Launching a new website

Planning a new web project involves a complex set of decisions. There are usually a lot of issues when a new website goes live. New websites impact revenue, customers and reputation and not always positively. So its critical the project is managed correctly, because if not, the time and cost to correct the errors is often greater than the original project.

We have been managing web builds since 1997....no... we are not cavemen.

Building websites have gone through numerous technical changes, as well as many good and bad Fads. Who remembers Flash sites, parallax SEO impact or embedded text? The user requirements need to be balanced with technical delivery, and is always subject to the opinion of the person paying the invoice.

A web build project managed by a third party project manager means every issue gets questioned.

Technical

Custom v template CMS
Agents own CMS
Responsive Speed
Internal systems
Hosting
E-comm function feeds
Mobile

Vanity/Like to have!

Brand
Things to leave out
Picture quality
Demographic
ROI measure

Resource

Deadline
Budget
Comparison data
Reporting
Decision makers + process

Planning

Objectives
Method
Time frames
Roles
Deliverables
Testing

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!

Simple project plan

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!

Find out more about Brian Schur and David Ranby, web project managers. You can find out more by clicking this link about good practise web project management.

 

More Case Studies

Skills

  • Design knowledge ; usability, device style…
  • Technical optimisation ; page load, device…
  • Digital marketing; SEO, Paid, Social…
  • Content Management; CMS selection, image management….
  • Negotiator
  • Planner

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

Configurator

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