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Agency learning - project kick-off

Tarek El Deeb
Try Storyblok

Storyblok is the first headless CMS that works for developers & marketers alike.

Communication is a key element of any organization, and any serious changes to the way an agency conducts its business should be addressed through a formal communications plan. Whenever change occurs, it has different effects on people. Some people get excited, and some people get scared.

During the evaluation phase of testing out a CMS option, you should be aware that if your agency chooses to adopt a new CMS, that decision will impact several departments, such as sales, design, development, and operations. If you are an agency that already offers multiple CMS options, then you might have some experience in onboarding a new technology to your internal team, however if you are currently offering only one CMS option, then this is an area you will need to put some focus on.

Image of a CMS evaluation

If you are an agency that is new to the world of headless, then you will need to invest time into educating your teams about the concept of headless, the advantages it brings your agency, and your customers. From our experience with newcomers to headless, the agency-wide communication plan consisted of:

  • Explanation of headless CMS for the entire team
    • A non-technical session setting out the key benefits for customers and the agency
    • An explanation of why Storyblok has been selected as a solution provider for the proof of concept stage
    • Who the key project team is for the proof of concept stage and why they have been chosen to lead this
  • A more detailed session for designers and developers covering greater depth on technical elements
  • Regular team updates throughout the initial project
  • Complete debrief after the proof of concept stage has been completed with a plan on how the solution will be fully onboarded to the wider team

While these points are meant to guide you, each agency will handle communication differently, depending on their:

  • Agency size
  • Current choice of CMS
  • Whether a headless CMS is already adopted within the agency
  • Level of focus on innovation

Based on our experience with our partners, we found that the agencies new to Storyblok leaned towards creating their first project using the ‘waterfall’ methodology, meaning:

  • a defined set of deliverables in advance of project commencement
  • a sequence of agreed milestones that need to be achieved to complete the project

However we also found that these agencies also used elements of agile development to manage the project, mostly in communication and with greater emphasis. This is a key factor in managing risk, especially when you are working on a client’s project.

Image of chat bubbles

Another important aspect learned is the need to review all key handover points in order to minimize the risk of mis-communication, which can lead to re-work and/or poor project outcomes. In order to avoid this, the typical key project points that need to be assessed carefully are the:

  • Technical specification to design stage
  • Design to development stage
  • Delivery of project preview to client
  • CMS training with the client
  • Final usability review by design team
  • Technical SEO review
  • Website launch tasks

Additionally, your team needs to review what adjustments need to be made to the project documentation such as the:

  • Proposal documents
  • Project contract
  • Project timeline
  • Technical specification
  • Ongoing SLA documentation

It's vital to make sure that the project is not only viewed through a technical lens. One of the key advantages of using Storyblok is the operational efficiencies it provides and its impact on your agency’s profitability. Our agency partners tell us that normally they begin to maximize on these efficiencies by their second or third project, and continue to grow upon this. One of the ways to speed up this process is to document your early projects, so that you can perform a complete project debrief at the end of the project and use your learnings moving forward.