Project management for web development
A web project of any size is a complex and highly collaborative process.
I’ve managed design and development of websites from 20 to 200 hours, working closely with clients, art directors and web developers.
Successful project management:
- Establishes a thorough and transparent process
- Maintains overview while never losing sight of the details
- Responds quickly to problems and collaborates on creative solutions
- Delivers and facilitates crisp, clear and properly directed communication to all team members at all phases.
I approach each project in stages, including: Discovery, Estimate, Timeline, Communication and Evaluation. I am skilled at each project stage, and mindful of issues such as scope creep, workflow design and communications styles.
This first stage establishes a web project’s goals and scope. My initial meetings will review a client’s:
- Communications or marketing plan
- Calls to action and key messaging
- Functional requirements
- In-house capacity to maintain the site
- Integration of existing brand and development of new content
- Technical environment
- Assets and deliverables
Based on discovery and breakdown of deliverables, I build a detailed design and development estimate that identifies site scope, milestones, technical recommendations, and any third-party costs.
Working backwards from a launch date, this document establishes delivery dates and turnaround and approval times for all phases of the project, identifies team roles, incorporates meetings as required and tracks all content deliverables.
Communication style sets the tone for every aspect of a project. I strive to be open, transparent, considered and clear. Misunderstandings can be costly in both time and goodwill. Each team and project will develop its own style, but these are some basics I begin with.
- Set up communications channels, tools and sharing. Ensure everyone knows how to use them and has access to the information and material they need.
- Discuss who gets informed about what aspects of a project. It’s tempting to want to keep everyone in the loop, but don’t overwhelm them with information.
- Talk to everyone in language and terms they understand. Take the time to explain. It will pay off in the long run.
- Maintain excellent email protocol. Keep subject lines focused and up to date. Make active requests. Break down complex messages into digestible chunks. Sometimes picking up the phone is better!
Web projects are notorious for scope creep. Sometimes there’s a technical challenge, and a one-hour tasks turns into a six-hour workaround. Or content doesn’t come through and suddenly you’re searching for stock photos.
And sometimes a client gets a new, exciting idea in the middle of a project. It’s a great idea — but it wasn’t in the original estimate.
It’s my job to assess the request, discuss it with the designer or developer, and estimate what its impact on time and cost would be. If it’s important to do, we can offer a revised estimate. Or maybe we can figure out an easier way to accomplish the same goal.
Evaluation at the end of each project is important, but I keep it in mind throughout. During a longer timeline, a group can implement shifts and changes in the workflow and communications to improve the outcome, solve problems on the go, and be part of making the next project even better.