Our small team in Stanford Web Services tackles projects of all sizes. To allow us to do our best work, we accept only a handful of development projects at one time. One of our goals is to help as many departments and groups as possible build a website with Stanford Sites, and this means moving projects through quickly and efficiently. In some cases, Stanford Web Services may qualify a Drupal site project for a one week "basic site sprint", using Agile project methodology, reusable website and project components, and plenty of elbow grease. Essentially, we create a site from install to delivery in one week in collaboration with the client.
Our first basic site sprint was in fall 2012. The project went well, and we learned a lot, but the site was not completed as quickly as we hoped. After our first iteration of the sprint process it was clear that content preparation is a major component that has the potential to slow down the site building process.
So, we tried again. In our second basic site sprint we decided to have a content workshop prior to the sprint week, including:
- Defining content types
- Showing their existing sitemap and adjusting as necessary
- Performing a card sort exercise on current and proposed content to get to an initial information architecture draft
- Identifying ways the client can work to prepare content ahead of time before the sprint
After this pre-sprint focus on identifying content, we were ready to kick off the sprint week and build the site. Using these techniques, our second attempt at a basic site sprint went smoothly, and our development time was cut by nearly 50%.
What methods do you recommend to keep a website project focused and on track?