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How we do it? Part 2

This is a continuation from part one that talked about the creative brief process in our designs.  

 

After our design team, has reviewed the creative brief with our design team the begin the design process.  In a matter of days, the graphic designer provides an exciting look at the website concept and solicits early feedback from our clients.  This early feedback is unique to our process and is instrumental in designing the perfect website.  This feedback loop is repeated up to 4 more times.  To state it concisely, we allow up to 5 rounds of revisions per project. That’s more than any competitor we’re aware of.  We really want to make sure you love it before we build it!

 

Once a concept is approved by the client, the design files get send to our development team where all of the powerful WebWiz@rd components are attached by a dedicated developer. 

 

Every part of the project is tested during implementation by the developer and then double checked by your account manager.  A final check is performed between the completed product and the original agreement.  Once complete, the beautiful new website is held on our staging server and presented to our customer.  We call it a tour.

 

In conjunction with the tour, our technical support team will invite the entire client team in for training.  Training is designed to quickly demonstrate how the new tools work and to make it easy for our clients to make their own content changes in the future.

 

The new website remains on the staging server until the customer is ready show it to the world.  While on the staging server, the customer is free to modify their content, add new pages, transfer existing content from other sites, all while keeping their existing site up and running.

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Waterfall VS Agile

Although REM does accept projects that are better suited to a Waterfall methodology, the vast majority of the projects completed at REM follow an Agile methodology and in some cases, a hybrid of both. 

 

There are three primary types of projects that we work on at REM; website design (including our proprietary Content Management System, WebWiz@rd), custom functionality for these said websites and internal tools to make REM more efficient and precise in our day-to-day operations.

 

Because our websites are designed from scratch, it is important that our clients are involved throughout the duration of the design process to ensure that the design accurately represents them and their company.  Along with our client interactions, our team often collaborates internally during different phases of a website project, especially if the scope of the project changes during the design.   This is a great example of an Agile procedure that we follow.

 

On the same hand, WebWiz@rd, that is included with all of our websites, was built using both a Waterfall and Agile approach.  Although our developers primarily used their initial architectural plans from start to finish, which would follow a Waterfall approach, they did request insight from the rest of the REM team to get our input on usability and other factors that would directly affect our clients and support staff.  Incorporating both of these methods was necessary in the creation of WebWiz@rd and remains important as the tool is maintained.

 

When we are hired to build a custom solution for our clients we use a Waterfall methodology.  We gather all of the requirements from the client and then we design, build, test, (fix any issues) and deliver the tools to the client.

 

Similar to the way we built WebWiz@rd, when building tools exclusively for REM we follow a hybrid approach.   Our developers build the tool based on our requirements and ask for the teams’ feedback on particular pieces of functionality to ensure that our tools meet our needs.

 

There are pros and cons to both methodologies but I believe that REM has found a great balance and recognizes when one approach is more appropriate than the other, or when to combine the two.

 

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Data Quality and Data Integrity

Growing up I would have never thought that I would find so much interest and enjoyment in validating data; specifically, in data quality and data integrity.  My interests and strengths were in the arts and to be quite honest I don’t even think I mentioned the word “data” for the first 25 years of my life let alone understood what data quality and data integrity meant.  Even if I had been told their meanings at a younger age I was never in a position to understand their definitions in a practical way.

 

As I write this blog I am trying to think of any instances throughout my adolescence that would have predicted my interest in this area.  I’m coming up empty handed for anything obvious.

 

Regardless, it is something that I enjoy now and it is something that I am very good at.

 

Data quality isn’t optional.  It is a must. 

 

It is essential that our data is unambiguous and accurate to ensure that our day-to-day operations remain productive and straight forward.  This level of quality prevents costly errors and when analyzed allows us to make informed decisions. 

 

Data integrity is essential.  Full stop.

 

In our business there is no excuse for a lack of data integrity and as part of my job I am tasked with reviewing, correcting and enforcing data integrity across a number of REM’s systems; project databases, client datasets and financial systems.

 

Providing high quality data that is accurate and consistent across all systems can be a bit more time consuming but it is worth the extra effort.  Incorrect and disordered data can have very negative ramifications and can take much longer to fix (if any issues that arise can be fixed at all).

 

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REM Production Meetings

REM holds a weekly production meeting every Friday morning. 

 

With a coffee or tea in one hand and last week’s schedule, next week’s tentative schedule, and additional notes in the other, the REM staff gathers in our boardroom to discuss the-state-of-the-REM-world, as it relates to projects.

 

As the Project Manager at REM I am happy to lead our production meetings.

 

The format of our production meetings is very typical.  We discuss incomplete tasks from the current week and talk about the tasks that I have tentatively booked for the following week.

 

The meetings give everyone the opportunity to share feedback from our customers that could alter the status of a project and scheduling.  For example, if a customer is going on holidays for a couple of weeks this may force me to adjust the deadline of their project.  Likewise, if a customer has requested a new feature I will need to shift the effected schedules in order to accommodate the additional work. 

 

Our meetings give me the chance to confirm which members of our team can complete certain tasks in order to help balance the overall work load of the company. 

 

Our conversations help provide insight into our processes and customer relationships which is imperative for us to mature in our individual roles and as a company.

 

It is essential that everyone has a solid understanding of the projects that affect them, and in many cases, their colleagues.  Our weekly production meetings are an important part of our internal communication.  They help us remain prepared and productive and help ensure that our projects are completed accurately and on time.

 

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