An insight into why we started systemising and documenting EVERYTHING!
Up until more recently every website we build we just got on with and did the job and got it live and finished as soon as possible. While this has always worked absolutely fine, we know our process well and what needs to be done, I’ve started to think more about how this can be improved.
Reasons to improve our process
One of the main reasons we made the move to improve and document our process is as we expand and bring in more work, we need to be able to bring in more staff or freelancers and enable them to follow how we do things without going through a huge learning curve. Our main question when approaching this is how can we make our process easy enough to follow that a new designer or admin member of staff can sit down and start work from day one without going through weeks of training.
The tools we chose to use
To help with incoming messages we have adopted Help Scout (Shameless plug, if you sign up through this link you will get a $50 credit and we get $100 Amazon gift card to spend on crap we don’t need Help Scout Link. )We have set up a new email address ([email protected]) so that all our customer requests, updates and our website enquiries all come into one place. With having our emails before coming into Gmail with all our other mail it was very easy to miss emails. This way all our support requests are in one place and can be sorted, replied to and tagged and closed when dealt with so we have a full history for each customer in one place for everything that’s done.
For our proposals we have now moved over to Better Proposals, Take a look at what it does, I won’t go into it in any detail here but I will probably write a full post on it when we have adapted to it a bit better. So far though I think this tool will be essential to us moving forward. Check them out here Better Proposals Link
We now have a checklist of over 120 points on which we create a clients site. This is from initial contact and research before approaching a client right up to clicking launch. Each point is listed under a section for example “research” or “website build”. It’s then broken down into a subject for example “setup SSL” with a description of what’s to be done or a link to a document of the process step by step so any future employee or freelancer can follow our process exactly for every site the same every time. Finally, we then list which tool is used for that job.
Every job we will add, modify and remove items for this list so that it constantly evolves as we do as we learn.
I plan on releasing this checklist for download when we are a bit further along with it. I also have an idea I may put together to release all our documentation for these processes in a free members type area. Still working on this and as soon as it’s worked out I’ll post more details!