Less Haste, More Speed: Why Planning a Project Carefully Is Important

Festina lente. That’s Latin, and it means “make haste slowly”. Another version of this is “more haste, less speed”.

The original adage can be traced back to Greek historian, Suetonius, who explained that rashness was a quality that an emperor named Caesar Augustus deplored in military commanders. Whilst we won’t draw any parallels in what we do with ancient Roman warfare, we find great comfort and resonance in the theory that if you try to do things too quickly, it will take you longer in the end.

If you try to do things too quickly, it will take you longer in the end.

 

Start with a SoW

A statement of work is a great way to start any project. If you’re unsure, this is a document that a business will present to a client to outline the work involved in the project, the specific requirements, and the expected results. Generally, it should also include the specifics of the business relationship.

Here are a few reasons why we suggest using a SoW:

  • To demonstrate your unique competence to the client
  • To formally document your understanding of their brief
  • To cover off anything missed during conversations (easily done!)
  • To minimise back-and-forward questions between you and the client
  • To protect you (and your client) should anything go wrong

A strong SoW is particularly important when building and launching digital products due to the numerous hypothetical moving parts involved in launching a website, platform or app. Creating a SoW up front will ultimately save a lot of time throughout the project’s journey and will also act as a baseline to refer back to when things start to waver or you encounter scope creep.

Own it

There will most likely be a product owner client-side, so you can reflect that in your agency with a project owner. But this doesn’t have to be a ‘Project Manager’ per se, and this relates nicely to our previous blog post, ‘Web Development: It’s Not Just About Code and Programming’. As long as someone close to the project is owning the SoW and managing timelines, expectations, goalposts, and so on, you’ll find yourself in a good place. This could absolutely be a web developer, lead designer or software engineer – as long as they’re clear on the subject and understand the roadmap.

It’s all about the product

Documentation, deliverables and deadlines aren’t music to everyone’s ears. The traditional web developer just wants to get on and do the work. And that’s absolutely fine. But 

Whilst the presence of a SoW and strong project management can be a little daunting to some, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal here isn’t control, reporting or working tirelessly to produce something in time. It’s more about working smarter, working together, and working to an agreed timeline with the common goal of building and releasing a brilliant product – one that serves, or in our case, exceeds the brief.

 

Designing a product is designing a relationship.

 

How do we plan projects at AndAnotherDay?

  • As a team, we’ll work through the brief and brainstorm a number of approaches
  • We will define the goals and objectives of the digital product
  • We will then split the project into different phases, such as design, build and implementation
  • Once the AndAnotherDay team and the client have agreed on an implementation strategy and the objectives, it becomes a part of the SoW
  • If the project is a rebuild of an existing site or blog, or has a lot of content, we will assess and organise the content and prepare it for migration
  • An important part of any project: creating a task list. We do this in Jira and once these tickets are all ready, we can schedule a sprint
  • Then we use ‘storypointing’ to accurately estimate the time it will take to complete each task. This allows us to create a timeline and give the client an accurate set of deadlines and expectations
  • All of the above forms out overall project plan and tells us all we need to know to create our project spec

We can’t stress enough how important careful project planning is. As developers, we are always keen and eager to jump straight in and start coding, but we know that without a clear plan, you can run into problems quickly.

If you have a project in mind that needs some great technical talent but also particular project planning, we are the hybrid development team for you. Get in touch.

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