HeathWallace Update

HeathWallace Update

My project at HeathWallace seems to have been extended.  No major fanfare to it, I just had a check-in with the office manager who will extend my work into the development cycle a bit.  No word for how long, but that is very typical of on-site freelance work.  You flow with the changing weather and help as best as possible.

 

Work So Far

My initial project quote was a 3 month project in order to help this Chicago interactive agency house get through their design phase of a major project.  Three months have passed, the design phase is (mostly) behind us, and we are now entering the development cycle.  I have been asked to keep helping.

The Work – Design Phase

Previously I had been project managing the Information Architect, Graphic Designer, Content Strategist, Tech lead, and Search Engine experts through this important design phase.  This included managing resources, timelines, and deliverables. We had over 5 batches of wireframes that turned into designs, all which needed client buy-in.  So every week, we presented something new, gathered feedback from past presentations, and moved forward packing up approved designs for the next steps.  It was quite an effort.  I was involved in the reporting and presentation of deliverables quite heavily, on top of the behind-the-scenes work with the resources.

The Team – All Experts

Through all of this work, the experts at HeathWallace made everything look easy.  The resources I have been working with are truly a pleasure to work with.  It seems everyone on the team has skills not only of their own position, but of the others around them.   So the IA has UX and design skills, the Graphic Designer knows coding, and the Tech lead is truly jack-of-all-trades. So from a management perspective, these resources allowed me to focus on polishing the presentation to the client instead of badgering about deadlines.

 

What’s Next

The next phase of work will be the development cycle.  During this time, my project management role will focus on two things:

  1. Helping the Tech lead with the team of developers (at a high-level), and
  2. working with the Editor on content creation.  The client needed to extend this aspect of the previous phase into development due to the internal aspects involved in writing new content for such a large organization.

Challenges

One of the only challenges I can report is actually a good thing.

When working with such a skilled team, everyone has their own system.  The office manager has me working with certain tools and reporting styles that paint a clear picture to the stakeholders.  But that format is not the most useful for information sharing within the team.  Each expert on the team has a sophisticated and effective tool of their own to manage their own pipeline.  And everyone was willing to share information and collaborate wonderfully.

So some of my time has gone into translating client needs into tech requirements for each resource, and vice versa. Communication on large projects is key to heading off trouble early-on, so it was a challenge to keep a holistic view of the entire project pipeline while viewing the micro-level detail of everyone’s pipeline.  But that has become easier over the past 3 months as I have learned everyone’s work styles by now.

A Compliment

One of the biggest compliments I received is that I have hit the ground running.  The office manager let me know recently that I have the work ethic and capacity as someone who has been on the team closer to a year, instead of just 2-3 months.  I am rather proud yet humbled by that.  The only reason for such success is the wonderful team I get to manage here at HeathWallace.

 

The Client

While I cannot tell the name of the client, the work is quite gratifying and important.  HeathWallace focuses on a niche audience, as stated on their website.  They focus on financial institutions globally.  They have very major clients and global brands, however, they do not post a client list like many agencies.  Respect and confidentiality is important to them and their clients.

 

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A great interactive agency. Click here to see HeathWallace's website