Can clients be plugged into a mold? When does one size fit all? Probably never.
In the world of adult curriculum development (or really any media or communications development), clearly delineated, established processes are used by experienced teams to assure specified needs are met. Catch is, every client is so different that it is nearly impossible – or often simply not necessary – to fully or strictly apply every standard practice on all projects. Some key client variables may include:
We have seen this cause endless frustrations on the part of clients and developers. We are not suggesting here to eliminate proper and established development methodologies, but rather to assure that “thoughtful flexibility” is also a critical component of all projects. And in a variation of the famous Picasso quote – it is important to understand and be experienced with professional rules and standards, before you can begin to deviate from them to better serve the client, project, and audiences. *
A general case in point. Suppose the client has neither the budget, time, or desire to do an up-front, formal needs or audience analysis. In their mind, such an effort will only validate what they already know. This is common scenario that developers often try to talk clients out of. But the client could be right, at least partially. If the development team has worked with the client before, they may also already know the basics of what would come from the analysis, yet developers often become entirely stymied by this kind of scenario. In lieu of an extended needs analysis, at least validating expectations in detail with the client may provide enough framework to begin development. And re-validating it at every stage of the project will also help assure the client and developers remain in sync.
In summary, thoughtful flexibility is what we term the practical application of standard development methodologies. The goal is efficiency, without reducing effectiveness. And importantly, it can only be applied through experience.
* Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. – Pablo Picasso