Questioning the Status Quo
Project Managers at Viget are constantly seeking improvements in our methodology, processes, solution components, communication tools, and documentation standards. Steph touched on this a bit in her post about Exploring Project Management Tasking Tools.
As a culture, we simply don't stick to "the same old way" of doing things whether it comes to mark-up conventions, software development, or cost-tracking mechanisms. We are always looking for the improved, enhanced, better solution. This mentality can be a bit daunting to newcomers, especially if they have come from an environment with entrenched, immovable processes; but, once they realize they have the freedom to explore new options and have the opportunity to be an instrument of change, they quickly adjust.
Over the years, our challenge of the status quo has had some very marked results:
- One developer's exploration of the Ruby on Rails framework to better address client needs ultimately led to a paradigm shift in our development focus from PHP to Ruby.
- One project manager's desire to provide clients with increased visibility into data, trackability, and demonstratable ROI led to the emergence of a dedicated marketing services group that specializes in analytics, SEO, and online marketing.
- One designer's enthusiasm for implementing cascading style sheets to improve how we designed and built front-end interfaces led to our wholesale adoption of CSS and table-free design years ago.
- A collective feeling that we could enhance our information architecture and user experience processes with user surveys, user interviews, and expanded user testing led to the establishment of a core UX group that specializes in usability.
From a project management perspective, change is often buried in the details. Sometimes, it's a new, genius spreadsheet that makes our lives easier when managing weekly run rates. At other times, it's a new web-based app such as Backpack that we can adopt to improve our quality assurance procedures. But, we're also exploring concepts and techniques that may have more substantive impact on our business processes. Currently, we're experimenting with clickable wireframes as a means to abbreviate the UX=>design=>development process and provide clients with the semblance of a working version of their application much earlier in the project life cycle. Many of the ideas we explore result in an appreciation for our current approach and no permanent change to our operating procedures. But, often, we recognize that even incremental improvement is worth modifying our processes. It's these incremental improvements, fostered in a culture that values experimentation and growth, that has allowed Viget to evolve and grow itself.