Custom site builds are large, complex and highly technical projects that can be project managed by anyone with a little extra care and attention to detail within project planning. Our digital marketing agency has established a set of key areas where the project manager is in control of getting a website to build success with the right project plan. Follow how to project manage a site structure from a site design perspective.
Start-up and discovery
So you have sold a large site project, how does your project team start? Start-up and discovery will be the most important thing for the project manager to make the web design project a success. Without a detailed and comprehensive discovery phase, the rest of the project is permeated by unnecessary guesswork, lacks customer expectations and plays on customer requirements. It is the task of the project manager to ensure that the collection of requirements not only proceeds smoothly, but also remains organized in a way that is useful to the rest of the project team when it comes to project tasks and remains tailored within the project plan.
Keys to a successful kickoff and discovery when managing projects:
Welcome email and pre-kickoff
Objective: Fill out the questionnaire and get enough information to tailor Q&A to get the conversation going around their business for the client’s kickoff
Send your client a website design survey that starts the basic information gathering around the design brief: Who is the main contact point (POC)? Who are the additional stakeholders? What branded goods do they have to be used? Who are their competitors? Keep this high level so as not to overwhelm your customers with a 30-minute questionnaire until you have even talked to them
Get an internal kickoff with your team first to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to ask the questions they need to ask regarding any task within the site’s project plan
The start-up meeting
Objectives: High-level project objectives from the client, a sense of the brand, get them to talk about the brand and product / service offering
Get them talking about their business in their own words, and think about their brand in a way they may not have before
Call for in-depth discovery
Discuss the sales cycle, determine the decision makers on the consumer side, and determine the impacts of these decision makers. This is going to put you in the shoes of their main audience (s) and buyers
When do you talk to your customers?
Is it only when you need something from them? Is it only when you have something to deliver? As a web project manager, make sure you hear from them at least once a week, regardless of delivery and whether they respond.
How often do your customers proactively hear from you?
If they only hear from you when they reach out, you are not managing the project. Email your customers every Monday to tell them what your team is doing and what you expect from them. Keep customer engagement and collaboration high to ensure they know they are being heard and that you are there as an extension of their team.
Leaning towards your expertise
The customer is the expert in their industry, but as a project manager you are an expert in the product delivered. Rely on that expertise when talking to your customers and get data to back them up. Let your UX designers present their designs so that the information comes directly from the expert. Let your developers participate in development functionality meetings and become client-oriented to establish your company’s credibility as an expert in your space.
Getting through the development
Launching a site after the staging site is ready can sometimes drag on due to the finality it entails. Make this process smoother and less daunting for your clients by using bug / feedback tools like Bugherd with your customers to enable clear communication about new site changes being launched.
Once your customers are set up on Bugherd after the first delivery of the staging site, set up a daily 15-minute stand up with them to discuss their priorities on the day. What you may not have visibility about is the amount of internal stakeholders your POC needs to talk to, and you can alleviate this stress by discussing their high-priority topics with them on a daily basis. If available, get your developer involved as well, as cutting off the middleman can really speed things up.
Other quick tips
Organization is everything. Establish patterns so your team always knows where to find the same information for each project. Whether it’s a templated project management board, consistent portfolio structures, and consistent forms of communication, your team will appreciate it. Use collaboration documents (such as Google Drive) as much as possible, whether with your customers and / or your internal team. Get written deregistration of phases from your customers before moving on to the next one. Wireframes dictate designs, so make sure your customers know they are signing one phase to inform the next so you do not encounter creep of scope. Go into feedback on why behind likes and dislikes. Teach your clients how to provide better feedback. Own mistakes and move on from them and do not repeat them. Everyone makes mistakes, but the best performers and best partners do not repeat them.
Website project management does not end when the design is complete. Once your site project design is complete, your project team should evaluate feedback and the overall outcome of your project to learn from for future projects. As a project manager, the project is your responsibility from start to finish, and then some. For more information on other website development services, contact Marketing-Ideas today!