As a “go-getter”, I am often tasked with the “special” projects. For example, just before Thanksgiving 2015, the CEO asked me to build a new website for the company. As the Design Manager, it was my responsibility to accomplish this large project. I reminded him, at that time, that we had not replaced the open position of Web Developer. He said, "You do it." I asked him for 90 days, he said, “I need it by the end of December.” I asked for additional resources and was told that I could have the Graphic Design intern.
Long story short, after working Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, we launch the new website. It took 31 business days and more than 40 hours of overtime from yours truly. I did manage to have access to a back end developer for 5 days prior to launch which was a huge help. The site was excellent; however, it has many inefficiencies now, so I removed the link from my portfolio.
To accommodate the CEO and meet the incredible deadline, I was able to purchase a library of code to canalize and knit together the new website. The CSS file alone is over 6000 lines. I spent three days just reading the CSS, Bootstrap files, Modernizer, etc. This was no small task.
In summation, designing “special projects” with constraints on resources occurs at most work places; however, when the process is “always” compressed it leads to a drop in quality, longevity and stability. In this case, the drop in the quality of the visual design, the longevity with respect to its SEO rating, and the stability with respect to its responsiveness.
In the future, projects like these should require documenting a proper process from the start, and continue on a daily basis, regardless of who assigns the project. In this case, it would not have made a difference, since ultimately the new site was a prelude to a very large reduction in force companywide just after launch. However, the take away was powerful. Documentation may appear to be a time drain, but it is actually the lifeblood of the project and future projects. Documentation becomes a measuring device, a stencil, a guidepost for future endeavors.