At Egressive and subsequently at Catalyst, we used a five stage design process, first documented by Egressive designer Josh Campbell, for all project work to determine requirements and manage project milestones and costs. Each stage is a distinct part of the project to ensure that the solutions provided have been reviewed and approved by the Customer's representatives - the stakeholders - at critical points.
This process provides a rigorous structure for our communications with you as well as our internal quality assurance practices.
For straightforward projects, this can be used in a serial fashion - a traditional "waterfall" approach, but we also found, rather unexpectedly, that this process generalises very well to more complex projects where iteration can take place within one or across more stages, as done with agile development methodologies.
Each stage is broken into tasks so that dependencies are managed and budgets are visible for all stages.
The Analysis stage began with Catalyst's initial contact with the stakeholders and the initial requirements for the project. We have worked with the stakeholders to identify and document the primary requirements, target audiences and goals of the solution. From that work, we have written this proposal outlining the requirements and high level options for a the desired solution including the expected costs for the development of the solution.
Initial ideas for the solution will be explored. This stage typically covers the visual style and interface design, information architecture and early technical solutions. The development team will work together to explore ideas that are taken to the project stakeholders for review.
We include all team members in the initial concept development so that all members can contribute and have the same understanding of the expected outcome.
We invite project stakeholders to be involved with and review this conceptual work on a continuous basis.
Once finalised and approved, the concept will form a solid base for development.
The Development stage implements the solution agreed upon in the Concept stage. Any changes to the original requirements and final concepts will be reviewed before being implemented. This is a production stage and should be the most straight forward stage, assuming expectations for the completed solution have been appropriately set during the Concept stage.
Ongoing functional testing will be completed as primary functionality is added.
The project stakeholders will have access to some elements throughout this stage (on the development or staging website) and will be included if there are any decisions needing to be made or concerns that arise.
Towards the end of this stage the project stakeholders will see much of the solution come together.
This is a quality assurance stage that usually includes final functional testing, and final browser testing and will provide a final opportunity for project stakeholder review.
Both stakeholder representatives and the development team will review the solution to ensure it meets all the requirements outlined in the original proposal,. We will expect a stakeholder representative to sign off before final delivery is made.
The team will configure the completed solution in its final environment and requests that a stakeholder representative sign off the project as completed.
This final phase normally includes tasks like working with the customer to get the website's domain name pointed to the live site, coordinating the transition from any previous live site to the new one (such as data migration and web address redirections).
We will expect stakeholders to provide feedback and - when satisfied - to sign off all solutions as they are completed.