“Project Management” has always been a term more likely to elicit a groan than a smile. Nevertheless, the use of project management skills is often what distinguishes an easy, successful project from a painful and unsatisfactory one. In a world where clients and business partners increasingly want a full solution, rather than just the component pieces of design and code, having a dedicated project management is quickly becoming a requirement for any web project.
So, what IS Project Management?
The Project Management Institute’s definition of PM is: “… the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements.”
A less abstract version of this definition is that PM is what you need to make a project happen on time, within budget, with required scope, and quality.
My personal definition is that PM is the simplest way to look like a superhero without requiring the involvement of any radioactive spiders or questionable parentage.
People who make websites sometimes say that their clients are unreasonable. People who pay for websites sometimes say that the professionals they hire don’t understand business and can’t stick to deadlines. A project manager is right in the middle. A project manager can clear up misconceptions in both directions while inspiring everyone involved to work together creatively.
As a web project manager, I provides advice, checklists and guidelines for each phase of work on a typical web project. From initial inception through to final evaluation, I have valuable skills and practical ideas to help you make your next web project a positive experience for everyone.
Part 1: Beginning a Project
So you’re going to do a web project? It’s time to consider your goals and to sketch out the trajectory of the project’s phases. In this initial phase, I’ll use established project management methodologies to estimate the scale of the project and to prepare for an effective kick-off.
Part 2: Analysing Requirements
At this stage, you’ve got the green light and are ready to go forward with the project! User and market research, content governance and usability testing all lie ahead. Planning the integration process and estimating key values in your project are critical in this phase of the project life cycle.
Part 3: Design and Prototyping
The design phase brings up lots of questions of fidelity, organisation, and presentation. In this phase, I review taxonomies, prototyping, layouts and design constraints. I’ll also discuss a few of the many facets of visual language and graphic design, as they relate to your project, including the difficult comps question, user journey sketches and choosing the right tools.
Part 4: Construction and Testing
Content management systems and integration present an array of complicated decisions. In this phase, I discuss your CMS options and explore the maze of integrating with enterprise databases and customer relationship systems. As the project moves through the build and deployment phases, I’ll help you focus on change and risk management.
Part 5: Deployment and Evaluation
With the project nearing completion, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there are a few more things to address before the site goes live. In this phase, I discuss checklists, disaster planning, social marketing strategy, handover, goals, metrics, analytics, and converting your finished projects into sparkling case studies. I will also review a few tools and techniques for planning for the future after wrap-up is completed, including support contracts and team development.