Website development projects are complex undertakings that require the skills of many different professionals. The project managers in charge of managing these projects need to address both technical and non-technical aspects of the work involved.
If you’re a project manager looking for guidance on how to handle your next website project, this blog post is for you!
The post will give you an overview of what it takes to deliver your next website development project successfully. We’ll cover what makes up a typical web design process, discuss essential risks and challenges involved, and provide pointers on keeping your team motivated throughout the job.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Conduct a needs assessment
The very first step in the process is to conduct a needs assessment. The needs assessment will help you identify what your clients want and need from their website. Based on this information, you’ll be able to develop an appropriate project plan that includes a timeline, milestones, and deliverables for the entire job.
This step also helps differentiate between vital features for business success (such as an online shopping cart) and features that are simply nice to have.
The assessment is typically conducted in a workshop setting. You bring together representatives from your client’s business with the appropriate technical people who will be part of the project team.
This approach ensures that everyone has input into developing the website while also owning the final product. You need to have easy Management Tips to make it easier for your teams to be on the same page.
How to conduct a project assessment?
● Schedule a brainstorming session with clients to understand more about their requirements.
● Ask if they need any bespoke features in their website to stand apart from the competitors.
● Team up with the technical lead along with the business development head to discuss technologies better.
Once you have a clear picture of your client’s objectives, it will be much easier to develop appropriate timelines and deadlines for the project.
2. Determine the scope of work
The scope should address the primary business objectives for having a website in the first place.
For example, if your client wants to increase online sales of their products or services, you need to ensure that e-commerce tools are part of your project’s scope. If your client is planning to create a Website from scratch, performing a brainstorming session to gather information works excellently.
Likewise, if they want more qualified leads for their business (such as people interested in hiring them for their services), you should include lead generation tools in the scope. There are several project management tools available that help you with determining the Project Scope.
The information gathered during your needs assessment is crucial here because it will provide a starting point and set of guidelines that can help you determine what elements need to be included in the project’s scope.
Of course, you’ll also want to consider other factors, such as budget limitations and the client’s timeline for completion.
What to do after determining scope?
Once you have an accurate picture of what needs to be included in your project, it’s time to develop a realistic schedule that will ease the execution.
Here are the things to consider:
● List down all the requirements along with their tentative time estimation.
● Decide how many team members will work on this project and how many managers will assist them.
● Decide the specific responsibilities and scope for each resource associated with the project.
Once you determine the scope, technical prerequisites, start preparing wireframes for better understanding.
Doing this allows everyone to visualize how their requirements are being addressed by the proposed design and answer any questions that may have come up during previous discussions.
3. Create a project plan
Now that you have a clear picture of the scope and an agreed-upon wireframe, it’s time to create your project plan. This document should list all tasks involved in building the website along with estimated timelines for each job.
Your team will use this document as their guide during development (and when promoting the completed product). It ensures that everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done and when.
You can break down the larger tasks into smaller milestones by looking at specific deliverables that need to be completed to move forward with the project.
Milestones are important because they can help you determine when something is finished and ready for review by your client.
For example, if one of your tasks in the plan includes creating an online store that has its shopping cart feature, then this milestone might be “Launch e-commerce features on website” and serve as a sign that the website is ready for user testing.
How many milestones to make?
That’s up to you and your team, but we recommend that we keep things manageable between three and five deliverables per milestone. If too many tasks are involved with one milestone, it might be better to break it down into more milestones.
Here are the best practices for managing project milestones:
● Decide the number of milestones and their completion deadlines based on the number of team members working on a project.
● If certain tasks are time-consuming and have multiple deliverables, break them down into sub milestones.
● Consider your client’s deadline and then divide tasks in such a manner that the project completion is feasible.
For example, if one job requires another to be completed first (such as coding needing design), then you’ll need to list them side-by-side, so everyone knows what needs to happen when.
