How to Manage Web Development Projects
Website project management breaks down the various processes and requirements in a project among team members into tasks.
Website project management aims to establish an optimized workflow, so tasks move along quickly, milestones are met on time, and projects are completed on time and within budget.
What Is Website Project Management?
To manage web development projects effectively, the project manager needs to understand the scope of the project and take the initiative to start the project with appropriate planning. They need to create a project roadmap and communicate the project details to the team.
Setting goals and defining the project’s purpose and scope—including creating a breakdown of the project, estimating costs, identifying milestones, etc—is crucial for managing web projects effectively.
Alongside continuously monitoring the project’s progress, these steps ensure that the team is performing efficiently and that the quality of work done is consistent across each team member.
With proper management, you’ll be able to close the project with everyone involved happy and ensure that all the promises are included in the final deliverable.
Project Management Methodology
While there are a number of different methodologies available for project management, typically, the Agile methodology is the most favoured approach. The Agile method is popular as it focuses on breaking down the project into cycles.
This method divides every part of the project into much smaller tasks, like research and wireframes, and then each of these tasks can be followed and tracked from beginning to end.
This approach works well with website project management as it allows each team member and task owner to make responsive decisions and changes at any stage of the project.
The Agile methodology focuses on four core values:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation.
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiations.
- Responding to change over following a plan.
This methodology is widely used because most projects will change as you move along the project and before you reach the completion stage. Additionally, most clients want to be involved in every phase of their website project.
Process for Web Development Projects
There are many steps that need to be taken for a web project to be successful. The 11 steps below help with effective website development.
Research And Goal Setting
Researching and setting goals allows the project to run smoothly and to achieve the accomplishments and milestone dates necessary to deliver the perfect website.
During this step, project managers should ask a few questions, such as:
- Who is the audience we are targeting?
- What do we hope for this website to accomplish?
- What are the main goals of the website?
These are only a few questions to ask. By setting these goals and asking these questions, you are helping the project and site have clear direction and purpose.
Gather Client Requirements
This is a crucial part of the web development process as your client is the key catalyst in delivering the most important information about their products, services and industry.
They know what their customers and prospects want, and listening to what your website client requires on their website will allow you to define their needs and what they want and are paying you to do.
Creating a Wireframe
Creating a wireframe can be a very time-consuming process, however, taking the time to do so will allow you to reduce and even eliminate any issues ahead of time.
A wireframe will give the site a much better chance of success down the road. There are usually a few steps involved when creating a wireframe, as indicated below:
Step 1: Gather the Tools for Wireframing.
Step 2: Do Your Target User and UX Design Research.
Step 3: Determine Your Optimal User Flows.
Step 4: Start Drafting Your Wireframe.
Step 5: Perform Usability Testing to Try Out Your Design.
Step 6: Turn Your Wireframe Into a Prototype.
In this stage, you should consider colours, logos, branding and anything else to help your audience engage and interact with the site. Focusing on the layout and design of the site will help you create and bring the website to life.
It is important to mention that this usually is presented at first on a static mockup that depicts the layout design, colour and theory. Which then leads to the design approval by your client.
Design approvals involve the client approving or making recommendations to the static mockup that was mentioned above.
Having written approval of the design mockup from the client indicates that the client has fully understood and approved the layout, the colour, and the concept of the website design moving forward.
Once this is confirmed, you can move to the development phase and HTML Integration process.
The web developer and project manager are ready to begin creating the website at this stage. The HTML and coding scripts usually begin with the homepage and then move to the website’s other pages.
The development of a website usually takes anywhere from 6 to 15 weeks, depending on how much content and how big the website is.
Providing copy and content for the website is crucial during the HTML and development process. This is when you will gather content from your client for various things, including a little bit about their company, the products and services they offer, images of their products, and services to include on a gallery page and throughout the website.
The content writing will make up most of the website, and you must ensure that it is quality content that will help with search engine optimization (SEO).
Some clients wish to provide their own content, and others will hire a content writer to do so. Once the content is fully implemented on the site, this means the site is completed, and you can move to QA and Testing.
QA / Testing
The QA and testing phase is usually completed by the developer and the project management team. It is here where testing is done on a website to discover any mistakes, errors or oversights that may have been missed and not noted during the web development or design stage.
