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How to manage web projects without setting your hair on fire Kathy Gill 13 October 2014 Project Management Institute
Common Web PM mistakes Not knowing why … leads to Design for a department head or boss Design by committee SMEs make content decisions Forgetting … To get advice from SEO specialists To budget for content migration To think about scale Treating the Web like a publication
Setting your hair on fire means … Undue anxiety for the team A project that doesn’t meet customer needs A project hamstrung by internal politics 4
A web project may be … Building a few web pages for a department or product Developing a simple web application that collects information Building a Content Management System Redesigning an existing web site Updating content on an existing web site Using Twitter/Facebook/WordPress.com/etc for some specific reason
Web Site Planning… A Web Team develops and maintains a web site. A Web Project Manager sees that this is accomplished in a well-organized, timely andon-budget/schedule fashion. 6
Software development… Waterfall is a sequential design process. Agile is an iterative design process. This presentation does not address this religious war!
Where we’re going tonight … My biases 8 common web project management mistakes 5 tools that can help alleviateweb project pain
Basing the design of this website on your own monetary goals has made such a unique and engaging experience.”Said no website visitor. Ever. ~ Creating a Joyful Customer Journey, Aug 2014
Every project takes longer than you think it will.
I’ve been doing this a long time
This is the easy part Slide from @jrodgers
Typical questions at the start of a project: what are we building, how long will it take, how much will it cost.MIA: why are we building it?
How do we know?? Ask!? Watch!? Use online tools!? Check server logs!Then develop personas.
KC web user profiles & top tasks King County Elections Web Redesign Project
Persona checklist Is the persona based on contextual interviews with real customers? Does the persona evoke empathy by including a name, a photograph and a product-relevant narrative? Does the persona appear realistic to people who deal with customers day-to-day? Is each persona unique, having little in common with other personas? Does the persona include product-relevant high-level goals and include a quotation stating the key goal? Is the number of personas small enough for the design team to remember the name of each one, with one of the personas identified as primary? Can the development team use the persona as a practical tool to make design decisions?From How to create personas your design team will believe in
Do not build a [public-facing] site that your top executives will love: they are not the target audience.”~ Jakob Nielsen
Prospective student task list What programs do you offer? I want more information about program X What scholarships and financial aid are available? What extra-curricular activities are offered? How much does it cost to live in residence? How do I arrange a campus visit? How do I apply?Source: Avoiding the bottleneck: University and college website navigation
Determine tasks from user interviews, server log files -- understand your content and why people visit your site.Break tasks into steps (flow) to build navigation.
?Possible exception to Jakob’s rule: web-based tools for a specific internal audience, such as HR staff or IT managers monitoring KPIs
[When] governed by committee(s), success is not often tangible.” ~ Higher Ed 2009
Design team should be cross-functional in membership and small.? Listen.? Share vision.? Build.? Test.? Iterate.
Stakeholder committee should have everyone needed. But they don’t design. https://twitter.com/epersonae/status/521698270884544513
Stakeholder committee should have everyone who needs to be kept informed about progress. But they don’t design.Or write copy.
To engage users, website copy must speak to readers and not at them. Include words people can relate to, and avoid jargon, business speak, and feature-driven language.” ~ Nielson-Norman Group
~ Online It All Matters SMEs hold the keys to the valuable content kingdom…So often, [SMEs] think they know more about the web than you do.”
When working with SMEs:?Explain project goals.?Frame content as a conversation.?Set limits on editing – factual review only.
The result?? Avoid subject-matter-expert lingo.? Web site reads like users talk, conversational.? Improves site usability.
2. forgettingto …
How do people find websites? Organic search Referral links Social links (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.) Email (not just marketing) Paid search Direct traffic
Google analytics, kc.gov
The 80-20 rule is in full force here.Migrating content to a new CMS or into new design templates will take far more time than anyone thinks. Even if they’ve done it before.
Have a plan for managing broken links in a website redesign.One that does not rely on 404-error pages!
Health gov chief resigns HealthCare.Gov chief resigns
17% of lT projects budgeted at $15 million or higher go so badly as to threaten the company's existence, and more than 40% of them fail.”~ McKinsey research, 2012
Publication process Source: Emporia State University
Google Webmaster tools and Google analyticsTrello for project managementInspectlet and CrazyEgg for user data
Users first.Write like users talk.Device-independent design.Test early, test often.Keep stakeholders informed but keep design team small, tight.Project leader should understand both IT and comm.
The operating moral premise of information design should be that our readers are alert and caring; they may be busy, eager to get on with it, but they are not stupid.” ~ Edward Tufte
For more information Kathy E. Gill@kegillwiredpen.comkegill.comPresentation link: wp.me/p3eg9d-2mQ Material in this presentation is licensed with a Creative Commons license: share-and-share alike attribution non-commercial
Credits Hair-on-fire image based upon image from rail safety campaign by Metro Trains, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia