Manage a Website – Planning

Planning
Planning

Planning is fundamental in any project. Before starting to write <html> or click on menu Project, New Web Project, we need to set up the bases of our Website project. Some elements are important, and need to be defined in order to have a well-planned project: main goals and requirements, allocated resources, team members, stakeholders, schedule and milestones. Doing a PESTLE analysis remains an excellent tool if we want a successful website.

As I listened once in a video of Jeffrey Snover where he talks about career transition, he invite us to remain focused on driving business forward. In these thoughts, but now talking about websites, our website must focus on the core activity of our organization or the company of your clients.

Financial

Budget

This is a good point to IT, even if we’re developing more than one project in parallel like modules, applications, services, etc. We need to have ready the description of tasks/requirements to build our budget. Because we’re capable of do so many things, the same PC/Server is probably used to do a lot of work, so the tools aren’t used only for one project alone. So, it’s helpful to focus on the long term period maintaining our budget up to date. Having a budget will help us to understand the needs, evaluate the performance, finally it’s a controlling tool.

  • Which is the current total monthly salary of our team?
  • Are we concentrate all our modules, applications, services in one lonely server knowing the period of utilization?
  • Are we ready for the cloud in order to have our websites there and rescue them from those old servers?
  • It’s worthy going for training in a specific field or subject because of a coming promising opportunity? For example, a new technology for us.
  • If not, are we going to grow the team?
  • What about the similar projects in the past?
  • Which is the cost of starting a new website?
  • Which one of these elements is under our control: Performance, Scope, or Time?
  • Have we third party services or plugins to incorporate them to our projects?
  • Will the same process be coded again by our programming team or ours libraries/objects/functions are shared?
  • Updates are in the main contract or are they included as addendum?
  • Specifications are changing in along the way?
  • Are we going to need more licenses of software?

Don’t forget adjacent elements, like monthly fees, as the business or the organization’s main activity grows.

Focus on how much energy, time and money will eat our project. Spend efficiently, but not as Mr. Scrooge does… I’m pretty sure we can meet that equilibrium.

Key Variables
Key Variables

Changing one of these three variables, will affect the cost of our project.

Global Plan

Orientation

As we learned before, our website has a mission in the organization life. I remember that a time, my team and I did a couple of modules to be used in the intranet. They were roughly 80% completed, when I receive the new that they won’t see the light. Plans have changed! Surprised? I don’t think so.

The cost of making that decision must be lower than the profit of the new project. That’s because we’ve invested in time, resources and we could do something else and well planned, this if internal factors were involved. For external factors, we don’t control them. They can make negative impact on our project, at that moment we don’t have another choice than have ready and execute our Plan B or contingency plan 😉

Website Plan

Scope

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that the core activities of our organization are the guide to get website’s results. Also, I’ve talked about that scope is one of the three elements of a project planning.

If scope is under our control, we decide the boundaries of functionalities, of design, and of what the website will produce: reports, Po’s, starting another processes, etc. In this way, we have to have very clear the list of deliverables. What’s supposed the end-users will do in the website? How can we measure this? May be setting up some KPIs? We’ll talk about it later in this blog.

Replacement

Is the website in the ring for six months or around a year? Had the business process flow changed?  There’s another module, service or a new project offering more advantages/functionalities than our current one? Is the company’s design (colors, logo, etc) will change this year?

Upgrades and Maintenance

We all know that rust is dangerous, mainly in our own minds. I think all of us know how rust looks like, and what it does to a bicycle chain. If you see the chain has, lets say a 100 kms, of use, well, it’ll need some oil. But on the other hand, if you see that chain is full covered of rust (because it was forgotten in the cabanon or wasn’t used for longtime, then it might be time to buy another chain. Put some oil to the process flow! Make the website more useful and performing! And the best of all, make people happy 😉

If our website is using third party JavaScript libraries or StyleSheets that are in a content distribution network (CDN), for example, jQuery, D3, is a good idea to have a copy in our Web servers.

Context

In the main flow process of our organization, our website/web-service has its own spot, temporary or not. This will help us to get its context in the actual situation. It’s like a motor, each piece has a function, a mission, a sense. Same for our website (piece), but now in the core activity of our organization or the client’s (motor).

Product Family

Our website is among other similar websites? Our website belong to a product family? If yes, end-users will expect a certain uniformity; it’s needed to maintain consistency in terms of functionalities, design, and terminology. For example, colors, fonts, sizes, location for widgets, menus, columns, vocabulary || thesaurus. Beside of uniformity, recursion, creativity and innovation are at rendezvous.

Marketing

Campaign

From the very beginning of our project, doing marketing of our intranet project inside of our organization is a advantageous tool that makes us half the path traveled. Firstly because we have key people of our side; secondly, end-users are involved in the project from the beginning to the end.

If it’s a public website, like a online store, well, we’ll need the expertise of our friends from the Marketing department to take in control this task: attracting people to come visit our website.

Human Resources

Depending on how big our project is, the number of people involved is affected. I think it depends on our intuition too. Intuition plays an important role here. If we’re pretty sure that our programming team is enough to complete the project, go ahead!

Here are some positions orbiting the website (there are many more out there)

IT Marketing
  • Webmaster (mid to late 90s) old times…
  • Web Developer
  • Web Programmer
  • Web Analyst
  • Web Technician
  • Data Centre Manager
  • Information Systems Manager
  • Software Development Manager
  • Web Project Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Scrum Master
  • Product Owner
  • Developers
  • Web Designer
  • Web Graphic Designer
  • Web Integrator
  • Advertising Agency Manager
  • E-Business Manager
  • Web Marketing Manager
Communications Management Board
  • Campaign Manager
  • Communications Manager (Internet)
  • Directors
  • VPs
  • Management Board
Target
  • Clients
  • End-Users
  • Stakeholders

Nowadays, more and more teams are multicultural, and this give to the project an invaluable treasure chest we can’t get it somewhere else. People have in themselves a history, professional experiences, new ideas, a mission in our organization.

If you’re working alone (freelancer), well, you surely do business with other people, like developers, designers, third party contacts to whom you give some work to do for you (subcontractors) and clients. Of course, depending on your profession. In this case the soft skills are present in meetings.

Let people do their job and let the computers do theirs. Voila a clear vision of duties of each actor.

 

Thanks for read and learn, I’ll be glad to see you in the next article!

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