This process can even start before the development begins, as the website needs to be fully tested before going live.
Once QA and testing on the site have been completed, you are ready to have your client approve the site.
You must always have your client send written approval for your records. Verbal approval is never enough. Having a concrete written approval makes the approval definite. Once you have this written approval, you can make the website live.
At this stage, your client or website company has registered the website domain, which will be directed to the hosting server.
Once this is done, the website is live for the entire world to see!
Now that the website is live, you will want to maintain the site regularly, as Google’s algorithm is designed to crawl and notice constant updates.
Google loves to see consistent engagement on websites and recognizes these sites above those that aren’t maintained monthly with new images, promotions, copy and etc.
Popular Web Design Project Management Tools
Trello is an interactive project management tool that enables you to organize your work and tasks into visual boards.
Trello is a fun and simple platform to use. It allows you to track what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and easily see the status of each and every task in your given project.
Asana is a CRM platform that allows you to manage your projects and focus on what’s important. It helps organize your work in one place for seamless collaboration.
Podio is created by Citrix Systems and is a web-based platform that automates workflows. Its features include organizing team communication, business processes, data and content.
Wrike is known for it easy-to-use tools for streamlining internal project management and collaboration processes between team members no matter where they are located.
Basecamp is a real-time communication and web-based tool that helps teams/employees stay on the same page for all project work.
It’s developed with a simple interface where users can create projects, document progress and manage tasks.
Jira is an Agile project management tool that supports the Agile methodology.
From Agile boards, backlogs, roadmaps, and reports, to integrations and add-ons. You can plan, track, and manage all your Agile software development projects from this simple tool.
Workfront is a CRM platform used for project management. It features many different resources and applications that allow for easy work management, issue tracking, document management, time tracking and portfolio management.
Easily sharing these tools between your teams and client allows for smooth project management.
With Teamwork, you can manage all your client and project work in one platform. It can track invoicing, provides time tracking and everything else you need to run your client services and project work.
Many clients find Teamwork easier to work with.
Roles and Responsibility of a Project Manager & Account Manager
The role of a project manager is vital, as they are the front line to all communication between the client and the web developers for the website project from start to finish.
They coordinate the team member’s actions to ensure that all project milestones are met within a timely manner and set date.
Essentially, a project manager is a person who oversees the projects until the website project is launched and passed on to the Account Manager.
An Account Manager is a liaison between the client and the agency staff team. Their goal is to understand the client’s ongoing needs and to communicate them to the creative team and to all other departments involved.
They work to get weekly and monthly work delivered to their clients.
Both Project Managers and Account Managers usually work together in a strong relationship to better suit the needs of their clients.
Website Project Management Best Practices
1. Have a kickoff meeting
The kick-off meeting is an opportunity where the client decides how everyone will work together. It is here where all members establish project goals.
Topics such as how communication will happen, how often you meet, the timelines involved and any issues that may be confronted are discussed here.
2. Establish the project’s scope and objective
Understanding the project scope and objectives is a critical step in any website project development process.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of what the client wants, then the entire project will fail.
3. Communicate effectively
Communication is key between all members of the project, from the PM to the developers, to the client. Constant engagement is important to project success.
4. Ensure proper documentation
Providing proper documentation to your web development team is very important and is something that is given by both the PM and the client.
5. Monitor and review project performance
Monitoring and reviewing project performance and processes is crucial in any website project management process. There are so many tasks to take care of that losing track of one thing, or another can happen.
If you continuously monitor and track progress regularly, you can stop many issues from happening.
Effective project managers are constantly monitoring and tracking project progress, and this is why they use CRM systems such as the ones stated above.
The End Goal
At the end of it all, the role of a project manager is just as advertised; it is their job to oversee the project from start to finish.
For a web development project, that entails liaising with the client and determining what is being asked, overseeing the design process and communicating with team members to ensure all deliverables are presented promptly and with little to no issues.
They’re the go-to person for clients and team members and the first line of defence when issues arise.
If you’ve got a web project you’d like to get the ball rolling on, talk to one of our TechWyse experts today!
How long does it take to build a website?
Anywhere from 6 to 15 weeks, depending on the website size.
What is your project management process?
My project management process usually consists of five steps,
- Conception and Initiation
- Project planning
- Project execution
- Performance and monitoring
- Project closing