FAIL TO PLAN you PLAN TO FAIL
Time and time again I am asked why people fail projects, especially web projects and time and time again it boils down to poor planning, project management and implementation.
There is no doubt that this is hard stuff. Lets face it over the past 10 years web sites have gone from super simple static sites to full CMS driven systems integrating with anything that moves on the web. It's hard to believe that some projects actually get of the ground let alone completed due to the complexity expected now days.
Despite the complexity we still see little to no planning when embarking on such projects. Typically one or two key personnel have an idea of what is needed and this information is typically locked away in their head. Probably a pointless place if we all need to be on the same page and build this system.
Here are our top 5 tips on successfully delivering a website project;
1. FAIL TO PLAN you PLAN TO FAIL
Simple. If you do not plan your project and document it then you make it difficult to both complete the project and get it right . Imagine if we was both building a house. I have a plan and you do not. I bet $100 that we both finish the site but I will finish first and probably correct the first time. You may need to pull the house down as you forgot the plumbing or drastically change room layout as it was not properly thought about. Maybe the wife only saw the finished product and now wants the main room facing East opposed to West. This will cost a fortune and a pity it was not changed on the plan likely costing nothing.
2. Communication is King
Use a tool to manage communications all in a central location. Clarity is important and all discussions should be open and recorded for reference. A good projecting tool will not only record discussions but also manage tasks, bugs, announcements and documents not only for the development team but also the customer.
3. Use a Methodology and Standard
Everyone needs to be on the same page and everyone needs to conform to a standard. If we do not do this then the end product will be not only wishy washy but possibly incorrect or disjointed. There is nothing worse than a project going two different ways. It is super hard to regain control, but if you have to stop, review and righten the ship before proceeding.
4. Don't be scared to say NO
Control the project. Don't be scared to say "no" to requests that are not in the plan. If they must be there then request a change document outlining what needs to be completed and advise that their will be an extension required on the completion time as well as a possible cost variation.
5. Seek Sign off
If you have a plan then when everything is completed in the plan the project is completed. Once everything is completed you need to get sign off otherwise it will never end. The definition of a project is a set of tasks that started and completed. It is temporary and not permanent. A sign off both at different stages or milestones in a project and at completion will show a clean cut end.
Well hope that this helps and good luck with your web site projects!