Web Project Management Guide
Time estimates and team members
Content review and development
Site structure and navigation
Finalizing timeline and content
Visual design development
Production and proofing
Launch and maintenance
Time Estimates and Team Members
Creating time estimates, outlining your timeline, and identifying your team members helps ensure that everyone is aware of their role on the team and is aware of the time commitment involved. Time estimates begin with a review of key factors:
- Project goals
- Content development and/or refinement
- Special needs (backend programming, plug-in features, streaming media, database interface, payment system, etc.)
- Visual design goals
- Production and maintenance issues (will you use templates, a content management system, or a database-driven site?)
Coordinating Your Team
Listed below are eleven team-member functions. These responsibilities may be divided between any number of colleagues, so the list is not meant as a definitive number of people required to do a good job.
- Project manager - maintains content listing, keeps track of deadlines, oversees production, and resolves issues as they arise; carries overall responsibility to keep project on schedule, including creating a Phase 2 list of new ideas to guard against "project creep"
- Content provider - responsible for researching and writing text
- Writer and/or editor - determines consistent voice for site and applies that voice to all text from content providers; converts print copy to web-friendly writing; supplies meta-tags, text for alt tags, and links
- Art director - creates look and feel (templates, CSS, and style guides); locates art; directs photo shoots; proofs production work for design consistency; works with programmer on interface for backend functionality
- Programmer - provides functionality for web applications, forms, and dynamic content
- User-testing administrator - administers click-through and naming-conventions tests after sitemap is developed, and before site goes to production
- Production staff - inputs content into templates
- Proofer - reviews post production work for typos and consistency; checks titles, meta-tags, alt tags, links, etc.
- Site-maintenance staff - keeps site updated on an ongoing basis
- Server administrator - ensures server runs continuously and is secure; provides access for production team and/or programmer(s); moves files from staging to public sites
- Boss, client, or stakeholder(s) - approves the project
- Additional responsibilities - conduct focus-group research (project manager, writer, art director, or all of the above can handle this)
Create the project timeline
It's critical to get estimates from each team member regarding how long it will take them to accomplish their individual tasks (see the visual timeline). The most commonly made mistake at this point is for managers to guess (innacurately) about the team's time. Count on the team to give you their best estimates--and then require that they meet them.
Next step: Content review and development