Website Project Planning, have you discussed your business plan with your Web Developer?
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a never ending web project, or end up with a website that doesn’t meet all your needs?
A lot of clients at one time or another find themselves in this quandary.
It starts off innocent enough. You know your product or service so you jump right in to finding someone that can make your design dreams come true for your website. During that process you only let the Web Designer know all the bells and whistles you want to see. But then you find out that design has to go to someone else, a Web Developer, to become a reality and this where you feel like that once easy process becomes difficult.
The beautiful design you were cherishing is now becoming the headache you’re looking at day after day, sitting in development. Because of poor planning or miscommunication you find yourself out of scope, over-budget on the project or certain elements being thrown out.
So how do you plan to keep your project in budget and within the scope?
Organization and Communication are the keys to a successful website! Before you find that perfect person or company to bring your idea for the web to life you have to organize. Think of the success of your project as 3 prongs; Project Manager, Designer, and Developer. It is very possible for this to be all the same person or company, it doesn’t have to be different people. But each prong has a key role in the success of a website.
Now let’s take a moment to go over the basics of the 3 prongs.
This person is going to be the one helping you actually organize your project, making sure deadlines are met and that the channels of communication are open. They are the ones that are going to listen to what you want and put it down in a workable timeline, as well as ask you questions and reverb back your requests. They will be ultimately responsible for delegating out the responsibilities; to you the client, to the designer, possibly a copywriter, and to the developer of the project.
Your Web Designer is going to be in charge of making the wireframe of your website, and then creating the feel of your content to fill that wireframe. Design has 2 parts and I like to think of a website like a house. The Web Designer is going to build a blue print and interior designer for you. A lot of people skip the wireframe portion because they want to be done, and have their ideas put up as quickly as possible. But it’s an important first step. Wireframes let you look at the website with no bells and whistles, it’s the skeleton of the site you are building. Once you pick a layout you then can start the next part; the actual design. This is where picking a typography, color scheme, images, video, text; your branding comes into play. If these things already exist the designer you hired will apply those items using their knowledge to best work with the wireframe you approved.
Last we have your Web Developer. Again using the analogy of a house, this person is the actual builder or architect of your website. They are the ones that going to take all the information from the project manager and designer, and make it into a working, breathing website on the web. Having them involved in your marketing strategy or how you interact with customers will determine how they build your house a.k.a. website. If you keep information from them, you may find yourself getting something you didn’t ask for or not quite what you wanted. If information is missing, they will have to make an assumption or stop your project to get clarification. And that is when you can start to see your project go off the rails. The value of having them involved and interacting with the project manager and designer is that a collaboration can happen. Having all the parts communicating means your web developer is going to be able to help make decisions based on your needs and use their experience and knowledge to give you the best functioning, and manageable website for you. A web developer asking your business strategy is all about them wanting you to have to best product within your budget and ensuring they can give you the options available. They also will be the ones that can give you the final leg of your costs and give you their timeline for development.
An additional benefit of the web developer is that they usually will offer some sort of ongoing web maintenance of the website. Regular website maintenance can handle problems before they even become problems.
So the next time you’re ready to start that web project make sure you have all your team in line and are communicating with all the players needed to complete your web project.