In February of 2015, SNworks hired me as a new Digital Project Manager. I was ecstatic, because web development was exactly the kind of work that I would like to make a career out of. I had worked for years in IT and had a great experience working in the Navy as an Intelligence Specialist, but I wanted to get into a more creative profession that also had a good social culture working with inspired and motivated developers and designers. After a month of training and assisting with the management of the University of Illinois Daily Illini’s new website I was given my first client, The Chronicle at Duke University.
We kicked of the project on March 22nd 2015, and I was immediately impressed with the vision and passion The Chronicle staff had for their new website. In our early stages of design, the Chronicle editor and chief sent me ten hand drawings of each page and detailed instructions on functionality and aesthetics. Having sketches was nothing new, but meticulously hand drawing out each page was something I hadn’t seen before. After many emails and a few meetings, the designs had been finalized and we were ready to go into the development stage.
The development of The Chronicle came at a time of transition for SNworks. Most of the SNworks staff is students, like myself at the time, attending Michigan State University. Having a student staff designing and developing these websites was fantastic, because we were all learning and benefitting from this shared experience. The downside of the student staff system comes at the end of semesters when some of your senior students graduate and move to a new job. When we started development, we had one newly hired developer, myself as project manager, and one fulltime staff member on this project. Thankfully, the new developer Matt Juszczyk was a very fast learner, and he kept the development on track with the schedule that I had set out.
After many iterations, and working back and forth with the Duke Chronicle Staff, the website Beta launched in June, was rigorously tested, and live launched on schedule in August 2015, in time for the new semester.