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Articles By:

Dave DeRuchie

  1. Connecting KPIs to Goals and Objectives

    Posted on 12/22/16

    On October 5, 2016 I published an article in Cognition entitled Deciphering goals and objectives. In that article I described how clients use goals and objectives interchangeably in Request for Proposals (RFPs). I also offered one solution for how to clarify goals from objectives to ensure a proper project approach. Once the goals and objectives of the project are understood, the next step is to identify key performance indicators (KPIs). If you are unsure how to identify and connect KPIs to goals and objectives, here is one method to consider that’s been used successfully at Happy Cog.

  2. Deciphering Goals & Objectives

    Posted on 10/5/16

    Recently I’ve noticed that the terms “goals” and “objectives” are being used interchangeably in requests for proposals (RFPs) that we receive. It struck me that writing an article that explains how to differentiate goals from objectives has been tried many times before, but the message isn’t being received. Clients still use them interchangeably, making it difficult to differentiate the broader, more strategic purpose of the project (Goals) from the steps that will be taken (Objectives) to fulfill that strategy. If you receive a request for project work, and your prospect has taken some liberties with the use of goals and objectives, here’s one way to translate them into clear statements you can use to help determine your approach to the project.

  3. How profitable is your staff?

    Posted on 8/4/16

    High fives all around—you’ve just launched another website. It’s truly cathartic when a team’s work fulfills the goals and objectives of a project. But as the project lead, if someone asked, “How much profit did your team generate?”, would you know the answer?

    Ideally, you would, because you’ve been keeping track of your costs over the past months. Evaluating project profitability as your project progresses enables you to monitor hours used and assess the efficiency of your project process so you can make strategic adjustments.

    If you haven’t been tracking costs incrementally, it’s not too late to make sense of the numbers. Determining project profitability in a digital agency, or really any service-based business, comes down to understanding your costs. Let’s break down one way to determine profitability for a project team, based on time-tracking data.

  4. Client Dis-service

    Posted on 7/29/16

    The digital design space is unique, because it is an industry of largely positive dialogue and sharing. We collectively care about the web, so we want to help our clients solve their digital and/or content-related problems. Ultimately, as vendors and practitioners, we’re in this together.

  5. Search to Show We Care

    Posted on 4/13/16

    As many of you may know April is Autism Awareness month. As noted on the Autism society’s website: “Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with ASD is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life.”

  6. The digital agency is dead. Long live the digital agency.

    Posted on 2/4/16

    In a mad dash to join all things product many are taking their design or development talents to South Beach the product space. Why the exodus? Curiosity led me to ask former digital agency practitioners representing design, development, and business analytic practice areas why they left agency life to pursue product work.

  7. The Web: yesterday, today

    Posted on 10/23/15

    The beauty of web was pure once
    Design and dev in an unexplored medium
    A true alternative to corporate tedium
    A rise to type, deservedly so
    Was anyone sad to see Comic sans go?

  8. Coglaboration

    Posted on 7/23/15

    Like many agencies, Happy Cog works with strategic partners and freelance professionals to supplement resources or to utilize their unique skills for internal or external project work. Finding people you can trust is not always easy.

  9. Celebrate The Process

    Posted on 6/21/15

    Client service is hard, frustrating, emotional, rewarding (sometimes), and challenging. When agency folk get together client stories are shared like a cathartic verbal exchange meant to keep us from attending the next client services anonymous meeting. I’m not condemning the practice, venting is good and there are some absurd stories worth sharing. But venting is a slippery slope. If the only thing coming out of your mouth is negative it may be time to consider an attitude adjustment – don’t condemn the process, celebrate it!

  10. The Detail-less Project Plan

    Posted on 4/10/15

    The meeting started 15 minutes ago and all I can think about is how humane cyanide might be at this point in time. If the look in our project team’s eyes are any indication, oh wait, I can’t see their eyes, because they’re rolling back into their heads as the project manager calls everyone’s attention to task 231, WBS ID 2.3.5!

