Business | Web

How to manage your web project (part 1)

So, let me guess – you are officially appointed to manage the development of your new corporate website, but you either have no idea where to start, want to ensure smooth delivery (unlike the last time!), need an update on the latest web/social trends, or simply look for step-by-step instructions?

In this series of blog posts, we will explore all the stages of a web development project together and learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls.

A bird’s-eye view

If your web project is not too complex, it’s progress is likely to follow a common timeline pattern as follows:

  • Product selection
  • Subcontractor selection
  • Solution design
  • Visual design
  • Development
  • Deployment
  • Support & Maintenance

Waterfall, Scrum, and Kanban

You were afraid of having to learn all those geek terms, and here they are! The good news is they are not too technical yet and you can easily understand them.

Start with the Waterfall process as suggested above, i.e. sequential project phases, one at a time. It is characterized by predictable length, resources, and quality – but only if you make sure each step is complete and correct before proceeding to the next one.

For example, proper solution design saves much time and effort at development stage, but if requirements change after the design is finalized (which happens often in the real life), the work done has to be scrapped. So, the Waterfall model should only be used if you cannot afford time and material basis.

Scrum takes care of the changes easily with a series of development iterations, each baring its own set of requirements. You cannot interfere while it is in progress, but you can add features to the next scope, only several days later. The magic is that every time you will get a working website, to the joy of your bosses who want to see specific results delivered by a fixed deadline.

You want to use the Scrum model if you have deep pockets, website is mission-critical, and there’s a clear long-term business goal to achieve.

The most advanced technique is Kanban. It does not force you to do anything at all, no wonder it comes from a Japanese lean and just-in-time concepts. It only cares about measurable business value that your website features will produce. A stakeholder “pushes” a request to developers and they concentrate on the quality of the deliverables.

This Kanban model is probably most appropriate for further improvements of the website, once the main features are in place.

Do the homework

So, it is wise to know in advance whether you have fixed time & budget constraints, or specific scope & quality requirements, so you can plan accordingly. Talk to all the executives you will report to and learn about their vision. Engage all the departments to record their ideas.

Set business goals for the whole project. Most of the time you would want to present your company and its offerings, but maybe also automate some business processes online.

Know your customer segments and their decision making criteria, value propositions and their competitive advantage. Set quantifiable targets of your sales funnel, such as time spent on the website, or percentage of visitors getting in touch.

Have your corporate identity guidelines ready along with the source files. Research your competitors and read industry blogs.

Sketch a sitemap, prioritize the sections – now you are ready to reach out to the technology world.

Stay tuned to our next post and find out how to select a reliable and cost effective software for your website from the hundreds of options available on the market today.

Part 2: Select your CMS

Part 3: Select subcontractors

Part 4: Define requirements

Part 5: Organize development process

Part 6: Deploy the system

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