Careful project management makes the difference between a web project that leads or bleeds. This was the punchline of a workshop on project management at the Online Revealed e-marketing conference. Save money, time and a good marriage by following these steps:
In a session on web project management, Carson Pierce reiterated the importance of prior planning and spending the needed resources in this all-important phase of the project. This prior planning should flow into a contract between client and web marketer:
- Objective of the site or project
- Measurements to determine success or failure
- Project Scope (including the number and nature of project iterations)
- Who is Responsible for what
- Communications plan: Who talks to whom, when and how?
When the pre-nup is signed and agreed upon, it is shoulder to the wheel to make the project happen:"
- Goals and objectives for the site/project
- Set success criteria for the site/project (set up Google Analytics at the beginning)
- Define the audience (create a personification of the target audience members)
- Competitive analysis
- Development of content plan (who, what, when)
- After receipt of content, modification for usability (SEO and presentation of content).
Here Carson and I may differ - I develop my navigational structure before I touch content.
He proposes a "card sort" method of post-it notes that a test audience intuitively sort on the wall.
He made the sensible suggestion of developing only one design (only one will be used anyway) but to make it GOOD! Do a mood board with colour schemes, imagery and other liked sites.
Do a "wire frame" that indicates to the designer where objects need to be placed.
5. Building the site
This is the web developers work and responsibility to work to web and accessibility standards.
- Test navigation with users upfront.
- Developer testing: does it work and meet the specifications of the project brief?
- Proofread all text!
- User testing: Are goals met? Does it work they way you wanted it?
Carson's comment reinforces what experience has taught me too: Leave enough time for testing.
Create launch plan upfront (SEO, Media, online promotion, check statistics)
Hopefully the site has a Content Management System (CMS) and will simplify ongoing maintenance. The site needs ongoing maintenance: plan for it and work at it.