Despite the development phase being complete, the project isn’t quite finished. Does the product really work? Does the intended user group like it? Carrying out a tryout of the product with a test user group should be done, before making changes based upon their feedback. Post-production includes conducting surveys, focus groups, and archiving.
Again, Studio 1151 has another great guide, this time on how to do an audience test run. The purpose of running a survey or a focus group is to facilitate testing on the product from people external to the studio. A survey is better if you are pushed for time to gather and analyze feedback, while a focus group will provide a much higher level of detail.
Archiving of all materials used in the development of the product, is vitally important for several reasons:
- The product may require modification after release.
- Sequels may require some of the same assets as the previous.
- Many products need localized versions to be built.
- Business or legal disagreements may arise, demanding a review of letters, memos and other documentation.
- People’s memories are fallible to age, forgetfulness, alcohol, and team members may leave the company taking their part of the project with them.
So, a list of what needs to be archived includes:
- All concept documents, including drawings, sketches, node maps and meeting notes.
- All meeting agendas and follow-up memos.
- All correspondence to the client.
- The proposal and bid.
- Letter of intent and development agreement.
- Initial and final version of the functional specification.
- Copies of all expenditures, including receipts, invoices etc…
- Subcontracting agreements.
- Copyright, licenses and permissions.
- Copies of weekly status reports.
- Video tapes, photo’s, audio tapes, etc…
- All versions, Alpha, Beta etc…
- Source codes and other computer related media.
How important is the data? Possible risks to the data consist of hardware failure, software failure, file system corruption, accidental deletion, virus infection, theft, sabotage, and natural disaster. Disaster recovery refers to the process of restoring a system after a disaster, such as a hardware failure. A disaster recovery plan would entail not only securing completed products and assets, but also ensuring systems and business processes have contingencies in case of an emergency. See a list of sample plans, outlines and other plan writing resources on the website of the Disaster Recovery Journal.