After nearly a month off, I believe it is time for me to institute a new way I am going to blog. Topics range from a ton of different items, and I think we should have a specific way of what I am doing. So, starting today, and hopefully I will have enough time with this, I will be doing a post every day of the week. Some will be longer than others, and some with be short. But every day, there is a theme that will be followed. The format will be as follows:
Monday – Whats the plan, Stan; Planning ideas and thoughts
Tuesday – Have your Cake and eat it too; focusing on coding
Wednesday – Coding for the Social Leper, ideas and code segments for people like me, social lepers
Thursday – Focus on the Locus; examinations on location services, social integration and strategy
Friday – Fun Stuff to Knock Your Socks Off; fun stuff to finish up the week
Now, the next question ought to be, what makes me such an expert on any of these topics? Well, here is the answer, nothing, I am not an expert. These are my musing and experiences in these areas. I may be right on some of my endeavors, and I may bomb. I will share both with you. I figure one of the best ways to learn and grow is to share experiences with each other. And this is what I am intending to do, share my experiences with anyone who cares to read.
So lets get on with the post for today – Planning. This goes with any thing you want to do. Whether that is code, a social media strategy, or marketing campaign, heck, even mowing the lawn. I will share with you some of the things I do before writing any code for an application. There must always be a start to everything, so lets start with the basics. This will be a very high level overview into some of these items, and will get more detailed as the weeks go on.
What is really needed for the project at hand? Do we know what the goal is, how it should act, behave, grow? Has any research been done. In code, one of the things I like doing is understanding how an end user is wanting to use an application, what they expect. I go through interviews, process flows, and even user stories. This can be applied to almost everything else. We need to understand what it is that needs to be accomplished, and why it needs to be accomplished.
Next is to understand what success and failure metrics for this project. What needs to be tracked, and why. What is important to business groups and why would it be important. What is the success boundaries, and what consists a failure? I like to understand each of these items so I know what to plan for in the code, in the campaign, in the project. Statistics can be a real bugger if it is done at the very end. And it may affect how an application is coded, a project assigned out, or a campaign run.
Once we have these ideas in place, we can start with the next phase of planning, and that involves the documentation, the project write up, and the use cases, mock ups, design sketches, etc. Which can be very time consuming. This is what makes it hard to go this route for many companies. Time means money on a lot of ventures. Not just the money of paying people to do this, but the residuals that involve this as well, electricity to power laptops, internet connections, travel, focus groups, phone charges, etc. This phase can have a lot of monetary impact while yielding very little ROI. So it is finding the right combination of events to maximize those events, and get into the actual work quickly.
Planning is essential though. And it should not be passed over or taken lightly. Think of some of the major applications, or ads, or products out there. Each one of them required a ton of planning, and it paid off. The Old Spice commercials are amazing, and that could not have been slopped together quickly. Most online applications are ones that are well planned, and you can really tell the difference between the ones that are and are not. Companies that are successful plan. But a final word of caution on planning: Do not let it consume you to the point of where you lose focus on the final product. You can plan things to death. Find that perfect balance that works for you, and run with it.