[thelist] Advice on being a development team of one

aardvark evolt at roselli.org
Sat Feb 4 09:14:20 CST 2006

On 3 Feb 2006 at 22:12, Antigone Zero wrote:
> So, does anybody have any advice? How do I define the site's value to the
> institute? And how do I, as a web development team of one, develop the
> highest quality site that they can afford and I can produce? How do I plan
> and budget all of this? And how do I arrange user testing on a site with a
> specialized audience that commands a high salary? If I test on users from
> outside that audience how do I know if the results are valuable?

consider starting with something we call Requirements Analysis, or 
what others call a Needs Assessment...

don't presume to know the answers to any of the questions above... 
instead, go interview the "client" and, where possible, users... ask 
these questions of them, in a different form...

what value do they see the site has?
what value do they want it to have?
what do they want to do on the site?
what does it do now? how well?
what doesn't it do now?
who do they think their users are?
what do the logs suggest are their users?
poll some users with the same questions...
poll some random people with the same questions after showing the 

the questions go on, and you find more questions to ask as you go...

start a chart to track your results... a whiteboard, a giant sheet of 
paper... sketch out the plan, goals, etc. as they come to you...

after you go through all this, work out a plan, a scope... identify 
features, work to be done, goals, etc... bring this in front of 
everyone who has a say in the project for their review and, 
ultimately, approval... you may need revisions...

from the approved scope, work out a timeline... how many hours will 
you need? what resources?

use that as your proposed budget and send it back up the chain... if 
too high, work to prioritize features so you can cut things... if too 
low, get to work.... more features may present themselves anyway...

there's lots that can be said about user testing, but for now, grab 
some of the finer articles on the web... as you move along, work out 
a plan for testing and run it by all the stakeholders... they may 
have great insight for you...

hope that helps some...

the other option...

write goals and costs on a corkboard... throw a dart...

take the dart out of your roommate's chest and try again...

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