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Website Implementation

Website Implementation for Associations and non-profits

This important area is often neglected or not given the priority it deserves. Usually this is because the website implementation process is largely a project management activity, and project management is not sexy. This sounds a little glib, but if we look at the to groups of people that are traditionally involved with website production, developers and designers. As you would expect, designers love to be creative and well, design, and developers love to solve bits and bytes problems, nether are really excited by project meetings or keeping an eye on the schedule.

So what can you do to ensure that the implementation phase of your web project goes smoothly? Here are some tips:
  • Step One – Document clearly what the outcomes are – Specify!
  • Step Two – Follow a proven process for delivery – Project Plan!
  • Step Thee – Actively manage against the Project Plan – Project Manage!

Lets look at this in greater detail.

Website Specification

Website specifications can be intimidating. It is difficult to sum up a project into one document. So how is it done successfully?

There are a number of models and processes that can be used to assist in this task, these models are all a little different and are designed to match different project types. The project type can defined by its overall size and complexity, or perhaps its primary objectives (e.g. marketing or process automation).

Four Pillars website specification approach

For smaller and medium ’sized’ project we have devised and use our Four Pillars model (follow the link for a more detailed version). In brief the Four Pillars help us separate out and concentrate on the distinct areas of the web project. These are:

  1. Design: Look and feel
  2. Content: The written copy, articles, pages, products etc
  3. Functionality: Facilitating visitor interaction and management functions
  4. Audience Generation: The online mechanisms we will use to draw visitors to the site (often neglected!)

Whilst there are some overlaps between these areas (for example Branding could be seen as influencing all of them), generally different team members deal with each area. Designers are need for design, developers are needed for the build and functional work, content is provided by marketeers and copy writers, and audience generation is an online marketers role.

So to specify the project use models and specification documents as props – feel free to use our Web project specification: Four Pillars.

Authoring the Project plan

Once the project is specified, it becomes much easier to author a project plan. The plan must contain line items for each individual task. These can be broken down by the four pillars categories, starting at a high level and breaking each down until the items are granular enough to allocate a team member (or members) duration.

Note that there are two areas here that you may struggle with if you don’t do this every day:

  1. Knowing exactly what the steps are (and that they are feasible)
  2. Knowing how difficult they are and long they might take
  3. Knowing how much each might cost

We can help with this too – please contact us and ask how!

Project Management

Once your plan is in place the tasks becomes one of project management. There will most likely be multiple individuals involved and one of those should be a technical project manager.

Depending on the project size and complexity we recommend (and run) weekly or fortnightly project reviews (sometimes called WiP – work in progress meeting) and expect there to be up to 10% of project delivery time allocated to project management.

Before a project launches this sounds like a lot, however when we survey our clients after a project they often tell us the they would have liked for their to be more PM time! You can listen to one of our clients stories by following the link.

Please give us a call to discuss you project or take a look at the range of services that we provide to see if we can help.

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