Website Project Management

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am one of the first to admit it, there is a lot of web design talent out there.  In fact there are a lot of talented web designers right here in Austin.  But even the most talented web designer can fail at providing a good solution to the client.  A large part of the problem is lack of project management.

Flow chart web design processWorking Inside the Design Instead of With the Client

Some web design professionals run through the same mundane steps they are accustomed to in their own special way, and they never once inform the client about what they are planning to do and what they have or have not done.  So how does their client know what to expect?  How does the website owner know what stage of the process they are in?

Will the website ever actually get done?

The Web Design Process

To establish good project management you must start with a basic plan, a blue print of what is about to happen.  For our customers, we offer a flow chart of the general phases they can expect to occur during the project.  For example, the first phase is mock up designs.  Based on the scope and desires of the customer, we give them an idea of the timeline for that phase and when the next phase should begin.

This gives the customer some peace of mind in that early stage when they are not yet familiar with us, and it helps them to plan their own tasks as well, like when to deliver their next batch of content to us.

Good Tools

Not all customers are alike, so not every one of them will want to use my preferred tool.  But in most cases I invite them to our project management software system, so they can login to a special area to see notes, communication, and files related to their project.  I always have at least one customer who prefers basic email communication or even phone calls over the website system, but we still use the system for our internal staff.

With our project management software, all of our staff can track notes and progress for a project, create task lists and check off items when they are completed, track milestones, and share important files such as programming documentation and mock up designs.

Steamlining & Succeeding

It’s a shame to hear stories from website owners who are disenchanted with the web design industry because they had a poor experience previously.  A great deal of those stories could have been prevented with some basic project management.  Unfortunately, a great designer without quality project management might feel just as overwhelmed and lost as the customer who is wondering what the status of their website is and why it hasn’t launched months after they originally planned.

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Posted in: Austin Web Design, Web Design, Web Design Resource, Web Development

2 responses to “Website Project Management”

  1. Is it possible to get a bigger version of that image? I can’t read anything but the headings on it.

  2. Jacqueline Sinex says:

    Hi, Christian. Thanks for the comment. I updated the image to link to a larger version so you can read the example stages.