Discovery in Process

Every industry evolves

Service standards change across the board. It doesn’t even matter what your business might be, eventually development processes will be nearly unrecognizable to even your industry’s most veterans members. Whatever your service vertical, the urgency for new means to service your clients is likely there, even if small changes have to pile up quite a bit before they’re addressed.

Few industries are faced with such rapidly evolving standards as web development.

It can be a mine field of the unpredictable, even for well established firms like Gulo. To account for an ever-altering landscape, well constructed web development projects account for discovery as a requisite stage of the process. Indeed, this makes the discipline a model case study in agile processes.

It can be helpful to compare the building of a new web property with the construction of a new home or building construction-6

Web-based construction and physical construction projects each encounter countless complexities. Some of these challenges are quite a bit similar conceptually, if not in practice. Finding the impossible and utterly subjective balance between form and function is just one noteworthy challenge faced by both physical construction projects as well as those in the digital realm.

Of course, builders of corporeal structures face countless challenges all their own. But there’s at least one unique challenge in web-based building that is highlighted well by comparing the disciplines. Consider this:

unusual-buildings-36-pics_6What if completely different materials were used to construct buildings and homes every two years?

Been building homes with brick and mortar the past year?

Well this year many of your projects will be built with bamboo. Next year you’ll be building with clay! 

But what if it’s not just the materials that change rapidly! What if the tools used to build homes also changed?Strange-Building-Designs-cover

You’ve been using a saw and nails? Well, this project calls for scissors and glue!

Could you imagine what a challenge it would be for construction companies to keep up? The amount of continuing education they’d need? The non-stop search for material vendors and new partnerships? How often they’d have to hire new specialized employees, even?!

Welp, this example highlights the day to day reality for web builders!

In the digital realm, the building materials and the tools used to shape them are ever-changing. Indeed, coding and design standards evolve at an exponential pace. One thing is certain: in two years, the materials and tools used to build web properties will be strikingly different from what’s used most prevalently today.  This is an industry in which its painfully clear that you can never stop learning if you want to survive.

For Gulo employees (and those of a number of digital agencies) a number of educational courses are mandatory for all staff annually. Still, helpful as coursework can be, we learn our most invaluable lessons from the hands-on work of each new project. This is why we determined that constant discovery needs to be formalized into our process as we approach each new project.

So we need to make sure that we learn new lessons form each and every project we take on, regardless of how ‘general’ they might seem. But how can ongoing discovery be incorporated into a formal process?

Find out on Monday next week (10/26), when I’ll break down some time-tested strategies.