Bespoke websites are often complex projects that require multiple skillsets in their delivery and effective project management is an essential ingredient in ensuring that deadlines are met.
The major components of a web solution from a development perspective include design (what the site looks like), front end development (the interactive elements of the design), the back end development (the content management solution, the database and the delivery of dynamic content to the front end) and the testing. From the client perspective the most important element is the provision of content, this includes copy, images and video.
Many web design projects take months to deliver and through the build process there are various milestones that need to be achieved to keep a website build running smoothly. There are various stages of design sign off that include the home page, the internal pages and the responsive (multiple device layouts) before any of the coding should begin. Often the coding (front end and back end development) overlaps and runs in parallel, and each component generally requires a different skillset.
We implemented a project management function in our digital agency in Leeds and now it is essential in all web design. It facilitates the whole process from preparing the technical specification to liaising with the various members of the studio team that work on the project. Software is used to plan milestones and monitor production times against those quoted to ensure the project meets the agreed specification.
Establishing the technical specification is the key starting point, this is the document that the developers will follow to build the various features that the website must include. It can be easy to experience creep within projects if the specification is not clearly agreed and it is important that the document is closely followed by the design team to ensure features are not designed that were not covered within the scope of the document.
Projects often change during the build process, clients very often can’t picture all elements until they have been mocked up, it can also be the case that clients don’t know exactly what they want until they see something tangible. Continuously referring to the specification reduces project creep and helps manage customer expectations. When changes need to be made a change control document should be produced and agreed with the client, often if caught early enough any costing impact can be minimised.
The project manager brings all of the component parts together, they ensure each stakeholder and studio member has what they need, when they need it and regular project meetings should be held to ensure everyone is on track. The three important factors to consider when managing a web project are planning, communication and scheduling.
The cost of professional website project management should be covered by the efficiency savings that it brings to the team and there for the project. The inclusion of a website project manager function within a digital agency team is the best way to meet client deadlines, projects are planned, continuously monitored and reviewed and expectations are met.
All Ascensor projects have dedicated project management in place to ensure that we meet our client’s expectations and deliver projects on time and within budget.