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Technical Debt

Staying Out of (Technical) Debt

BY White Label IQ

If there was a website titled Names_and_Pictures_Of_Butterflies.com, one could obviously visit and see some really nice photos and probably read the name of each species. An electronic brochure… instead of printed on paper, it’s online.

That’s one way to handle it.

The input data for that website would include the pictures plus the names tied to the pictures.

No problem.

But imagine, instead, when the web-dev project is first being scoped, the client is envisioning something more complex… a garden of butterflies flitting around and all the wonderful things that happen as a result.

Then, more questions have to be asked by the web-dev team…

What kind of garden? Flowers or grasses? Hilly or flat?

How many butterflies? What color are they? How do they flit around?

Can I visit the garden?

Can I customize my very own garden?

Can I use a credit card to make a reservation?

Can I start a shopping cart today and re-visit it tomorrow?

Should the saved shopping cart generate an “abandoned cart” email?

Does that become part of a bigger CRM or Salesforce, or ERP initiative?

Complex web development projects require more thoughtful Q&A upfront. It helps develop an accurate scope of work so 1) none of the essential components are left unaccounted for, and 2) none of the opportunities for additional development are missed.

Lacking that Q&A, the marketing agency agrees to do work, it might not get compensated for (as in, oops, we forgot to account for a contact form). And money gets left on the table for those little extras (such as CRM) that didn’t become part of a bigger sales pitch. Ultimately, technical debt is created because the site just wouldn’t otherwise deliver on the ask and would have to be completely redone in a couple of years (instead of just some simpler updates that were pre-accommodated with proper development at the onset).

The Get-Go

A good outsource partner is going to join the project early on and ask those questions before the marketing agency gets shoehorned into a pre-existing budget for a non-pre-existing website. Then, the outsource will generate all of the sales contracts and paperwork and a much more accurate scope through that discovery process.

That partner will then provide the skill sets and resources, and project management to get it all done on time and on budget.

Including:
  • Processes (billable ones) that are appropriate to fulfill the scope and direction, delivering a successful, quality product on time.
  • Exceptions (not to be overlooked) that anticipate users going off the trail with site usage and giving them a clear path forward when they do.
  • Validation (for the investment) that assures the site can scale over time with additional personalization and interactivity, and value.
Technical Dividends

A solid partner avoids the digital butterfly effect of technical debt. That is, the outsource will address all the peripheral things now that can have a big impact later on. And then the very opposite of debt is created as a result… technical dividends.

Dividends: A site that can stand the test of time and scale over time to add more visual engagement, interaction, and customized tools (more billable ones that the client will eventually want):

  • Voice search that coattails on the popularity of speaker devices like Alexa;
  • Geo-location that brings more personalized content right to one’s neighborhood;
  • Lazy loading and infinite scroll that streamline the loading speed of some websites;
  • And the list goes on…

That’s a wellspring of future dividends. ROI.

Accommodating the bells and whistles that may be on the road ahead…
Just think of all the digital goodies… AI, VR, Voice, Video, Geo, Chat, 3D, and others.

Debt-free. Scalable. Billable. Dividends.
Makes the client happy and the agency happy, too.

The vulnerable, forgotten periphery

“A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.”

—Ben Franklin

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