Collaboration with American University of Paris: He Said, She Said
It only makes sense that two of us are collaborating to write this post. When we talk about our work with the American University of Paris, the collaborative spirit of the AUP team is always top of mind.
For context, the new aup.edu launched today and we’re excited. We’ll let you evaluate the quality of the design, functionality, content, and experience you find there. (A news item on the AUP site, “University Launches Redesigned Website,” is a good source for the perspective of the campus team.)
mStoner always pursues a collaborative approach with our clients — it’s part of who we are as a company, it’s a reason why clients choose us, and it’s a way to get better results. Now for the “he said, she said” part.
Franchement, AUP took our collaborative approach to a new level and that’s what this post is all about. First, me on the collaboration with the AUP team during implementation. Then, Susan on the collaboration with AUP during strategy.
He said (@gzguta).
Our technical approach is always collaborative. We understand that our clients aren’t just looking for a piece of software or a black box that “does” the website. Our goal is to launch effective, sustainable technology solutions and that means the way technical components come together is never quite the same on two different projects.
The technology for the new AUP site presented its own unique collaboration opportunities. At the onset of the project, the AUP team had a detailed understanding of the functionality they were already providing on their MyAUP portal using Drupal 6. We initially planned to launch separate Drupal 7 sites for the new AUP public site and for MyAUP. However, prior to starting the Drupal implementation, the entire project team agreed that one Drupal 7 site, combining all the features of the public website and the MyAUP portal, was the best solution moving forward. This meant extremely close collaboration between mStoner’s technical team and the AUP IT team that we hadn’t initially planned on.
Developers collaborating across continents (and several time zones) comes with its challenges. The AUP team was nimble and proactive about planning, testing, and refining the technical components of the site. Both teams were able to meet deadlines, respond to issues, and avoid stepping on each other’s toes while deploying code. We take pride in how we collaborate with our clients, and we think the new AUP site is one to be proud of for the process as much as the product.
She said (@susantevans).
Developing strategy is foundational to the client work we do. We take it seriously, we determine it at a deliberate pace, and we write it down. It’s the way we start.
No one loves to talk about strategy more than a strategist. I get that. With the AUP team, I found my soul mates; they actually wanted to discuss the details of the strategy report. They read every word of the drafts, asked many questions, and pushed us to explain and clarify many points. Yes, it’s true, the AUP team sent us two Word docs outlining their collective feedback (one .doc for Version 1 of the strategy draft and one more for Version 2). Five pages and 1,713 words of feedback later, we wrapped up the collaborative work on strategy and kicked off the next phase of the project. Thanks, AUP, for taking a journey that focused on strategy and for being willing to talk about it. You did it right!
We both welcome your thoughts about our work with American University of Paris.
Thanks for reading,
Greg Zguta and Susan T. Evans
More on the mStoner blog about:
- There’s nothing like a visit for discovering the essence of your campus.
- Strategic and Creative Intake at Webster University
- Strategy: We say, “Right on.”