Hustle. Skills to pay the bills. Early bird gets the worm. We have a lot of work-related sayings that emphasize the doing, but not as many about the deciding to do. Few people are lining up to work with us explicitly because of our operational prowess, but I’m sure many would stay away if we didn’t have it. Like good design, a good operations practice is a thing that goes unnoticed when done well—and is glaringly obvious when not.
But how do good operations help support goal achievement and healthy project budgets? We keep coming back to three key pillars: estimating, sizing, and balance.
Estimating Design and Development Projects
Beyond the obvious step of establishing price, a good estimating process is important to align expectations and begin the engagement-long process of creating shared meaning. The proper estimating process can help avoid surprises and challenges later in the project. Design and development projects have their own peculiarities that may not crop up in other types of engagements. Megan Wine knows all about these and shares what she knows in her post, How to Estimate Design and Development Projects to Avoid Surprises.
Sizing Tasks and Initiatives to Improve Project Management
We build estimates to better know where we’re going and to ensure we’re prepared for the journey. There’s a diminishing rate of return the further we estimate out into the future, though. Knowing how to size those blocks of work (whether initiatives, sprints, phases, whatever) can increase efficiency and avoid some common pitfalls of large, ungainly engagements. Jess Victor has experienced all of this first hand and will tell us more in, How Sizing Design and Development Initiatives Appropriately Increases Team Efficiency.
Balancing Project Timelines and Budgets
The classic project management discussion—time, budget, and quality. Beyond the basics of the triple constraints, how can you think about your broader operational practices to ensure you’re not over-indexing (or ignoring!) one of these facets? In How to Reach Your Design and Development Goals On Time and On Budget, Alicia Eichelman provides some guidelines borne from our experiences and history—coming soon!
Operational Practices to Help You Reach Your Business Goals
Firms like ours are rightly judged by the outcomes they help their client partners achieve. Those stories are often told from the perspective of technical or design-oriented solutions. After all, those are the things that people see when they ask, “How’d they solve that?” What often goes unmentioned are the operational practices that undergird and enable those solutions. It’s our experience that you need both elements—the seen and unseen—to achieve real and lasting success.
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