Interview With Phase2's New Senior Digital Strategist

Jordan Hirsch, Director, Strategy
#Phase2 | Posted

We are thrilled to have Jordan Hisch join us as our new Senior Digital Strategist.  At Phase2 we value our staff, and know that our success and culture is based on the incredible people who work here.  I sat down with our newest digital strategist to get the scoop about Jordan and his new role at Phase2.

Q: Hey Jordan, welcome to Phase2! I'm so curious to know your history and background, can you tell us a little about the path that lead you here?

 A:

Thanks Annie, great to be here! I’ve spent the bulk of my career as a developer and technical architect, earning a reputation as “the geek who can communicate with non-geeks.” I started out in the government arena, building online surveys, collaboration software, and mobile apps (back before they were called apps!) for groups within NIH. Eventually I moved into the agency world, growing from developer to technical lead to director. After several years working at various web agencies around Washington, DC, I branched out on my own for a few years, providing technical project management, web development, and technical consulting services to clients such as PBS.org, McKinsey & Co, APCO, Navigation Arts, and ThinkCreative.

In 2011, I took on a full-time role at Beaconfire as a Senior Technical Lead, where I helped nonprofit organizations get the most out of technology. In addition to technical consulting, I was heavily involved on the architecture and development side of things, working primarily with enterprise-level Content Management Systems such as eZ Publish and Sitecore.

Q: As Phase2's new Senior Digital Strategist, what does your new job involve?

A: My role is to gather and document requirements for our client projects, help guide and shape the user experience of the sites and tools we build, and consult with clients on content strategy, editorial process, and overall strategy for their technology projects. I play a lead role in our discovery process, and help manage requirements and sprints during the development phase. I am also responsible for quality assurance and making sure our development work is tested in accordance with the acceptance criteria outlined during our requirements-gathering process. I find that my technical background serves me well in this, allowing me to build bridges throughout a project between technical and non-technical team members.

Q:  Why is your role as a digital strategist so important when consulting and building CMS platforms?

A: A platform is only as strong as its adoption. If you try to start building without a clear sense of your users, your requirements, and most importantly your goals and objectives, you run a very real risk of sinking time and money into a tool that does not solve your problem and will encounter strong resistance from your users. Operating within a framework of well-defined goals and requirements allows everyone to prioritize, understand risks and trade-offs, and make informed decisions based on commonly agreed-to criteria.

 Q: What are your four questions to ask from a digital strategy standpoint when launching a CMS project?A:

  1. What are your goals for this project? What concrete objectives do you want to accomplish in service of those goals?
  2. Who are your users, both of your front-end site and, just as importantly, your CMS administrative site? What are they like? What is their technical comfort level? What do they want/need from your site?
  3. What kind of editorial process do you want for your site? What kind do you really need? Does it mirror your organization’s structure, or is it unique to this site?
  4. Does this project really need to happen? Why? This one might sound silly, but forcing yourself to really answer this question can inform decision-making every step of the way throughout the project.

Q: What are your top three resources you'd recommend for others to learn more about digital strategy?

A:

  1. A List Apart  - still one of the gold standards when it comes to digital strategy, usability, and general trends in our industry.

  2. UX Matters  - a great resource on usability issues which features a variety of experts.

  3. My fellow digital strategists and analysts here at Phase2 - we have a strong group of intelligent, curious, creative people here at Phase2 and I’ve been learning from them since Day 1.

Thanks Jordan! We are so happy to have you as an addition to our creative, intelligent team here at Phase2!

Jordan Hirsch

Jordan Hirsch

Director, Strategy