I find myself dropped into a couple of web projects at work, both of which involve building new sites – one is a short term project, and the other is a longer term “upgrade our website” thing.  In both cases I’m just starting work, but there’s been other things that have been given to me from other people.

Is it just me who was taught that there are steps to go through before you get to this point?

Most notably, it’s worth remembering that a computer is a problem-solving device.  If a solution creates more problems than it solves, then its a poor solutions.  In both these questions I’m left asking:

What is the problem we’re trying to solve here?

OK, in most cases it’s obvious, we’re trying to communicate… but WHAT are we trying to communicate? To whome? For what reason?

Some fairly simple steps can be taken, and some fairly simple questions can be answered, but it’s worth doing so that everyone is on the same page.

In one case I’m more-or-less working by myself, but it’s worth me writing down these basic assumptions now, so that when someone queries somthing a bit further down the track I’ve got a record of it.  The annoying thing here is that other people have undertaking “planning” without any references to any of this kind of thinking, the thing’s been handed to me, and I’m not quite sure what thoughts have gone into the project thus far.

In the other case I’m just one of a number of cogs, and I’m not totally sure what the point of the exercise is.  I’ve been given a list of things that should happen, but I’m not quite sure how the thing should be framed.  In this case, this is kind of my fault, and it’s somthing I’ll sort out when I’m next working on it.

In either case, its worth taking half an hour to frame any such project properly.  It keeps you focused and consistant.  Or maybe I’m just crazy enough to need this kind of process.