Designers: How to Plan and Implement an Effective Workflow with Your Developer

Effective collaboration and timely feedback help to establish and maintain a good workflow rhythm. As a result, instead of the coder being the only one capable of adding value to the product, both the coder and the designer can contribute.

Project Planning is Essential

Throwing the design and a few requirements over a proverbial wall may work for some small, non-critical projects, but even those cases this approach is not a good idea.

When a large or complex project is involved, such an approach is a recipe for disaster. The alternative, is to establish the aforementioned workflow and collaboration process, and this means upfront planning.

Make project planning part of your routine

A plan of work should include, as a minimum, cost and schedule estimates and a review process. Depending on the nature of the project, reviews can be formal, or based solely on collaborative feedback.

We asked Xfive, a 10-year old web development agency that has worked with a number of major corporations, about the steps they take to integrate planning into their workflow. We received this response from COO Milosz Bezala:

“We believe the pre-development part of the project is almost as equally important as the development itself. In Xfive, we are dedicated to understanding the customer’s needs from the early discussions on the project, so that later on, our project management team can choose the proper solutions for each client.”

Milosz Bazela discussing the main goal of a project

Tips for the Web Designers When Preparing Designs for Coding

There are several things a web designer should take into account to keep the workflow process running smoothly.

  • Make “Pixel Perfect” an Objective – A professional coder will implement your design down to the smallest detail, but can usually go no further. You will save everyone time, and avoid unnecessary delays, by specifying precisely what you want –  down to the pixel level if necessary.
  • Photoshop Etiquette Counts – Make it a point to logically structure and name your files, properly align your images, and do all those other housekeeping chores that ensures the developer will receive complete and accurate information.
  • Communicate, communicate – It never hurts to check to see if there are questions that need answering, or issues that might require your special attention.

Coders at Xfive brainstorming

  • Don’t Neglect Designs for Interaction – Provide working details for such features as drop down menus, slider use, and button hovering commands. If you want these special user interface features, you have to describe them.
  • Know what You Are Designing for –  Have some understanding of the technologies a developer must apply to meet your design requirements. Any coder will appreciate your being familiar enough with the technologies to know which design features are easy to implement, and which may not be.

Don’t Make Time Your Enemy

Without proper planning, without having meaningful estimates, and without clear communications paths between you, the developer, and your client, time will not be on your side for long. These three things, together with transparency, are key to avoid having the clock become your enemy.

Xfive’s COO Milosz Bazella has this to say about the efficient use of time:

“Although we have developed some pretty advanced time management skills during our ten-year experience, and each project has its Project manager, we only count the development time. This is because we believe that quality project management is not a service, but a norm.

If a customer is in a hurry, we either include additional developers, or discuss it with the team and add some extra-hours on the schedule. We believe in flexibility, since every project has its own traits. We try not to cause a situation when the time is running out because of our precise estimation process focus and the clear reporting on the burned hours on each task”.

The project manager and the coder discussing the second stage of a project

About Xfive

Xfive is a knowledgeable source of information with respect to questions regarding the role of creativity in a workflow process. The staff of this 10-year-old software development agency is primarily made up of professional software developers and program managers who support a worldwide clientele.

They have a corporate culture that other support enterprises would do well to emulate. They regard themselves as an extension of the design teams they support.

The culture they created and nurture is a caring one, both for their clients and for one another, and is a culture that is frequently punctuated by high fives.

Ask Xfive for a free quote, whether your project is big or small. If quality, cost-effective code is what you want, to and you would prefer to get your deliverables from a development agency that is a pleasure to work with, Xfive is an excellent choice.

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