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The Art of Organization

Manage, Information Architecture, Web Design

Makespace Team

We’re friends, right? I thought so...so I’m going to be perfectly transparent with you.

Makespace has not always been organized. We all know that in order for an agency to be successful long term; there must be order. There absolutely has to be an agreed-upon guideline for getting work in the door & out the door; on-time & on-budget. Not only does there have to be a process in place, everyone has to follow it for it to be successful. (This is something we still and probably always will struggle with).

When I joined, makespace was growing from an agency of 4 people to twenty. The loose, organic process that had worked okay before wasn't going to work anymore.  

I’ve done a lot of research on the process of managing a web marketing agency. I searched high & low for someone bold enough to tell me what worked for their team. I have never found what I was looking for but good news...our trials can be your triumph.

Nesting Dolls

When I came to makespace, there was no formal process or organization. What do I mean by that?

I mean:

  • there was no file server or central repository for client assets,
  • no project management tool in place,
  • no version control,
  • no password management,
  • no project specifications,
  • no needs assessments, kick off meetings, points of approval, etc, etc, etc.
  • no clearly defined way of doing things.

When you're a tiny team of four working on mostly small web site design, you can get away with that. But if we were going to grow without breaking, we needed structure to support that growth. 

Growing pains, you found a home.

First we got the basics out of the way. No more emails (from their personal accounts no less!) going back & forth between the sales guy & the designer with photoshop files & revisions. We needed a project management tool to add some order to this chaos. Basecamp to the rescue! As for getting folks to actually use it & manipulating basecamp for our needs; that is an article in & of itself. I would love to have some suggestions on that topic {call me}.

Next up, the geeks were rallied. A network was wired, file server put in place, we adopted google apps for document & email management, set up GIT for version control, keypass for password management. We specified a uniform way of organizing active & inactive client files and again; the geeks rallied to set up a development environment protocol. {I

The biggest obstacle has by far been the adoption of a process. When you throw 20+ people into an office together; each person has a way of doing things. They are already used to their way & it worked for them. Why do they have to use this new tool or commit their changes or follow these steps? I’ll tell you why...

Your agency will fall apart & ultimately fail if they don’t.

After you launch a few hundred websites; certain patterns start to emerge.

In defining a process for makespace; I turned to my experience in following one. You only need to take note of the things that failed and the things that succeeded to have a nice start to a process for getting projects launched. Take note of every step you take...where do we need payments, where do we need client approvals, where does it make sense for the content to go in, who puts that content in & since we’re talking about content...how do we even GET content from clients in the first place? Answer: Build it into their contract by default, charge them for it & if it’s delivered in full by X date...that content creation fee is removed.

Why it matters to you, Mister or Mistress Client.

As a business who needs web design and the other web marketing services we provide, our process is your protection. Our process has allowed us to bring on more specialized talent, and let them work together effectively--so your project gets SEO attention from an SEO specialist, user experience attention from a UX specialist like me, etc, etc, etc. It means you get a better quality product. Our process means your project gets done on time & on budget, with fewer surprises and expensive miscommunication. So really, it's all about us, but it's all about you, too.  

I’m going to bring it all the way back around. Remember full disclosure & transparency because we’re friends?

This is our internal process guide. You’re welcome.