Your friends at Viget present Advance, a Strategy & Marketing Blog

Using GitHub on Multidisciplinary Teams

We use GitHub for file versioning and code reviews on almost every project here at Viget. With less frequency, we use GitHub Issues to assign tasks and address bugs. With even less frequency, we use Milestones and Wikis for setting deadlines and documenting projects, respectively. In most cases, we lean heavily on GitHub’s primary offering while ignoring the power of its myriad other features.

What if we used more of GitHub’s features? What if we involved more members of a project team outside of developers? What would that look like?

I’ve got a couple of ideas. Now, I haven’t been able to put all of these ideas into practice, so they may or may not be feasible. In this post, I’ll trade out some of these ideas, attempting to wring even more value out of an already indisposable tool.


An Uncomfortable Missing Part of the Accessibility Discussion

We're making an internal push at Viget, led by Jeremy Fields, to better incorporate accessibility into more of our projects. But when we talk about accessibility internally, it often feels like the conversation ends up in an awkward place.

I had the same awkward feeling when reading Anne Gibson's "Reframing Accessibility for the Web" article on A List Apart and other recent articles about accessibility. They feel awkward because they largely avoid an important but obvious piece of the discussion. 

It's an uncomfortable missing piece, to be sure. But unless we address this uncomfortable truth head-on, I don't think the accessibility argument will ultimately succeed.


Project Managers’ Other Work, Part 1: Introducing Definition and Documentation

This post is part of a series about the heretofore-unarticulated areas of digital project managers' work that make up a large portion of the job. Read other posts in the series: A Different Way of Thinking About Digital Project Managers' Work.

Do these scenarios sound familiar?

  • You're regrouping with the team after a kickoff meeting, or a few weeks into a project just before development is set to begin. The discussion goes around in circles, and finally a developer says, "I just don't know what we're supposed to be building."
  • A developer is ready to start implementing a ticket but has to stop and ask you, "Wait, how is this supposed to work?"
  • The team is discussing a view in the site you're building. The UX designer keeps talking about a landing page, but the developer is talking about a product index. You can't tell if they're referring to the same thing. Meantime, the wireframe file for that view is titled "product-landing-page" and you can't find a correspondingly named design comp (turns out the PSD is named "products").

If so, you've encountered common deficiencies in two of the key areas of project managers' connective-tissue work: definition and documentation.


Collaborate with Google Slides, Deliver with Keynote

There are two days left before the big client presentation and you've been preparing for it for almost a month now. You're working through the last bit of feedback from your team and tweaking the content of your slides when you start questioning if you'll even be able to deliver the deck flawlessly. Will you be able to seamlessly transition between the deck and the high-resolution video you've prepared? Will you even have Internet access in the conference room from where you'll be presenting? It's these last-minute challenges that can turn you from a powerful persuader into an incoherent mess, relying on a variety of verbal fillers as you struggle through a cringe-inducing delivery.

At Viget, we use both Google Slides and Keynote to present to various audiences. Google Slides shines when asynchronous team collaboration is needed, but I find Keynote more reliable in those high-stakes meetings when everything needs to be perfect. This was really driven home to me a few days before a big client presentation — we rehearsed using Slides and had even planned out how we would seamlessly switch between applications to show the presentation, play a fullscreen video, and then return to where we left off. Even after multiple rehearsals the transitions were still more awkward than we desired, so we had to quickly export the entire presentation from Slides into Keynote. It sounds complicated, but with some simple steps and a custom Automator application (download it here), you can do it too. Here's how:


Photo Shoot Planning Tips

I recently project-managed my first full-service photo shoot. It was a two-day, two-location shoot, with 19 models and 10 unique sets, each with a variety of scene setups. The shoot was for Viget’s client, SmartThings, a start-up product company and pioneer in the exciting world of smart homes and home automation.

The goal of the shoot was to capture lifestyle “in the moment” photos that illustrate how the SmartThings product and app seamlessly integrate into people’s lives. The app allows i) customers to access what’s going on in their homes from near and afar and ii) enhances everyday life in general. As you can imagine, stock photos just wouldn’t "cut it".

In addition to being highly creative, energizing, fast-paced and fun, photo shoots can also be very stressful if you’re not properly prepared. As with any project, the more experience one has, the more smoothly run the next project will be.

So, I am excited to share with you the lessons that I learned on my photo shoot to hopefully give you a leg up on yours!

First, some background... 

Our team was responsible for planning and coordinating all aspects of the shoot, including photography (obviously), lighting, equipment rental, art direction, location, models, wardrobe, props, scene setup, and post-production.