The sprint approach to website development

As websites become increasingly sophisticated and effective at generating new business, the process of building them has become more intensive than ever. And not just for the development team, but also for the clients who instigate and oversee the entire project.

So how can the process be simplified for everyone involved, without compromising the sophistication and quality of the end product? One way is to develop the website in stages (which are known as sprints). In the same way a book is written one chapter at a time, websites can also be approached in a step-by-step process rather than as one large behemoth to be tackled all at once.

This strategy not only keeps a project on track, but it also allows you to start testing and measuring the site sooner, which provides key insights for the next stages of development.

 

What is a sprint?

A sprint is a software development approach whereby large and complex projects are broken down into individual milestones that can be completed and tested in short timeframes. This allows us to work together on the most important tasks of your website without becoming distracted by the scale of the project at hand.

Using this approach overcomes many of the challenges associated with building a website, including:

  • Managing stakeholders
  • Budget allocation
  • Changes of scope
  • Lengthy testing and approval processes

By rolling out the development project in defined sprints, the feedback, management and approval process becomes more streamlined. Think of it as a relay (without all the Lycra) and with the passing of each baton we launch added features and functionality for your website.

 

How it works

When we use the sprint approach, we start by developing your overall objectives for your site. This is where we look at the big picture and define all the elements you need to ensure your website is a hard-working asset for your business.

From there, we work backwards to arrive at the minimum viable product you need to launch. By building this as the foundation for the next stages of the project, we get you up and running sooner, which means you can track performance and allocate budget for the next stages of the project based on the features you can see are working effectively.

The number of sprints you need will depend upon the scope of your project. Some websites can be developed in just two sprints, while others that need to feed into pre-existing IT systems, for example, may require additional stages.

 

Why it works

For every website, there are must-haves and nice-t0-haves. When multiple people in your organisation are involved in the project, the list of nice-to-haves often becomes exhaustive and over- budget. At the same time, the feedback and approval process can also be incredibly lengthy when a website is delivered in its entirety, which can delay your project.

By building your website in sprints, however, you can break the approval process down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This strategy means you will be online sooner rather than later.

We start by developing the must-haves you need for an effective digital presence. Once these are up, we then look at defining which nice-to-haves will enhance this presence and fit within your budget. By reassessing your budget at the end of each sprint, we can ensure your money is being spent on the features that matter most, while also keeping the scope of the project flexible.

Every web development project is different and by tackling yours in sprints, you can better manage your time, outcomes and final spend. For us, it means we can deliver a website that will really enhance your business and meet your objectives.

 

Sprints in action: Redflow case study

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(Stage 2 sprint cycle for the Redflow website project)

Redflow is an international provider of flow batteries. Being a global company, Redflow has a number of requirements for its new website, which we are approaching in sprints. Here’s where the project is rolled out so far: Check it out here

Stage 1 (complete)

  • Build a base website to establish a responsive and expandable platform.
  • Roll out enhancement and integration projects to map locations of integrators and service areas, and capture lead generation funnels.
  • Optimise content for SEO.
  • Build campaign-specific landing pages and graphic banners.
  • Commence traffic monitoring.
  • Roll out a hosting upgrade to accommodate traffic increases.
  • Integrate advanced server-side protection.

Stage 2 (underway)

    • Plan a rebuild to create a enhanced robust and scalable system.
    • Integrate insights gathered during Stage 1.
    • Refresh the SEO and SEM strategy.
    • Develop an integrators portal.

By using a scalable template for Stage 1, we were able to update Redflow’s web presence in a reasonably short timeframe, which put the company online a lot faster. Using insights from this stage, we are now in the process of building a custom site that will meet Redflow’s requirements and also respond to the data gathered from users in Stage 1. The website from this stage is effectively serving Redflow’s current needs, which gives us and Redflow sufficient time to define and implement the essential features needed for Stage 2.

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