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Process Design

The Synchronized Project

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Design, story carding and development should be transparent and closely integrated parts of a project. Unfortunately this is not always the case. At Hashrocket we have put a lot of effort into a set up and a process that allows us to keep these efforts in sync for a project. Give this post a read for some insight into how we accomplish this.


Our process at Hashrocket has evolved greatly over the years and one of the areas that I think has been key in our success is how closely we have integrated design, story carding and development. In many environments a list of requirements will be put together for a business case, taken to someone for design, then technical requirements or story cards are distilled from the design and finally it is all handed to developers to build. It may not be that exact order but unfortunately the process is frequently that disconnected.

The Problems

  • designers build something in photoshop that is painful or not feasible from a development perspective
  • development is done without consistent design input leading to a poor user experience
  • design and development do not communicate efficiently, become combative or simply waste tons of time due to disjointed communication

The Solution

At Hashrocket at the very start of a project we bring the stakeholder in to work with a team comprised of a designer, a project manageer and a pair of developers. As the stakeholder describes the application's features we wireframe their ideas and write the story cards that describe those interactions. This is a transparent process where everyone can see what is being worked on in real time. This goes a long way to prevent confusion and miscommunication.

This allows for tighter iterations and course corrections with design and development in the same loop. Design is able to help guide feature development towards the best user experiences. Development is able to provide feedback towards the best use of technology to accomplish those interactions. This is accomplished within the shared context of ensuring everyone is working towards tangible value for the stakehodler.

The Set-Up

  • Everyone on the team together
  • Large marker board
  • 50" television with a mac mini attached
  • Mac mini screen sharing with designer's laptop to display wireframes on the television as they work
  • Project manager connected to mac mini via tmux to display story cards as they are written

Repeat as necessary with daily stand ups involving everyone.

The Result

A synchronized effort that sets a project up for success.

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