Raining Cats & Dogs

Jaimie Bell • 15th Sep 2015

Embrace the Challenges

From booking integrations to stock feeds and more, whatever the technicality may be, there will always be a component of the project which is deemed ‘difficult’. On a good day, we refer to this as ‘a challenging aspect’.  Doing the research and thinking upfront and tackling that ‘challenging’ part of the project head on will put the team and yourself at ease. So rally the troops and go into battle. The result will be a comforted client who knows that you’re ‘on the detail’.

Users, Users, Users.

We say it often, but we cant say it enough, ‘it’s all about the users’, that’s why the first part to any project we run is figuring out the user personas. Who are they? What do they do? What are their needs? How did they find you?…

Rule number 1. 

Mr or Mrs client, you are most likely not the user. What you want, does not necessarily mean it is what your customers need. However, you may well have valuable insight about your users’ needs.

Rule number 2

Take the time to get more stakeholders involved at this stage; if there’s no budget to involve real users, make sure that you do involve other people from the client organisation who understand their diverse audience segments.

Keeping pace with your audience

As everything moves online, and as we spend more time on the go and online, the needs and expectations of users have grown exponentially and that’s not even mentioning the tech. Gone are the days of 2 break points of one ipad and one iphone size. Thanks Apple!

Share the Pain, and the Joy

Being a project manager does not mean going it alone, we are the constant between the team and client but it doesn’t mean we need to take on all the jobs. Bringing the team closer by holding a project board meeting or sprint review, whatever PM methodology you choose, just make sure the communication and check points are in place. There is an amazing phenomenon which occurs which I like to call the “illusion of communication”. It’s a he said/she said situation where nobody really knows who said what. Easiest solution is to get everyone in a room from your head of tech, to head of design and planning – after all 4 heads are better than one.

In short, what I’m trying to say is although it may seem like it’s raining cats & dogs, one small process and regular meetings will go a long way to ensuring your project is heading in the right direction.

Every so often take on a Pet Project…

While we are on the topic of animals, I wanted to mention a project we took on at The Lane for Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home.  The #Laners are known for having a soft spot for furry friends, and this favouring of the four-leggeds extends beyond our own miniature poodle Buckie, whose dislike to other curly haired people makes him even more adorable.  So when it came to building a brand new website for EDCH, we decided to ignore the challenging budget and draw instead on our heartstrings to provide the brilliant team there with a website deserved of their efforts and commitment.

EDCH are hugely reliant on everyone who supports them as they receive no government or lottery funding. Without the support of volunteers, fundraisers and donations from supporters they wouldn’t be able to do the amazing job in caring for the animals that they do. We knew from the outset that it was important to bring out the personality of both the animals and their very special humans who are the driving force behind all of the great work of EDCH.  We’ve introduced a lot more colour and flexibility to the site, which has allowed the team to highlight events, fundraisers and of course their all-important furry friends. So if you are thinking of experiencing the joy of expanding your family with the addition of a four-legged member, then be sure to take a visit soon: http://www.edch.org.uk/

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