Post-Production

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.

Conducting surveys

One form of testing the product is to conduct a survey based on pre-release copies of it. In addition to asking for specific comments and suggestions for improving the product, the survey might ask the selected group of people, questions such as these:

  1. The purpose of the program was clear.
  2. The program directions were clear.
  3. The program helped me learn about _____ .
  4. The program was easy to use.
  5. The program worked smoothly.
  6. The program kept my interest.
  7. The visuals were appropriate.
  8. The visuals helped me learn.
  9. The audio was appropriate.
  10. The audio helped me learn.
  11. The sequence of instruction was appropriate.
  12. The amount of information was appropriate.
  13. The amount of interaction was appropriate.
  14. The pace of the program was about right.
  15. The accompanying documentation was helpful.

Focus groups

Unlike a survey, a focus group can give you more specific information, at the expense of taking more time to both gather information and analyze it. You want to elicit as much information as possible, so you can take care of any issues or fix any problems which may prevent the audience from getting the most out of the product. The same items asked about in the survey format can be used, simply by re-wording them into open ended questions.

  1. How clear was the purpose of the program?
    OR
    What do you think was the purpose of the program?
  2. How clear were the directions for using the program?
  3. What was/were the main learning objective/s of the program?
    OR
    What do you think you were supposed to learn from this program?
  4. What, if any, problems did you encounter as you used the program?
  5. What did you think about the amount of information included in the program?

Archiving

safeArchiving 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.

disasterHow 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.