Project Process...with a dash of Festive Sparkle

Jemma Dormer - Project Manager a.k.a Escape Christmas Fairy

It’s very easy to get caught up in the thrill of getting a brand new sparkly website (it is pretty exciting, after all!).

What people sometimes don’t realise is that in order to create a successful website that fully answers your brief - there is a project process that needs to be followed. Here at The Escape, we split this process into 5 simple phases: Proposal, Discovery, Define, Create and Refine.

We like to think it’s a logical process that can (and should) be used for any project - even for something as simple as putting up your Christmas tree…

  1. Proposal - finally, someone has said it… it’s time to put up the tree!

  2. Discovery - a vital step (that usually nobody wants to do) is getting everything down from that dreaded loft and understanding what’s what. You’ll need to check what you have, untangle those lights, see if anything is broken, work out what new stuff you need to get and who is going to get it, lay everything out and check again what’s missing, ask yourself who is coming to visit on the big day and should there be any special features... the list goes on!

  3. Define - now that you’ve scoped the situation, you can move on to the planning. You’ll have questions like: what size tree do we need? Where is it going? Who is going to be doing what? The structure and order need to be decided - obviously the lights should go on first, but are you starting from the bottom of the tree or the top? Then there needs to be a content discussion: are you wanting to use tinsel this year? What baubles are going at the front and are there any less important ones that could be filled in at the back? Oh, and did someone sort out that spare adapter cable to plug the lights into?!

  4. Create - So, you’ve got a plan - it’s time to get building and decorating! As you get started you may need to twist and shape some branches along the way to allow for everything to fit properly. The design and build come hand in hand and you’ll need to consider the structure of the tree when adding the decorations. Don’t forget to stand back and review it along the way, you may want to make some slight changes as the tree starts to build up. Then finally, the time will come to put that tree topper on and plug those lights in... TAH DAH!

  5. Refine - Let’s face it, you’re going to be checking out that tree the whole time it’s up. Does everything look right? Are the lights on the right setting, or should they be on a faster flash? Has anything fallen off and needs fixing? Maybe you’d like to add a couple more baubles? There are always going to be adjustments to make, it is up to you how much more time and money you want to invest in it.

As we've hopefully demonstrated, you wouldn’t start decorating your Christmas tree without some element of scoping and planning; we wouldn’t start designing a website project without those either. It really is the difference between a creative, well delivered solution and a cheap ‘off the shelf’ one.


Let’s put our process into perspective for a website project here at The Escape…


You’ve done the big step and got in touch with a brief and we have replied with our initial thoughts


We want you to ‘get everything down from the loft’ and help us to fully understand your brief. What are your key objectives? Who is your audience and what are the key journeys you would like them to take? Help us to understand your brand - where have you come from and where do you want to be? Who will be responsible for creating content - do you need us to help you with this? We will talk about hosting, DNS management and other website-specific things. You will have a rough idea of what that ‘sparkly tree’ looks like as a website - and this phase is all about you telling us. 


Now that we’ve laid everything out and untangled those lights, it’s time to do some planning. We will plan a sitemap and a set of user journeys to help us (and you) work out how big the site needs to be and what the structure will look like. We may create some wireframes to help plan what content is needed and what the hierarchy will be. We will probably create a content map to give some guidance to who ever is creating the content. We will also discuss and explain things like keywords and SEO - all the things that will make your live website extra sparkly.


Finally, time for some building and decorating! We should by now have the beginnings of some content to start designing and developing your site. Often we will start by focusing on a few key pages of the site and then work with you to populate the rest after we have given you some CMS training. We value your input during the creative phase and you should expect regular reviews and sign-offs to ensure you are happy with things as we go. When the site is looking ready, we will of course QA test, add those sparkles and then flick that switch to launch the site!


Just like a Christmas tree, everyone will be monitoring the new website once it goes up. We’ll carry out some learning and reporting to make sure the site is doing everything we agreed it should do. We have a system to log tickets and support you post-launch - whether that is a bug fix, a new feature or just general improvements you’d like to make. Perhaps you would benefit from some more training on the CMS? We are happy to help with whatever you need to keep your website sparkling.

We’d love to hear what ideas you have for a new website: overhaul, new build, update or refresh.... get in touch with our Digital team and let’s start the project process!

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