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Getting Back on Track: Saving Derailed Projects, Lightning Talk from O'Reilly Ignite Boston 5


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Rapid, iterative web app development is all the rage these days, and it's great when it works. But, sometimes projects crash and burn. What happens when you need to clean up the mess of a team that's been in there before you and left the code and design in shambles? In this presentation, Jon Follett of Hot Knife Design, Inc. and Dan Pickett of Enlight Solutions, Inc. will examine some techniques they've implemented when integrating design and dev in the midst of a pile of code and pixel rubble, with no money and an anxious client who just wants the job to be over and the digital product functional. In five minutes or less, Jon and Dan will pass on some hard earned knowledge, learned in the trenches and show you how to assess the damage, start measuring progress, and get the party back on the bus again.

Published in: Technology

Getting Back on Track: Saving Derailed Projects, Lightning Talk from O'Reilly Ignite Boston 5

  1. 1. + Ignite Boston 5 Getting Back on Track Saving Derailed Projects 02.12.09
  2. 2. + Some thoughts on real world techniques for developers & designers on a rescue mission.
  3. 3. Jon Follett Hot Knife Design, Inc. Designs, consults, and writes for A List Apart and UXmatters. Dan Pickett Enlight Solutions, Inc. Codes and consults. Former Director of Engineering for Second Rotation (
  4. 4. You are here.
  5. 5. This is your client or stakeholder.
  6. 6. 1. Over Communicate Sync up all the time.
  7. 7. + > Regular > Brief > Punctual
  8. 8. 2. Deliver Value Quickly For maximum impact
  9. 9. + Create a core asset, like a killer prototype.
  10. 10. + Don’t bother with a post mortem ... yet.
  11. 11. 3. Assess the Damage What can be salvaged?
  12. 12. + Is any piece of the project useful? “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” - Winston Churchill
  13. 13. + Was it built right?
  14. 14. 4. Getting Back on Track Building long-term value
  15. 15. 5. Define the Process Educate the client.
  16. 16. + Move the client toward a systematic method of building the digital product. “Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.” - Andre Gide
  17. 17. 6. Set Expectations Define the rules of engagement.
  18. 18. + Don’t make the assumption that the contractor was the problem. “Big egos have little ears.” - Robert Schuller
  19. 19. “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” - Buckminster Fuller 7. Do Great Work Like Van Halen (pre-Hagar)
  20. 20. + THANK YOU. Jon Follett Dan Pickett