Secrets to managing a website project efficiently

Warning: Blunt language!

This is specifically gear towards the website development team itself. However, many of the things being discussed are client related and will translate to outsource situations or being more hands on as a client and dealing efficiently with the website development team or project manager.

There are endless digital management tools, processes and systems. Each claiming to solve all problems and reducing the chance of failure and improving efficiency. The true of the matter though comes down to the idea, planning, management, efficiency and consistency. All of these factors need to come together to complete a project. A good team will most of the time be able to finish any project. So just like if you were choosing a builder for a house you should a choose a team with a proven track record of finishing similar types and sizes of projects as yours. So if we leave the issue of good and poor development teams aside for this blog post. We can concentrate on the dynamics of the project itself.

  • Website project management secret 1
  • To many meetings! To many focus-less phone calls. 99% of all meetings must be totally pointless. Most meetings with clients, Development teams (internal and external) are just a coffee, Muffin eating circle jerk pacification sales pitches. If you want something accomplished from a meeting set a time limit. Set out clear objectives for the meeting a head of time and share that with the other people going to the meeting ahead of time. Don't be a smart ass and spring stuff on people to see if they can wing it on the spot! What the hell is the point of that...this isn't the 1980s and your trying to catch out your rival. If you want answers give the other people time to prepare. Damn near every time I attend, a must have, meeting without an agenda or clear expectation of what answers/information we should all bring it ends up a circle jerk with weak answers requiring another must have meeting and spending most of the time having social conversation. A waste of time! If your an employer facilitating this it is costing you a fortune. If you have hired a web development company these meetings are not free! your paying for every person in attendance. The time the owner, project manager, sales person, design spend talking about your kids and cat is coming directly out of your projects budget and these people are senior they have the highest hourly rate. Let me ask you this, would you rather have a meeting for an hour or the dollars worth amount of the people in attendance put into your project.

    Non attendance. Don't set meetings with your team and then cancel last minute. You might as well write off 2 hours either side of it. That's time you're paying for.

  • Website project management, secret 2
  • Well planned and clear communication. Often the excuse for poor communication is I'm to busy. I can tell you now if that's the case you most likely are spending your day fixing up problems of your poor communication with more poor communication or your just lazy or both.

    If the ideas, content and/or direction are coming from you then take the time to articulate them clearly. Use screenshots, Include links, page headings/titles every thing you can articulate out of your head to others is time a developer, designer or project manager doesn't have to spend trying to interpret and explain to someone else.

    This is a big one, make sure your content is formatted spell checked and has the correct grammar standard you want. 99% of firms will not alter or check your content unless it is explicitly stated. So what ever you have will go directly on to your website.

    Type out instructions in with order and organisation.

    Type and provide instructions, content in a way that makes it easily copied and pasted. Because this is the fastest way it will get transferred to your website/design. Likely it will not be read so make sure it right.

    Not listening to your technical staff about realistic deadlines. Project managers and Sales staff need to listen to clients and collaborate on realistic deadlines and progress.

  • Website project management, secret 3
  • Project creep: This is so common and really comes under the areas of project management and communication. However there is internal and external creep. External can be clients asking for just a little thing to be added. It can also be internal from sales staff or management not disclosing promises at contract and scoope time. It can also be from within the team, where excessive perfection or adding something to make it just that little bit better gets out of control.

    Keep a tight watch on creep. Do not just have a yes or no accountability to hours worked and scoope.

  • Website project management, secret 4
  • Staff motivation: Only keep staff on the task if they want to be on the task. Play to each team members strengths and reward them when they come through. Personally I like to break the projects up into smaller teams or individuals who then collaborate as a team.

    Try to keep the same staff on the task from start to finish. It will help you long term by forcing staff to think their task through to completion.

  • Website project management,secret 5
  • Efficiency of man power: Do not waste your senior staff on mundane tasks. Get the juniors, interns or hire data entry people to do the repetitive stuff. Keep them were they are needed on the technical stuff. Like wise keep managers on management, not micro management. When your not sure, just calculate out the productivity vs cost.

  • Website project management,secret 6
  • Don't manage the manager: I see this one a lot in small to medium web companies. They have a wiz bang project management program, it does this and that and the other thing. Only thing is the project manager and staff spend more time updating and managing the software than they do anything else. The project manager should be inbuilt to how you do business. Some of these project management systems are great tools. However think are you getting better value/efficiency than just using a white board! I think in most small companies you don't.

    Before you through your management system away analysis and see what the issue is. Is it just the staff don't want to use it so your double handling everything or is it really just so awkward it's a hindrance to everything you do. So you end up doing it just to fill it out to please the boss, but really everyone is using their own naturally created system which works better.

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    Senior Developer at Mebsites on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Mebsites is an acclaimed Magento and Custom Framework Web Software coding house.
    Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia Website