  11. Let Your Values Be Your Guide

    Posted on 1/22/15

    It’s easy to forget your company values when you move through your day-to-day responsibilities and rush to forecast and plan for your next business milestones. But, discarding (if only for a moment) the values that make your company what it is can lead to dissatisfaction within your team. Preserving your values is an everyday task, and it should extend across other aspects of your business: growth planning, hiring practices, and how you communicate with your team.

  12. Ready. Launch. Update!

    Posted on 5/2/13

    The ability to update a website based on current information is often overlooked by clients and vendors alike. This may be the most missed opportunity in what we do.

    Get Ready to Get Ready

    When we start a redesign project, the possibilities for what the new site can be seem endless, but project work is often based on the best information available at the time. We strive to balance information requirements and business objectives with time and budget constraints. We adapt our approach as we learn more through the project. When it comes time for launching our client’s site, ultimately, both parties make sacrifices, and some requirements may not make it into the initial launch.

  13. Pornography: Setting the Standard

    Posted on 10/11/12

    If you’ve surfed the web, you’ve likely stumbled upon adult content or some reference to it. For the purpose of this article, I’d like to ignore the content shown on adult sites in favor of the content type, video, which makes these sites relevant to hosting and hosting issues. Adult content can be traced back to the early 1980s (when dial-up bulletin board systems served all the illicit content), so it’s safe to say it has been a part of the internet from the start. Neither Happy Cog nor Happy Cog Hosting work with sites that serve or publish adult content, but wherever you stand on the morality of porn, it is enlightening to consider the role it has played in shaping standards for online commerce and the way hosting providers do their jobs.

  14. Hi. We're Happy Cog Hosting. It's Nice to Meet You, Again!

    Posted on 6/21/12

    In March of 2011, Happy Cog expanded its offerings by launching a high-end hosting service. With the help of many (see whose back we got), our introduction to hosting began. As with any new business, nothing is easy. When this service began we knew what we wanted to offer because we knew what we sought when evaluating a hosting provider.

  15. Please Put Down the Device & Let’s Just Talk

    Posted on 2/23/12

    Warning, if you are reading this in a meeting STOP! Put down your mobile device or laptop and slowly lift your head and eyes upward until you see (and hear) the person speaking!

  16. Follow That Requirement

    Posted on 10/6/11

    If you’ve taken part in any sort of web project, you have hopefully defined, referenced, and/or tested a requirement. You’ve also felt the impact of requirements gathering on your work. A good requirement can make your job easier by taking the mystery out of what is needed. A bad requirement can lead to more work, or even wasted effort. I explored how to mine for detailed requirements in Questioning (the) Authority. In the year since I wrote that article, I’ve wrestled with how to manage the natural evolution of business requirements to functional requirements as you progress through a project. How do you create traceable requirements?

  17. The Cult of Personalities

    Posted on 6/9/11

    In a service industry like ours, we work with a lot of people. Certain people bring out the best in us; others, not so much. Consider your last difficult workplace exchange. How would that encounter have been different if you had a better sense of your own personality? What if you understood the person you shared the encounter with better?

  18. A Method(ology) to our Madness

    Posted on 2/17/11

    In some circles, the words “waterfall” or “agile” can ignite a spirited discussion about which methodology is better. But is a methodology truly what makes a project successful? I say no. When it comes right down to it, you need to do what works for you, your client, and your project. Learning to adapt the way you work to meet the goals of a project might be tough, but sorting out the details from the start is a formula for success that you and your client can feel good about.

  19. Questioning (the) Authority

    Posted on 11/4/10

    The success of any project hinges upon your ability to extract information from people. I’m not talking about summary-level information, I’m talking about the microscopic stuff. It’s harder than you might think.

    The reason for this may be best identified by a Hungarian–British polymath named Michael Polanyi who wrote a book called “The Tacit Dimension” in 1967. It is an overview of something he called “tacit knowledge,” which is the belief that creative acts (especially acts of discovery) are charged with strong personal feelings and commitments.

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