At Anchor Communications, we will often use the 5D methodology in our web design process. We want to ensure that our clients get exactly what they want and that there is no confusion during the design, development, and deployment process. One of the best and proven ways to do this is through the use of 5D methodology. This consists of five distinct steps: discover, define, design, develop, and deploy. It is effectively a business model that focuses on listening to the client, and then applying what they’ve told us to deliver results and meet, or even exceed their expectations. Our goal is to deeply discover our clients needs. During discovery, we determine what we need to do to meet those wants and needs, then work together with the client to apply original thinking, tools, services, and high-end technology to define, design, and develop a course of action to satisfy those wants and needs.
The 5D methodology is as follows:
During the initial phase of a project we conduct meetings, workshops, and webinars with the customer to accurately determine their needs and current situation. We discuss technology and marketing as well as roles and goals. Once we feel comfortable that we completely understand the tasks at hand, we move to define the scope of the project and agreement deliverable.
During this stage we want to establish exactly what it is that you and your company are trying to accomplish. This involves discussing your wants, needs, marketing goals, budget, financial situation, and us becoming familiar with as many aspects of your company as possible. Simply put, the more we know, the more we can help you. Using the information you have provided us, we will develop a Scope of Work (SOW) which will detail and outline a solution that will satisfy your wants and needs. The specific parts we focus on during this step are:
- Project Planning
- Requirements Definition
- Conceptual System Design
Once we have submitted the SOW to you and your company for review, we will wait for approval. Once the SOW has been approved, our design and development team will initiate the design process. This will focus on the specifications you have provided, the budget you’ve given us, and your business goals. The design process includes:
- Functional Design
- Technical Design
- System Architecture
- Training Plan
- Test Plan
Once you have approved the final design, we will begin the development and building process. Remember, you do not always go through these steps at once. Oftentimes, problems and obstacles will be encountered, and we will have to go back and rework things so that everything works out the way you want. It is not uncommon to go through the define, design, develop, and deployment stages many times before the final product is where everyone desires.
Also keep in mind that the development stage is normally the most time consuming stage. This is the stage where we will be tinkering with various facets of the initial design to ensure that it is not only visually pleasing, but also workable and that it is delivering a great experience to the end user. To put it simply, the design stage of the methodology is a very dynamic process and requires the most patience, but the resulting payoff is immense. Items that are focused on during the development stage are:
- Application Coding
- Testing/Quality Assurance
- User Documentation
- Program Documentation
- Change Management
Once everything has been designed and developed to the point where you, as the client, are satisfied with it, we will launch the product or service. It will essentially be “live” for anyone to use or visit at this point. We will then closely monitor any and all activities and make sure that no unexpected issues pop up. We will populate database tables with the latest versions of production data, and all internal and external client operations processes will be integrated and confirmed. There will also be client training available at the beginning of the deployment stage.
Deploying the software is the most essential part of the methodology. Now that real people are using it and customers are logging in and engaging with your products and/or services, both parties will be able to get a much more accurate depiction of how your particular product or service is performing. Here we will make the necessary minor changes, then plan any additional improvements that will be needed down the road. The final steps of the deployment stage include:
- Hardware/Software Installation
- Data Conversion
- User Training
- Support Training
- Post Implementation Review
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