February 22, 2013

The nGen Works Process

By Carl Smith

In February of 2000, I went to Atlanta, Georgia, for my first web conference. It was put on by ThunderLizard, and the lineup was speakers I had never heard of before, but would always hear about after. They included Jeffrey Zeldman, Mark Hurst and Kelly Goto. The decision to go to that conference would change my life forever. Not because of the talks. Not because of the relationships that would form. But because of the giving nature I found in this fledgling industry. Specifically from Kelly Goto.

Kelly gave a talk called “Workflow That Works.” She not only described her process, she handed out binders with nearly 100 pages describing everything she did to make a project work smoothly. Her client survey is used by almost every web shop I’ve ever met at some point. Many of them didn’t even realize it was hers. They just got it from a shop who got it from a shop.

Late last year I showed Kelly a process wiki that we created for ourselves at nGen. As we evolved our workflow it only made sense to create a living document we can edit on the fly. As I was sharing it with her, it hit me: I had the opportunity to pay forward that wonderful gift she had given me more than a decade earlier. As the nGen team kept working on the document, the idea of giving it away never left my mind.

A few weeks ago, as I read Leslie Jensen-Inman’s article about her experience as a female conference speaker, one sentence she wrote woke me up. “It’s our responsibility to leave our industry better than we found it.”

It’s our responsibility to leave our industry better than we found it.

– Leslie Jensen-Inman

So today I present to you the hard work of my fellow nGeneers. More than 100 hours have gone into the making of this document so far and we’re not even close to finished. In no way would we ever claim it’s the only approach, or even a good one for you. But it works for us. And since this is a wiki, we invite everyone to add their processes as well. We hope that this can become a place where the industry can learn and teach through sharing what we all do best. Create the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you process.ngenworks.com.

P.S. Kelly, I still have my binder. ;)

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