A website project needs structure, objectives and will.
Without this new website can end up damaging the brand, turnover and waste money.
First steps, first mistakes
The Yorkshire and Humberside Tourist Board needed a complete overhaul, and so the plan to rebrand as Welcome to Yorkshire came about. One objective was to have the best digital profile of any UK tourism body. But it was also recognised the existing team needed help because they had never delivered such a project before. That understanding of resource is often where the first error is made in a web build exercise. Welcome to Yorkshire appointed David Ranby to project manage the delivery of a totally new Yorkshire.com. The 3 objectives were;
- Launch on a specific day, at a given time
- Deliver on budget
- Win a national award for website excellence
All 3 objectives achieved. A number of years later, the website remains at the forefront of travel information websites in the UK.
Managing the delivery…
The creation of comprehensive project structure is key to success because only at the start can the full scope be set. A good structure also highlights the dependencies between all the elements of the project. For example, delivering content rewrites, or planning new imagery are typical elements that don’t get actioned (usually by the client) until the last minute. Simple issues such as team members holidays need to be factored so that critical elements like testing deadlines are met. Ensuring all people involved in the project know what is going on, by whom, is why an open project plan platform is needed. Planning tools can be as complex as Breeze or Trello, or just sharing a Google Sheet!
Why an external project manager?
Web projects need structure because that makes sure budget, time and enthusiasm is not wasted. A project champion must be have clear objectives, interpretations and limits. A project manager also needs some independence because issues need practical responses.
An external web project manager can tell the CEO if his assumptions on how a form works are wrong. If the Marketing Director wants multiple 3rd party codes to track every supplier, the project manager can outline how this slows the page. Because of this, the site can be better optimised. A web designer may built a navigation structure that the internal team believes covers every eventuality (and department). A Project manager can argue why this will fail to work on mobile because of too much choice. When a last minute request is going add £’000 to the development cost who tells the boss it should not be done?
An external manager gets paid to deliver good advise. Its the clients choice if they take it!
More Case Studies
- Design knowledge ; usability, device style…
- Technical optimisation ; page load, device…
- Digital marketing; SEO, Paid, Social…
- Content Management; CMS selection, image management….
Some Web projects we have managed
- 3D Configurator for home buyers
- E-commerce niche site
- Re-Branding broker site
- CMS transfer of a Finance site
- Affiliate programme integration
- Travel site sales optimisation
Typical Web project mistakes
- Budget management
- No SMART objectives
- Ignoring customer data
- Ambition v Reality
- Internal tech team join late
- Ignoring best practise
- Client thinks they are a customer