processes and policies to help us deliver products over the years. We’ve been realtime, agile and lean, and we’ve learned a lot about what makes a successful project (as well as what makes an unsuccessful one…).
These days, we draw from lean and agile methodologies to deliver products for our partners and clients. We’ve evolved a way of working that cherry picks the best bits from multiple disciplines and allows a healthy mix of flexibility and predictability.
The following are the 7 principles we follow at Simpleweb. While we like to work flexibly to suit the people working on a project, we always keep these principles in mind.
Happiness is the key to success
Not quite as fluffy as it sounds… We believe the key to a successful project is finding the right balance between client happiness, team happiness and cash flow.
- Client happiness – delivering a quality product that meets or exceeds the client’s expectations on time and within budget.
- Team happiness – giving our team opportunities to work on interesting projects that will challenge them and help them to learn and grow.
- Cash flow – like any business, we need to make money. Happy cashflow means delivering a product within budget.
Success is the perfect balance between these three key indicators.
Treat every project as it were our own
They say no-one cares about a product or business as much as the founder. We want to disprove this.
When we work on a project, the whole team takes the time to really get to know the client, their business and what it is they’re trying to achieve. Knowing why we’re doing what we’re doing, and understanding wider business objectives, means we can give informed advice and create products that don’t wind up getting shelved as the company grows and adapts.
Centralise all communication
Whether a product manager, developer, UI designer or client, we all communicate centrally and reliably. We document every conversation at every stage of a project using a series of communication tools that we trust and are easy to use.
Keeping communications in one place has a bunch of advantages including:
- Accountability – everyone (both client and team-side) has access to all the conversations we’ve had, meaning we always know who said what, when and why.
- Clarity – we update clients daily so they know exactly what we’re up to and how far along we are at any point. Clients can chip in or stay out of it, but they always know what’s going on.
- Archiving – even after the project is completed, we archive all communications so if we work together in the future, or the client has questions about previous work, we can refer back to the archive and provide all the information anyone could need.
Have a clear sign off procedure
Whether it’s a blog post, a bug fix, an update or the deploy of a new product, we don’t publish anything without the client’s complete understanding and written permission.
While some clients want to get their product out there as quickly as possible, some want to hold back until they’re certain they can compete in their market. It’s not our place to make those decisions on behalf of our clients, so we always make sure we’re on the same page before publishing anything.
Risks and expectations are always kept in check
Nothing is certain, the only certainty is uncertainty. In our experience, issues arise from risks that have not been dealt with early, so if we identify a risk, we talk it through with our clients and our team as soon as possible.
We assess risk on a daily basis through morning standup meetings and daily written updates to our clients to mitigate uncertainty continually.
The client is part of the team
We bring every client into the Simpleweb team.
This means that we communicate honestly and transparently. Sometimes that means saying “no”, but we believe our clients want honesty, not flattery.
Never throw away an idea
Every idea is valuable, but to stay on budget without getting distracted, not every idea can be implemented immediately.
That’s not to say any idea should be scrapped. We store every idea in a virtual “bucket of love” so ideas are never forgotten and can be revisited in future iterations.
While our project approach varies depending on the people we’re working with and the project we’re working on, sticking to these 7 principles helps us to deliver world-class products. If you’re interested in working with Simpleweb, get in touch for a chat about your product.