Why Assessments Are Important to Business Strategy

By David Sauter, CEO

Published: May 27, 2014

If you’re like many large organizations, strategic plans may not align with your business needs. Reviewing plans consistently can drive your priorities and budgets – especially when it comes to interactive. Some effort and hard work up-front are crucial to make sure interactive projects deliver what the business expects, and drive positive and measurable business results.

After all, most sustainable and valuable business results begin with a solid foundation. The same is true, then, for interactive or digital projects.

According to Blair Enns and the Win Without Pitching Manifesto, “It is common practice in the creative professions to prescribe solutions without fully and accurately diagnosing the problem.” Knowing this, we always begin with an audit (or “straudiment” as we’ve coined it) and never agree to begin working on a creative solution to a problem that we have not fully explored. We diagnose before we prescribe.

small things

Why? Because when it comes down to it, we’re responsible for showing business results in digital projects (whether it’s social media, websites, mobile apps, or search) that we contribute to. By starting with a solid assessment, we ensure – as a team with our partners – that everything from the smallest detail to the biggest considerations are visible up front.

Sometimes The Small Things Aren’t That Small

The biggest value in starting with an audit or assessment is realized a project moves along. Many times new ideas are sparked, changes come along, and we are frequently asked to make ‘simple’ tweaks. Yet, sometimes the smallest adjustments really aren’t that small at all; and making one adjustment results in a landslide of other re-considerations.

Take this, for example. A recent blog post titled “Features Are Complicated” outlined all the development questions and issues that stem from the simple question: “Why can’t I edit my tweets?! Twitter should allow that.”

It seems simple enough, but opens up a laundry list of considerations to make it a reality.

  • “Should you be able to edit any tweet you’ve ever tweeted at any time? Or should you just have a few minutes to do it until it locks?
  • Do you offer this to everyone? Opt-in? Opt-out?
  • Should you be able to edit tweets or direct messages also?
  • What does it look like to edit a tweet? Can it be simple and obvious? Does it need additional UI? How do you expose that UI? Is it worth the extra UI?
  • Does the tweet go out to the public timeline immediately or after the editing grace period?
  • What if someone favorites a tweet and it is later edited? Does it shed the favorites? E.g. a tweet that originally said, “I like pancakes!” could be later edited to “People that favorited this like clubbing seals!” (or much worse).
  • Where do edited tweets go? Back on top of the timeline, or stay where they are?”

You can see how the list could go on and on.

Next time you embark on a big interactive project, make sure you adequately assess your needs before settling on a solution and documenting details. It may seem like more work up front, but in the end has proven to save time, money and effort as a project moves along.