The Deceptively Complex Anatomy of an Hour at Station Four
If I had a dollar for every time a client asked why something takes so long, I wouldn't be writing this blog post! Have you ever wondered what really happens during a single hour of work at Station Four? It's more than just production work; it's a finely choreographed sequence of strategy, planning, project management, execution, quality assurance, deploying to staging or testing environments, deployment to production, client communications, detailed documentation, and seamless coordination across partner teams.
The Hour Unveiled
Picture this: A client submits what seems like a quick hour-long task. They anticipate swift results. Unbeknownst to them, beneath the surface lies a vast ecosystem of effort, expertise, and coordination.
1. Strategy and Planning (5 minutes)
Before we dive into any project, our team dedicates time to strategize and plan. We engage in discussions with our clients, understanding their objectives, and developing a roadmap that guides us through every stage. We also discuss the details of the work with internal subject area experts, or when required, our external team members who specialize in various aspects of digital marketing.
2. Project Management (12 minutes)
Effective project management is the backbone of our operations. We allocate resources, set deadlines, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Tasks are built out and assigned to the proper team members with scheduled internal reviews and approvals baked in. We’re managing multiple clients and projects across the same teams and partners, so it quite quickly becomes complicated.
3. Execution (20 minutes)
With the plan in place, our skilled professionals begin the execution phase, translating ideas into reality. This step involves designers, developers, content creators, and more, all working in harmony. Changes to code are committed to code repositories, code reviews are scheduled, and internal checks and balances are applied.
4. Quality Assurance (5 minutes)
Meticulous quality assurance follows every project. We leave no stone unturned in reviewing and refining our work. This involves not only reviewing if the implemented work is up to par, but also checking to ensure that no breaking changes were introduced to other aspects of the codebase. We check for accuracy across browsers and for ADA compliance when necessary.
5. Deploying to Staging or Testing Environments (3 minutes)
Testing in controlled environments is crucial to identify and rectify any issues before the final deployment. We manage development, staging, and production environments for our clients and make sure that all of our work passes checks in each to ensure that when the changes make their way to production, that we don’t break anything inadvertently. This often requires coordination across team members, with the clients themselves, and with agency partners.
6. Deployment to Production (2 minutes)
Finally, the project is released to the live environment, ensuring a seamless transition. For high-profile sites, deployments need to be done after hours. This extra time and attention to detail requires backups to be made, and rollback procedures to be available in the event that something goes wrong.
7. Client Communications (5 minutes)
Effective communication with our clients is paramount. We keep them in the loop, address their concerns, and provide updates on project progress.
8. Documentation (3 minutes)
Every detail, from project specifications to client feedback, is meticulously documented. This ensures transparency and helps us learn from each project. We also need to learn from our previous work and understand WHY work was performed, not just that it was done. This helps when other team members get involved with a long-running project and need to get up to speed quickly.
9. Coordination of Schedules Across Partner Teams (5 minutes)
We coordinate schedules not only within our own team but also with partner teams involved in the project. This ensures that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goal. Station Four does a lot, but we also know the value of having great partners. It’s typical that we’re coordinating with those external teams during the development, testing, and deployment processes.
The Value of What Lies Beneath
Now, you might be wondering why so much effort is invested in what appears to be a simple task. The answer is clear: maintaining a digital ecosystem is not just about quick fixes. It's about ensuring the stability, security, and scalability of our clients' online presence. Clients who truly understand this complexity appreciate that a 45-minute task can easily translate into 3-4 man-hours of work. We are committed to delivering excellence, and that means dedicating the necessary resources.
The next time you request a seemingly small change or task from us, remember that at Station Four, every hour is a multi-dimensional journey. It encompasses strategy, planning, execution, quality assurance, client communications, meticulous documentation, and coordination with partner teams.
Our passion for delivering top-tier digital marketing solutions drives us to embrace the complexity that lies beneath the surface of every hour of work at Station Four. It's not just about the final outcome; it's about the entire process that ensures your digital ecosystem thrives.
October 5, 2023