In Question Your Work, Jason Fried lists 8 questions to ask yourself (or your team) when you work on something.
This concept of questioning what you are doing is especially relevant to the arena of web design, which is notorious (in my experience) for having few — if any — criteria for success and for not asking these questions.
The questions Jason lists are:
- Why are we doing this?
- What problem are we solving?
- Is this actually useful?
- Are we adding value?
- Will this change behavior?
- Is there an easier way?
- What’s the opportunity cost?
- Is it really worth it?
Some of these questions seem pretty obvious, but I can assure you that more often than not they have not been asked. Or, if they’ve been asked they have not been fully answered.
I can recall plenty of web projects where the criteria for success was “getting it done.”
Often I’ve been able to tie the project back to relevant business objectives by writing a creative brief and forcing the client to clearly outline the goals of the project.
However, there have been times — when I’ve been brought on to a project after it’s started and the deadline is looming — where the direction has been set and you don’t have time to ask these questions.
All you can do is get the web site/application live within the timeframe and do the best you can. It’s pretty disheartening.
So, the next time you start a web project, or are brought into one that’s already in progress, or are well into a project that you have started, ask some or all of these questions — it might not be too late to change tack.