5 Ways to Derail Your Web Project
If you have ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for friends and family, you know the food doesn’t just appear on the table. There’s a process, and things can go wrong. It’s like the time I thought a six pound ham only needed 20 minutes to cook. I failed to read past “cook 20 minutes” to see the directions say “per pound.” Oops.
So when you plan your meal, ask yourself questions. Do I have any guests with dietary concerns? Did I remember to tell my mom to bring the beans? How much milk is too much for the potatoes? Just like a holiday meal, the creation of a website has some potential pitfalls. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.
1. Jumping the gun
Oddly enough, one of the things that can get a project off track is starting it too soon. All too often, we get excited about something new and sign a proposal before we’re ready. That proposal comes with a schedule, and if we’re not prepared when we sign, the project is behind before work even begins.
What are our goals for this new site? How will success be measured? What does our company do, and how is the current site not reflecting that properly? Without the answers to questions like these, the new site can’t even get off the ground.
2. ‘Too many cooks’ syndrome
Ideally, there is one point of client contact for a digital project. We all know this is often unrealistic. There will typically be multiple people making decisions along the way, but the more people who need to give their input, the longer the project phases tend to get.
It’s ok to have more than one voice in the room, but when there are too many, it creates problems. How many is too many? It really depends on your team and its own dynamic, as well as the one with your web team. And remember, you don’t have to be in love with every aspect of your new design, as long as your users will love it.
3. Misunderstanding your audience
I’ll reiterate that last point because it’s important: as long as your users will love it. For that to work, you need to know who your users are. Here’s a tip – it’s usually not you. Layout and content often get held up because they don’t get properly created the first time. Even with the website design and development complete, without relevant, appropriate content you can’t launch.
You wouldn’t give a speech without tailoring it to the group to which you’re speaking. It’s the same with web content; write for them, not you. Keeping this in mind will help prevent multiple and major revisions before and after your site goes live.
4. Dropping the communication ball
This is the most preventable obstacle and all too often the most common. Your project manager should be maintaining close contact with you. You, in turn, should return the favor. You can even be proactive about it on your end. Going on vacation? Email your project manager before you leave. Have a question or concern? Don’t wait until the next scheduled meeting – pick up the phone and call.
Your project manager is there to keep the ship on its course. If you have other priorities, let them know, and they will do what they can to keep tasks on schedule.
5. Endless tweaking
Many a project launch date has been derailed by this one. Rare, however, is the site that benefits from a delay because the content wasn’t quite right. You could make small changes and additions ad infinitum, and the site would never launch.
The website of today is always changing. The digital ink never dries, so as long as the new site is better than your old site, publish what you have. Get the newly born site out in the world, and then sculpt and mold it as you get feedback, review analytics, and discover its trends.
At the end of the Thanksgiving meal, you want everyone satisfied with full bellies and watching some football. When your website launches, you want your audience satisfied as well. If you watch out for these common stumbling blocks, you can be sure to serve up your site before first down
Know of some other things that slow you down? Let us know in the comments!
You might also like: 5 Ways to Keep a Project on Track.