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Topic: Project Management

Better collaboration through good planning. Product management for the web. Become a better communicator. Control agreements and expectations. Learn the key questions every client needs answered—and how to use them as the basis of a proposal that convinces your client you’re the right team for the job. Just say no to bad ideas. Dr Strangeweb, or How I Learned To Quit Worrying And Love Scope Creep.

  • Aligning Content Work with Agile Processes

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    Times (and job titles, and platforms) have changed. Agile has the potential to liberate content strategists from obsolete ways of working, and developers and designers can help. Brendan Murray identifies four key areas—iteration, product, people, and communication—where designers and devs can find common ground with their content counterparts and usher them into to an agile world. The open and collaborative approach of modern agile development is a framework within which content work can refine itself, test, and learn.

  • Defeating Workplace Drama with Emotional Intelligence

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    Workplace drama, coworker and client irrationality: these seem like forces of nature that we have no way to prevent or control. Brandon Gregory shows us the emotional calculus at the heart of the tempest. Try this formula on any behavior that makes no sense, and it will help you understand what’s going on and what you can do to help.

  • “Buy Him A Coffee”

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    Doing effective work often depends on the cooperation of colleages. Many of us struggle with this aspect of our jobs. Our very reasonable explanations fall on deaf ears. We’re not charismatic or extroverted, and people tune us out. We’re good at what we do, but we’re not “born leaders.” Actually, it’s not arcane knowledge or inborn talent that gives you the ability to win friends and influence people. Nishant Kothary realized that being influential is a skill that you can (and should) develop.

  • The Art of Creating Accurate Estimates

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    If you make a living in client services, you know how daunting the estimating process can be. Somehow, you have to predict how much time and work will go into completing a client’s project before it even begins. Clients have to trust your estimates in order to commit funds to a project. You have to trust your estimates in order to commit to the next project on your schedule. Matt Griffin shares some tips to make estimating a bit more methodical and a bit less fraught.

  • 80/20 Practitioners Make Better Communicators

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    Approaches that are either too general or too specific can easily overwhelm practitioners—and derail budgets. Fresh from recent experiences with two large-scale redesigns, Katie Kovalcin suggests that flexibility and open communication can transform all team members into what she calls “80/20 practitioners,” creating a more effective balance of time and resources.

  • There Is No Data vs. Intuition

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    Heads/Tails, Left/Right, Church/State, Engineering/Design, Logic/Emotion. Oh wait—the flipside of logic isn’t emotion. It’s fallacy. Another fallacy is feeling obliged to join either the faction of the sensibly-clad engineers or the faction of the crayon-toting creatives. Nishant Kothary has found that research is on the side of trusting your gut (then backing up your instinct with testing).

  • Managing and Making: It Doesn’t Have to Be One or the Other

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    We take it for granted that career progress means moving into a management role. Even people who thrive in the individual contributor role feel the pressure to join management. Shouldn’t both capacities be valued, so we can find where we genuinely fit in and do our best work? Rian van der Merwe has gone scouting up the career path and realized it’s okay to turn back and be the other, oft-overlooked but equally important half of the management/making dynamic.

  • The Specialist-Generalist Balance

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    Specialists? Generalists? It’s not a question of which is better, but about finding the right mix for your team and your work. Specialists offer valuable expertise, but over-reliance on specialization isn’t always good for workflow—too many niches can lead to silos, bottlenecks, and poor communication. Garin Evans recommends that, instead, we build teams that play off the best traits of specialists and generalists, encouraging collaboration and innovation as we go.

  • The People are the Work

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    You take pride in your creativity and brilliant work, but the web is a place of transience. Businesses evolve, client needs change, sites are outgrown, and it’s time to start building again. Can you be content with the work of presenting content on the web? For an approach to creating something that stands the test of time, Matt Griffin and the Bearded crew took to heart an old adage in a surprisingly new way.

  • Logically Speaking

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    The human mind has its own logic far beyond the binary states of mere computers. Even in the tech industry, you can't escape the reality that it takes more than data and solid conclusions to win people over.

  • The Implicit Contract

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    Working with a team of like-minded folks not only makes for more copacetic daily interactions, it actually has a positive effect on the end product. Developers are valued for more than their technical skills. Another hallmark of a good developer is how well they mesh with a team.

  • Managing Feature Requests

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    You’re proud of your product, and welcome user suggestions on making it even better. Will you be able to make everyone happy? Should you even aim to accommodate them all? Before you start coding, think about how to prioritize feature requests, and even say no to some.

  • The Specialized Web: Working with Subject-Matter Experts

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    Content strategists often rely on the specialized knowledge of subject-matter experts (SMEs) to get the job done. But that job isn’t always straightforward; it’s complicated by different perspectives, communication styles, and project goals. Amanda Costello shows us how people skills—and the right mindset—can lead to better collaboration with SMEs and a smoother process from start to finish.

  • The Politics of Feedback

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    We’re obsessive about collecting input from a wide range of potential users and stakeholders. But with such an onslaught of feedback, there’s always a risk of having your motivation and faith in humanity sucked right out of you. Sometimes, you just need calm critique from the few people who really get you. So which kind of feedback is best? The answer is both.

  • Client Education and Post-Launch Success

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    Our jobs don’t end when we flip the switch at launch. It’s our responsibility, in fact, to follow through and make sure the tools we build are used to their fullest potential—by taking the time to educate and train our clients. Drew Thomas demonstrates how teaching our clients to understand, wield, and embrace their new websites and digital strategies makes good business sense for everyone involved.

  • Git: The Safety Net for Your Projects

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    Are you one server outage away from losing the past week of work? Are you dealing constantly with buggy code, spending hours of time figuring out where errors were introduced? Tobias Günther thought this was just the way coding worked, until he started using Git for version control—and began to see huge improvements in workflow. Today he’ll walk you through the organized, approachable, and completely sane world of Git as he’s learned it. Your next project will thank you.

  • Running Code Reviews with Confidence

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    Where does code review factor into your process? Don’t make it an afterthought, or avoid it altogether; Emma Jane Hogbin Westby shows us how code reviews can be done constructively and painlessly in this walkthrough. Even if you aren’t using Git to store your code, the principles here will make for an objective, consistent feedback process—and an even better end product.

  • Living up to Your (Business) Ideals

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    We all want to do work that matches our values—that lets us live up to our ideals for the world. But we also want to keep the lights on, make payroll, and maybe even grow. How can we design our agencies, studios, or freelance businesses to do both? Geoff DiMasi says the answer is in establishing a vision for your work, and directly tying that vision to the way you evaluate prospective clients and projects—and he’s here to help you get started.

  • Making Time for Side Projects

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    What’s holding you back from finishing that side project? It’s valuable, but how will you ever find time for it? The secret is…drumroll…real goals and deadlines, and a realistic plan on how to fit it into the open spaces in your schedule. Time to get it on your to-do list and feel the motivation kick in.

  • The Silent Subcontractor

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    Subcontracting for an agency can sometimes leave a freelance designer in the shadows, unable to talk directly with the client during the project, and unable to show their own work in their portfolio later.