Web Project Manager is a great blog on, surprise surprise, web project management. Run by Sam Barnes, the site has lots of useful resource links and great posts on managing projects for the web. One recent post really worth reading is Sam’s interview with Happy Cog PM Brett Harned. Go on do yourself a favour and dive in.
While writing a Functional Specifications Document (FSD) may not be part of every Producers role, it is a skill worth spending some time developing.
It’s the blueprint of the plan of the guide to what you are building
In short; the FSD is a blueprint of how to build your project. It is most commonly used within the Waterfall method to site development with good FSDs, or the lack of, linked to the success or failure of a project.
At a minimum, most FSDs will cover off all functional elements of the site, plus include a range of ancillary information to help the development team pull disparate site elements together. This can range from navigational elements to the visual treatment of links, buttons and lists. Detailed information on pull-down menu content and form elements through to site maps, wire frames and prototypes detailing user flow or look and feel. There really is a lot of information that can go into a FSD.
While there are many elements of a FSD which are constant, no two FSDs are the same. Depending on your project scope and how close you work with your development team will partially determine what detail you include. A good FSDs will often cover:
- Details of site features
- Outline of functional elements
- Interaction Points
- User flows
- Dynamic elements and content including dependencies
Gonna get me some learning
One of the best tutorials for writing a FSD can be found online at Mojofat.com. This is a highly detailed tutorial running through requirements gathering through to writing the actual document. I highly recommend making the time to read this as it is a great introduction to writing a FSD.
In a nut shell
Writing a FSD can be both time consuming, and at times boring, yet a well thought out and detailed FSD can help ensure your project will be delivered on time and to budget.
So how do you feel about writing FSD, is is a large part of your role or something to be avoided like the plague? Feel free to share your thoughts below.
Six Revisions is a great resource for Producers. Focusing on development and design the site offers excellent insights on building websites such as this recent article on producing websites under difficult IT restrictions.
The Global Financial Crisis has hit a lot of countries quite hard financially. Many governments have had to take austerity measures in order to reduce costs, while looking at ways to shore up diminishing revenue streams.
With ageing populations and longer lifespans, one increasingly common approach western governments have taken, has been to increase the pension eligibility age within their countries. This can be evidenced with moves by the Greek, British and German governments to increase eligibility ages, and more recently the announcement by the French government of their intention to increase the pension age from 60 to 62.
As a result of the French governments announcement, France has seen dramatic scenes of civil unrest and protests including strikes, blockades, student protests. These events have been similar to those which previously transpired in other countries such as Greece.
Nothing of consequence
These reaction from Europe have had me thinking back to the Australian governments announcement earlier this year to raise the official qualifying age for the Age Pension from 65 to 67, and the Australian publics response to these changes: Little attention, no public outcry and certainly no civil disobedience.
So why was the Australian response so dramatically different to those in Europe? Has our miraculous economy provide such a buffer that we feel safe and secure with no need to voice and opinion. Or has the laconic Australian attitude of “she’ll be right mate” simply helped Australian workers take the changes in their stride?
These are questions that I myself can’t answer, and while I can’t tap into the greater Australian psyche and answer why Australia has been relatively OK with the idea we will now be working longer, I can make a suggestion on how to deal with it.
With the expectation that we will now spend a longer time in the workforce, it becomes even more important to ensure we keep up-to-date with what is happening in our industry while making sure we keep our skills relevant.
Investing in your own development is key, and you don’t need to wait for your boss to sign off on training to invest in yourself. For a free development hit, look for industry groups and get togethers where you can meet people in the industry and discuss new ideas and directions.
These types of events also offer fantastic networking opportunities and can lead to exciting side projects or event new roles.
If you are trying to find something to get involved in, there are a range of sites to help you find things that are going on around you;
While a lot of the above events are Sydney based, this list can give you a good starting point to help find things that are happening around you. And if you have any suggestions of resources for industry meet ups or discussion groups, please feel free to share below.