Recent years have brought a series of growth spurts for ISM – not just in volume of clients, but in the breadth of service offerings and staff size. To keep pace, we’ve had to evolve from a “figure it out as you go” mentality to a “follow the process” mantra. This culminated in “2011: A Year of Processes.” On the outset, I never expected it to be as difficult and time consuming as it became. Who knew that defining the who/how/when/why/what’s of everyone’s innate processes and responses would be so painful?
But painful, it was. The processes of identifying, documenting and melding the assortment of styles, philosophies and techniques was a massive undertaking. There are a thousand steps that occur from the first steps of scoping out a project to the last QA/QC steps before a site launches, ad goes out or social campaign gets going. Striking the balance between strategist’s approach and the technician’s mentality was perhaps the most crucial part of this. Too much of a focus on the elements that the strategist considers critical (high-level concepts) and not enough of the technician’s traits (the devil’s in the details) or visa versa would leave the work incomplete.
That’s why we defined everything. Not only to provide a smoother workflow, but to formalize the new ideas that allow us to fully flesh out our clients’ messages and key differentiators. The newly redefined discovery process arms us up front with the elements that used to be on our “if we’d only known this when we started” wish list. The restructured development process means we truly understand the end user and can build everything (aesthetic, functionality, messaging, interaction) with those personas always in focus.
As it we entered 2011, it was a year of process. Now well into 2012, we are clearly embarking on a year of progress. The growing pains of 2011 were necessary to build the foundation. Now it’s time to start building.