1. NEVER ASSUME A DIGITAL PROJECT IS SIMPLE
If anyone – your client, colleague, boss, etc. tells you that a digital project is simple (and should not take too long, require too many resources, not be too expensive, etc) – take a second look and do some research. PRETTY MUCH NO DIGITAL PROJECT IS EVER EASY and needs to be very detailed in its scope, planning, budget and timeline.
2. THE STATEMENT OF WORK SHOULD BE AS DETAILED AND CLEAR AS POSSIBLE
Make sure to do a lot of due diligence in scoping out what exactly your client is looking for and write out a very detailed statement of work with clear deliverables.
What are the clients business objectives and strategic goals? Since digital is an ever evolving medium and things are changing constantly – your client might want to be “cool” and think they need a Facebook page and a widget but that might not be their best solution or just a part of it – show them some examples and take their temperature for what they really like and need.
3. CREATE REALISTIC TIMELINES AND DON’T OVER PROMISE THINGS YOU CAN NOT DELIVER.
Create some general ballpark timelines for your clients when pitching – for example, complex microsite – 4 months, rich media banner ad campaign – 2 months, youtube channel – 1 month, complex widget – 6 months, etc. Then once you create a detailed timeline make sure to review the various phases with them in detail so that they understand why things take a certain amount of time and have realistic expectations. Have a disclaimer that timelines increase based on more complex technical scope changes, delayed client reviews, etc.
If you are building on an existing platform or using vendors, etc. – make sure that you have a kickoff with them to see what their turnaround time and technical specifications are like.
4. DON’T JUST JUMP INTO DESIGN AND PRODUCTION.
If possible break your timelines and fees into 2 phases:
#1. Discovery and Requirements and #2. IA, Design, Production, QA.
This way you can really do your due diligence on discovery interviews, persona development, usability – to really understand what features, content, etc. your project should really entail that would best serve the needs of your client and their user base.
5. MAKE SURE TO PUT TOGETHER THE RIGHT TEAM
Just like creating the perfect dish requires the right ingredients and measurements the team can make or break your project.
Here are some roles that I think are essential for most digital/interactive projects.
- Interaction Designer – for wireframes, ID, sitemaps, possibly functionality, etc (usability and interaction are very important and often left out)
- Digital graphic designer
- Digital copywriter
- Producer – to manage your project
- Strategist/Planner – for overall vision and future phase development of the project
- Programmer – this is VERY important – there are a BILLION disciplines within programming – scope out the requirements you are looking for – Flash Developer or Flash Designer or both, PHP, HTML. Java Script………and the list goes on and on and on.
- Analytics and measurement analyst – reporting – setting up pixels, tracking etc. and conducting reporting on the success or failure of the project once completed
Hope this helps 🙂