6.25.14

5 Things to Consider When Deciding on Your Development Process

BY JON SYU

Often times, a client has to use multiple vendors to fulfill all their development needs. For instance, it is common for a different agency to design the site while another agency develops it. Carbon8 is an all-in-one agency, so we usually fulfill one, if not both, of these roles. If you do need a piece-meal system set up, we'd be happy to do whatever you need, but there a few things that you may want to consider when deciding on your process.

Decision Making

1) With each additional vendor, there is an additional bottleneck

If the development agency is waiting on the design agency to get some files over, then the whole chain of work is potentially dead in the water. Suddenly, your whole project is irreparably behind schedule and you’re pretty much left with all the blame when you miss your deadline. Organization between vendors is highly susceptible to logistical problems, and when working with multiple vendors, you’ll want to make sure you have a VERY healthy deadline.

2) Websites are engineered together, not glued

If you have one agency doing the front-end of the site, and another doing the back-end, be prepared for significant difficulties when combining the site. In fact, I would recommend that you never do this unless you absolutely have to. Websites are programmed line by line to work together in specific ways - they do not suddenly become compatible with other systems.

3) Find out what each agency is capable of providing to another agency

There’s no smooth way of getting around this - agencies need to have access to the files of other agencies in order to work efficiently. This is nearly impossible to make happen perfectly, and a ton of delays occur because of this. So before you get started, get an idea of how each agency plays with others, and whether they can provide files in a format that the other agency can use. Think of a relay race - every individual needs to be moving before the baton is handed over, so make sure you plan well in advance.

4) Approve quickly and carefully

With so many different items being handled by different groups, approving of specific elements as soon as they come in may make the difference between hitting your deadline right on target or missing it by months. Approvals need to be quickly, but also carefully. Backing out or changing something that has already been approved can be a train wreck in a multi-vendor environment.

5) Have a master blueprint

Usually, a development shop will provide a blueprint of how the site will function, but make sure you have a master copy of how the entire site will look and function before you get started. Most agencies will work purely off the blueprint, and emailing requests and changes to one agency without informing any other can potentially lead to an organizational nightmare.

Jon Syu
written by JON SYU

Jonathan is the senior technology manager at Carbon8, with years of experience working with various nonprofits and businesses in technical, development, and marketing positions. He began his programming career at 12, when he realized that he could create games on his graphic calculator instead of learning math. At Carbon8, he is responsible for all things technical, providing direction to Carbon8's development offerings and overall strategy.

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