4. Prepare for change management.
As a project manager, it’s important to emphasize the importance of change management from early on to avoid any unforeseen issues down the road.
It’s essential to prepare your client for the fact that changes are inevitable during a website project. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to foresee all the possible changes that can occur, especially when you’re dealing with a constantly evolving product.
While some change requests from your client might be minor and easy to accommodate, others will have a more significant impact on your original plan or even derail it entirely.
It is where change management comes into play, which is the act of staying on top of your client’s requests and making sure all changes are accounted for.
What is the best way to manage changes?
The best way to manage change during a website project is by using a tool that
can help you track it properly. If you are looking to manage your tasks, there are many good options like Jeri.
Here are a few points to consider while picking a tool:
● Pick a tool that can handle all your project’s requirements so that you can eliminate dependencies from third-party tools.
● Ensure your team members are comfortable using it.
● Compare a couple of tools to ensure you have all the needful features to manage projects seamlessly.
Jeri works well because it allows you to add specific tasks and processes. If you think something might need to be tweaked or adjusted after user testing is completed, then make sure this gets added to the task list so everyone involved knows what needs to happen next to accommodate these requests.
5. Develop an engagement strategy
The engagement strategy is a way to describe how you plan on working with your client during the project.
Some critical questions to answer when developing this document include: How many times will you meet with them? How often should they expect status reports from their team or yours?
What, if any, documentation do you need from them? How often will you provide them with a progress update, and what is the format of that report (drafts, screenshots, annotated wireframes)?
How to submit feedback?
It’s also essential to document how you will submit the feedback from your client. For example: Should they submit it via email or through an online form on their website where they can use annotations?
Best practices for feedback sharing:
● Cross-check you’ve included all the questions and suggestions that you wanted to share with the client.
● Keep the pointer crisp and to the point as it will help clients to reply to them quickly.
● If you’ve found something new market trend that can add value to the project, share them with the client listing their benefits and other details.
It’s a crucial part as bad project management can cost you much more than you can imagine.
6. Identify key stakeholders
Any website project can quickly become overwhelming if you’re unable to keep your stakeholders happy. So even if you’re dealing with a small project, it’s still important to know who your key decision-makers are.
These stakeholders can be broken down into two categories: internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders include members of your client’s team who have direct or indirect influence over the developed website. External influencers include companies and third-party providers.
How to identify key stakeholders?
Some critical questions to ask during the kickoff meeting include:
● Who are your most important clients?
● Which departments will be involved with this project or might have a vested interest in it?
● What is their role within the company, and how do they interact with this website regularly?
It’s essential to identify all key players in a given business or organization and then document their roles for reference later on during development. In addition, it helps ensure that everyone knows who they need to coordinate with regarding questions, status updates, feedback submissions, etc.
7. Time for execution and delivery!
Now that you’ve outlined the plan, it’s time to start executing your project. As a PM, you should always be available for questions and give status updates as assigned milestones are reached throughout development.
When it comes time for the website to launch, be sure to have a plan in place with your client for how you’ll handle user acceptance testing, you can also consider having an internal rollout strategy where key stakeholders are invited to try out various features on the site before it goes live, so they feel more comfortable about moving forward.
How to ensure flawless project execution?
As a website project manager, your job is to ensure all tasks are completed and handed over to the client on time. Here are the things that will help you execute it seamlessly:
● Have a clear vision of how many team leaders will be handling your developers, designers, and more. It will let you prepare an execution plan proactively.
● If you’ve received feedback from the client, revolve and implement the changes on priority as it will save time later.
● Always push updates to your team so that everyone can be on the same page.
To make tasks easier, using simple projects comes in handy.
The key to being a successful project manager is to plan well ahead of time, work with your team to stay on track throughout the development process, and have an effective strategy for how you’ll handle change requests.
It’s also essential to work well with your client and be approachable when they need help or have questions. As you continue to take on new projects, the more experience you’ll gain and understand how your clients like to communicate, making it easier for everyone involved