When working on a project such as this one, its important to maintain a degree of professionalism with clients, staff, and other students to ensure tasks are completed accurately as well as ensuring that the image of the University is not brought into disrepute, in this case. One way in which this applies to communication specifically is maintaining a chain of command in a sense – between the client, RedBalloon, staff at the university, and students.
Conduct with client
An important aspect of maintain professionalism in this project was through email – broadly the main mode of contact between students, staff, and the client. Proper greeting, well-spelt language, timely replies and signing off the email properly are all key to maintain professional image of the university. Copying relevant recipients into emails ensures that all correspondence is properly communicated and documented – for example it is beneficial for communications with the client to have university staff copied in to ensure that everybody involved in the project is kept up-to-date. Equally imporant is the conduct of students on visits to the cathedral – again, in order to not bring the University into disrepute and also to maintain general professionalism as best practice when interacting with a third party. This included arranging visits to the cathedral via RedBalloon and being mindful of practices at the cathedral – such as times of prayer.
Having an established method of workflow is important for maintaining systematic control of the project as a whole – as well as being able to accurately document the progress of the project. In turn, this allows for accurate progress reports which is helpful for both those working on the project as well as informing the client of the current stage the project is at. Additionally, a systematic approach to workflow on a project helps the team in knowing what part of development needs attention next in the process, which is where models such as SCRUM boards can be useful.
Use of Trello as a scrum board
Due to the remote and flexible nature of our agency and development team, a physical SCRUM board was not an option. We opted to use Trello as a replacement. It allows for the naming of tasks, colour coding and categorisation – all the same features a traditional SCRUM board offers. It served as a useful tool in controlling the direction of development, and micromanaging tasks needed to create different components of the process. The ability to name tasks allows an aspect of accountability in the team, ensuring tasks are completed by the right people and that there is a way to monitor progress of the project.
Regular meetings are another important aspect of workflow key to ensuring the project stays on track and that members of the team are all aware of the current stage the project is at. Typically we plan to hold meetings every week, with agendas that focus on feedback from the client, tasks for the week ahead and how we plan to achieve targets each week surrounding the development of the project. Additionally, meetings are a good way to spitball ideas and evaluate what does and doesn’t work in terms of new ideas.
We needed a comprehensive central location in order to keep track of everything going on in the team and the development of the project – that was flexible and adaptable, and that allowed a strong hierarchy for the organisation of content as well as permission control due to the private nature of the project. We opted for a MediaWiki hosted privately, which allowed all of this. With the simple, flexible, and structured interface it allows for the easy collation of all communications, resources, and discussion that happens within the team – including the transcribing of meeting minutes, current prototypes, blueprints, drafts, content, etc. Collation of everything happening in the development process allows for accurate and informed decisions to be made as everybody has access to the same version of the information available, and all correspondence is in a central location. Use of the wiki was also beneficial in the hosting of key media files – such as assets received by the Cathedral and the design bible. In a similar vein we opted for wordpress as a way to keep a development log and blog of the progress – due to the ability for private hosting, permission control to the blog, and the good track record of wordpress as a back-end and blogging platform.