Paul Boag is:

… on a mission to convince the web design community that working with clients can be enjoyable, constructive and creates outstanding websites.

One of his key messages is that the traditional approach for building a website is essentially “big bang” development. Every few years a website is overhauled and redeployed to great fanfare and significant expense only to immediately begin slowly rotting and be forgotten about until the cycle begins again some years later.

Now this is all remarkably familiar to software development and typical complaints with waterfall development methodologies. A familiarity by the way, which is particularly understandable considering the line between “website development” and “software development” is now well and truly blurred (more on this in a future post).

Perhaps we should be doing away with major version numbers. There should be no MassiveProjectX to be delivered by DeadlineY. Throw that door-stop of a requirements catalogue out of the window and spend some time actually empathising with the businesses we’re trying to help. We should be building open and on-going partnerships with our clients focusing on providing smaller, more frequent deliveries which are solving the most obvious and important problems first.

Agile approaches (inspired by the agile manifesto) have been widely adopted by many developers to help with many of these issues which is great, but it is still a largely developer adopted practice. More-so than involving business people as per the original manifesto principles. More effort needs to be made in getting on board with our clients and working together to enable the best solutions which work out better for both parties.

Paul’s mission is set for full steam ahead in 2012 and I intend to follow a similar path focusing on more effective client relationships. I highly recommend reading the first chapter of Paul’s upcoming book Client Centric Web Design which is available for free. I’ve found it a real eye opener and will be posting more thoughts along these lines soon both here and from a more professional capacity on our company blog.