Thrash and Sprint

How we fuzed two project management styles to make our own

March 28th Articles 4 min read
Thrash And Sprint

By Eric Ressler

Agility in a Nutshell

Modern agile project management started with the Agile Manifesto created by a group of software developers in 2001. In agile software development, you adapt and evolve as you go, deliver early, and make improvements after the product hits the market. Iteration is often as much about improvement as it is about bug fixes. A lot of choices are made during a construction project that change the final results. We’ve taken a couple of ideas from both industries and combined them to create a hybrid approach that works for us.

We work in weekly sprints, so everyone sees all of the elements as they take shape, rather than having a big reveal at the end of the project. Written content and visuals are created in parallel, each informing the other. We adjust design, content, and development along the way - always looking to the project goals as guiding principles.

Thrashing Up Front

We’re big fans of author, entrepreneur, and marketer, Seth Godin. At a Behance 99% Conference, he talked about software engineering and project management expert Steve McConnell’s idea of Thrashing at the Beginning. Simply put, you explore all of the ideas for a project at the beginning, when it’s most cost-effective. Then you decide what you’re going to build. Finally, you execute the ideas and ship, saving iterations for the next version. Construction’s not much different. Architects and designers work with their clients to agree on the what’s going to be built, before they hire a contractor. There’s even a possibility of a V2 of your house.

We do a lot of thrashing up front by asking clients to fill out a detailed questionnaire about their project. This gives us a lot of valuable, detailed information, including project goals, initial thoughts on messaging, design likes and dislikes, and a lot more. We both collect design inspiration and explore it together, moving from abstract concepts into visual language. Before we start writing or designing, we collectively pin down the details of what we’re building and its functionality.

Our Hybrid Approach

We thrash up front so we can do fixed bids, define project parameters, and set deadlines. But creative work requires responding to feedback on design, content, and development throughout the life of the project. Sometimes, new elements or better strategies are discovered along the way. Our hybrid style of thrashing up front, combined with agile philosophies and weekly sprints, balances the two creative methods to deliver better results on schedule and on budget.

Always Adapting

Our process has led us to produce work we can stand behind and deliver on deadline. We know that we’re not the only ones looking to improve our processes, so we never stop looking for new ideas to produce better, more creative results.

Want to learn more about our process? Get in touch, we'd love to chat.

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