back to basics

Jul 17 2004

Sometimes the hardest thing to do in our business is to give the “elevator pitch”, a brief explanation of what we do when asked. The answer to this question has been elusive over time. While so many in our space seem to over-complicate their “go to market strategy,” it has occurred to me over the past several years that in getting back to basics, we are able to get much closer to the answer.

When asked what we do, my typical answer sounds something like the following:

RD2 is a firm multi-disciplinary communications company this is intensely focused on the intersection of design and technology. We believe that “whole brain thinking” is absolutely required when extending brand communications across the many constituent touch points.

The thing that we do better than anyone can be found where design and technology intersect. Do we “get” technology? Absolutely. Do we “get” design? Absolutely. However, where we differ is in how we bring both disciplines together to enhance the user experience.

Our back to basics approach is complementary to our delivery strategy on many fronts. First of all, the name RD2 is based on our back to basics methodology: Research, Design, Develop. With so many approaches to developing, creating, revitalizing and extending brands, I just had to think that both we and our clients deserved a more simple approach to how we deliver. The simple methods deployed by RD2 are greatly focused on excellence in delivery and customer service.

Our back to basics approach is something that we see as critical in how we deliver at a nuts and bolts level. Anyone can purchase a tool to develop his/her web site today. Few however, can deliver web solutions that achieve what we consider to be an appropriate user experience. For us, it starts with research:

Phase #1 = Research

With the understanding that our constituents have few hours of valuable time to spare during a typical workweek, RD2 engages with a straightforward engagement process for identifying, extracting and calibrating the balance of a project. The “Research” portion of our methodology is focused on bringing rapid alignment between constituents, business needs, mediums, budgets, timelines, existing approaches, constraints and resources. RD2 will execute the initial phase of the methodology by communicating and aligning the following:

Business objective
Who are the stakeholders?
Who’s using it?
What are their goals?
Identify key scenarios
Identify mediums
Identify preliminary approach
Identify cost

The output from this phase of the methodology will result in an agreed upon approach that brings the appropriate resources together to move into the subsequent phases.

Phase #2 = Design

Once the “Research” process is complete, RD2 moves into the “Design” phase. Clarity of communication is as critical here as it is in all phases of the methodology. Our mission here will be to more intimately explore all aspects of the previously identified information. The results in this phase of the methodology will result in a clearly constructed execution plan for all participants in the initiative, including the client. If you were to build your dream-house, you would have an architect create the plan first. Very few people simply just order the lumber and begin building. Here we plan everything including the foundation (pier and beam vs. slab), the electrical, number of rooms, room types, plumbing, creature comforts and so on.

Here the client will experience an alignment between team members in a way that is focused on maximizing the user experience by aligning design and development to support the business objectives and ultimately championing the brand:
Refine / business objectives

Design / users & security
Design / medium approach
Design / scenarios
Design / function
Design / design – creative
Design / design – technology
Design / content
Design / communications
Refine / time
Refine / cost

Phase #3 = Develop

Once the “Design” process is complete, RD2 moves into the “Develop” phase. During this transition, experience shows that the success or failure of any initiative is heavily dependent on the communications and expectations created and set forth within the “Design” phase. With an iterative approach, RD2 will implement the knowledge and design assets from the “Research” and ” Design” phases of the project. The delivery team will have a clear set of directions and parameters to develop from. The client will not only experience a higher quality of deliverables but will also experience a timely project execution.

With an iterative approach, the development transition will encompass testing and deployment as a part of the development cycle. It has been found that by coordinating these events together has proven a more rapid and higher quality delivery.
Develop / design

Develop / technology
Implement / design – creative
Implement / technology – code
Implement / new media
Implement / test
Implement / launch

While there are multiple steps within each phase of the methodology, our focus is on managing our process in a lean and mean manner. Our most successful projects today are focused on many consecutive quick wins for our clients. This is something that seems to be working well.


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