We use the agile approach: Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools, Working Software over comprehensive documentation, Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation, Responding to Change over following a plan.
And we certainly try to release working projects as soon as possible, so that we can have more time for working on details. For this, we have a method that we call progressive JPEG. Here is the main idea of it:
A project must be ready at any time. We spend most time on improving the details
First, we create a skin: as many empty pages as we need, a set of templates or drafts, a list of functional blocks. Then we evenly fill the skin with contents without giving too much attention to any of the points. We connect the system parts, check the system for integrity and usability.
So, a project or a product is ready at any moment. We can show it to the client immediately without any special preparation. Then we improve the project in all its parts at the same time.
— we need to create a layout for a book. First, we create empty pages and enter all the text, place all the headings and images. Then we design a layout and type, set the text styles. And only after that, we fix the details and uncommon cases – as many as we can.
— we need to create a site. First, we make a list of unique pages, describe their content and functionality. Then we make draft layouts for every page and define the location for each part of the content. In some cases, we make a working prototype. And only when we have the whole project as a draft or a prototype, we start working on its parts.
There should be some time for research. Sometimes you should forget about the project limits, and get deep down to find a cool idea. At this moment you will not be able to think about the structure or completeness, it is fine. But as soon as you start to see the outline of a solution, it is time to return to the surface and see the task as a whole thing.
It is hard to work like this. It is always easier to polish the details in the first page without thinking about what comes next. To think of a project as a whole thing, you need energy and attention. But there is no other way as only this approach provides a predictable and controlled process.
Artemy Lebedev: Progressive JPEG method