digital experiences that people love
Jon Waring
26th Jan 2017

5 lessons from our latest project

5:30pm, you look up and think, ‘where did the day go?’ It’s been like that for most of 2016 at 3Sixty. The reason? We agreed to deliver a complex global website in 6 months – deadline not negotiable!

Rewind to the beginning of 2016, sitting in a meeting room at Celebrity Cruises and someone asked:

"Would it be easier to build a new website, rather than do a patchwork of changes to the current one"?

We thought it might, and returned to our studio to create a proposal. The basis of our confidence? We’re an experienced, agile team without layers of admin and we like to get on with things. Plus, we have a lot of experience in the travel and tourism sector.

Spoiler alert: We delivered. But not without hitches. Some things we couldn’t control, others were all ours. Which leads us to point 1.

1. Control the controllable

Anything you commit to delivering needs clear dependencies (the things you can’t control). When theses aren’t met, the project scope or deadline needs to change – we use Teamweek. It’s easy to think ‘we’ll make up the time’. You won’t. Ever seen Goodfellas? Then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

2. Get your story right

User stories are a fundamental part of creating a new website or app but clients often find them difficult to engage with. We created a cloud based prototype in UX Pin to communicate the user stories and as a basis for user testing. There’s a useful commenting feature that allows everyone to discuss features in situ. We then transfer any functional changes to the user stories document. Problem solved.

3. Use it

We created some of the pages for the site using the content management system (we used Kentico). Helpful for the client since loading content always takes longer than anticipated. Another unexpected benefit was the insight it gave us at 3Sixty. We know the site inside out and understand the user experience from the client’s point of view.

4. Collaborate

We’re big on collaboration. With clients, agencies or freelancers, the best work happens when you’re all on the same team. We spend a great deal of time communicating by phone, in person, but particularly online. So we invite clients, agencies and freelancers to Slack and create channels for subjects such as: Design, bugs, development. Etc. It keeps stuff organised, encourages open communication and everyone feels part of the team. Plus, our email inboxes don’t get hammered.

5. Test

Testing comes into its critical phase at the end of the project – user acceptance testing and QA testing. This project had a non negotiable deadline and, for various reasons, it came down to the wire. The truth is, we needed more time to test. We fixed each bug as it surfaced, but we’d rather find these issues before the user does.

We won’t compromise on test periods again. Lessons learned.

See the new Celebrity Cruise website

See the case study

_mattfrench_ hasn’t got the hang of the standing desks yet! #3sixtyblog