What are you building?
So you want to build a website? Or perhaps an app? Have you done this before? If not, there are a lot of things you need to know.

One important thing to know is that building a website is a lot like building a house, or hotel, or skyscraper… depending on your aspirations. So, how is building a website like building a house? They both take people, planning, management, time, tools, craftsmanship, and hard work! People who don’t build software often think that it is a fast or easy process, but it’s not. Developers may be building systems out of pure thought, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy or fast. On the contrary, it’s hard and it takes a ton of time.

When you build a house, some of the things you need are:

  • Blueprints
  • Project Plan
  • A Place To Build
  • Builders, Specialists, and Project Managers
  • Tools
  • Materials
  • Inspectors

Each of these things has an equivalent in development:

  • Information Architecture and Spec Docs
  • Project plan
  • A URL
  • Developers, Designers, and Project Managers
  • Computers And Software
  • Thought
  • Quality Assurance (QA) and Debugging

So what’s the problem you ask?

Take a look at the house, how many people went into building that? Ten? Twenty? More? I’m not a home builder, so I don’t actually know how many people we’re talking about here, but I am sure that the guy who designed your house wasn’t the same person who ran the electricity, and the guy that poured the concrete had nothing to do with the roof. However, if you’re building a small web or app project, there is a good chance that the person that plans the job is the same guy that buys the property, is the same guy that runs the wires, is the same guy that checks to make sure it all works. In home building, no one in their right mind would let the builder build away without any inspections. It’s just a bad idea, for a lot of reasons.

Don’t worry, I’ve got a web guy, he’ll take care of it.

Maybe you’ve heard this one, or maybe you’ve said it. Either way, when you’re building a bigger project you need a team, not a guy. Having just one guy is like saying “Don’t worry, I fired my builder because my architect knows how to use a hammer.” It just doesn’t make sense, and it’s a bad idea. When you’re building a larger project you generally need someone to help you find the right name, the right colors, the right message, and to build your brand. Then someone to plan the architecture; hopefully someone who has a lot of experience planning large-scale projects. Next you’ll need a team of people to actually implement this plan. There’s no point in getting a plumber to run wire, and you’re just going to end up with a mess if your framer starts working on the plumbing. If your framer is framing, your plumber is plumbing, and your electrician is electriciting, then your project is going to be so much better, right? So get the right people to do the right jobs, and don’t think that your plumber is actually an architect or real estate agent.

So what have we learned here?

  • Construction jobs have the same basic needs.
  • Don’t assume that because someone has worked on a house that they can build a house.
  • Get the right people for the right jobs.

What do you think?

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know!