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Coordinating Between Teams

When code development got started, the human factors team began designing new UIs for all of the sites. Human factors also designed the site architecture, which resulted in an enormous flowchart showing every static page and every link on those pages. Marketing and editorial got busy writing copy for every single page of the new sites. Thankfully, the teams weren't starting from scratch; copy-and-paste became their best friend.

The development processes for the new sites generally flow as follows, dictating most of the interactions between teams:

  1. Product development and editorial come up with new functionality or functionality changes for the portal engine. They go through iterations and user testing and write a vision scope document (VSD). The VSD is reviewed and discussed by the other teams to make sure that everything is doable, and to determine what kind of timeline can be expected to produce the desired result. Any necessary modifications to the documentation occur at this time.

  2. Human factors takes the VSD and creates prototypes, XSL, and any accompanying CSS work, and then passes the prototypes to development.

  3. Development works interactively with human factors while developing from the VSD and the prototypes.

  4. When development believes that the code/functionality as written is good, it's built out to a QA server and turned over to the QA team to start beating on it.

  5. QA tests all functionality directly from the VSD. Bugs are entered in a bug-tracking application/database and assigned to developers or human factors.

  6. The QA cycle never takes longer than two weeks, but usually (95% of the time) is completed in one week. Nothing is released to production that isn't 100% working like VSD specs—or has been changed by product development during the development process, which isn't often.

The project management team is involved in all aspects of the cycle, helping to manage people, passing along information from stage to stage, and working with customers/clients (such as imprints or product development). The team often acts as the "glue" between teams and stages, keeping track of details that aren't passed from group to group.

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