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Your Projects Are Failing Before They Ever Start

Beginning a project is an exciting and terrifying time. It’s a motivational rush with clean slates, gripping ideas, and not an impediment in sight. So, why do so many projects fail? Why are they full of so many surprises? A better question to ask yourself might be, “Why didn’t I see this coming?”.

At eHouse Studio, our production folks are directly involved with planning and guiding the outcome of digital products, so we understand that building the right experience for your customers can get complicated quickly. So, before the game gets too complex, make sure you and your team are aligned on these 3 critical items.

1. Define project goals

Goals are essential, obviously. Although, it can be hard to know if your goals are good enough. Defining goals in the right way will affect the quality of your project. That definition will allow your team and stakeholders to feel confident in your plan, and will help everyone align on the approach you take.

At eHouse Studio, it’s been interesting to see the variety of goals our clients bring to the table. The most effective product goals we encounter and foster with clients tend to be direct, high level, and universally accepted within the client’s business. Here are a few examples of goals you can adapt or reference for your own project:

  • Increase ecommerce revenue to $100M
  • Generate 20% more real estate leads from email marketing campaigns
  • Improve customer experience with downloading your mobile app while inside the retail store 
  • Redesign website to be responsive and to better reflect brand 
"Why do so many projects fail? Why are they full of so many surprises? A better question to ask yourself might be, 'Why didn’t I see this coming?'."

2. Discuss business context

Outlining the current operational landscape of your company or product is an important step before beginning any significant digital project. Sample context items could include any of the following:

  • Stakeholders and customers feel our branding is outdated
  • Business is transitioning ecommerce platforms in 5 months
  • Our production budget is 520 hours
  • Most of our organic search traffic comes from Latin America

3. Think about risk

Healthy and successful teams spend time talking openly about risks. If you’re new to thinking this way, or if it makes you squeamish, start by asking your team a few questions. Where is there potential for us to experience loss? Loss of time, money, motivation, visibility, morale? Here are a handful of sample risks to get your mind going:

  • Internal team misaligned on brand
  • Unsure when website content will be ready
  • Development environment doesn’t match production environment
  • Long-term roadmap is unclear
  • Stakeholders are surprised by our work and have a lot of feedback
  • Lack of high-resolution photography
  • Print fonts not supported in mobile app
  • Launch scheduled during a time when our team will be at a conference

Putting it together

At eHouse Studio we use these pillars to help our clients build successful, sustainable products. Some end-results of this approach have been stress-free website launches, collaborative client demos, exceeded expectations, and delivering data-proven results on-time. 

Whether tackling a project with your own production team or partnering with an experience expert, try starting your next endeavor by thinking about project goals, the context surrounding the project, and places where loss could occur. It’s an essential exercise for any successful project. Best of luck!