Starting A New Web Project
Starting a new web project can be a daunting thought. It can seem like a long way to get from start to finish, and add into the equation all the people involved (developers, designers, marketers), it feels a rather complicated. The only way a web project can be achieved, delivered on time, within a set budget, is through a project management framework that everyone can stick to.
Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of having a dedicated project manager to deal with organising a web project. Often, neither do the designers and developers that get hire to do the job, and usually everyone is operating on different schedules. All this makes the whole project difficult to manage well. If you do not have a clear plan of when, how often, in what format, and who will be involved in communication between your business and the supplier, then it’s highly unlikely that the project will go to plan, and highly likely for it to be hit with delays, delays and more delays.
Everyone does their best, but important principles get ignored, such as the communication plan. Sorting out a communication plan before a project begins is something we highly recommend as it will help you avoid unnecessary stress and could potentially save you money.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Communication can come in different formats. It could be a schedule of email reports, face to face meetings, phone calls – whatever you and the supplier can commit to. It’s when these things aren’t agreed upon from the start, that everyone does whatever they want and hopes for the best. Missed phone calls, late emails and overall poor communication can have disastrous effects.
As a business owner, you need to keep on top of the project. Regularly ask:
How is the project progressing against the plan?
Can our communication be improved?
What does the supplier need from me to help them?
At which point should I give them my feedback?
How long do we have for testing?
Keeping these questions in the back of your mind at all times is very useful. Generally, these questions should be answered in advance and the small business owner should take responsibility to make sure the communication is efficient.
Example Communication Plan
One recommendation I would suggest is to have a satisfactory communication plan before signing a contract with a supplier/designer/developer. The plan can be as simple as the one below. As long as both you and the supplier can make the meetings/phone calls, that’s the most important thing.
1 Weekly calls, every Friday at 10:30am.
2 Weekly status report against the plan submitted via email each Monday morning.
3 Live demo when specific features are completed.
4 Meeting to train the business on how to use the system for testing purposes.
5 Time-scale and a method of reporting testing faults.
6 Post-delivery onsite training for the whole team.
This will a. ensure that everyone knows the state of the project at all times, and b. significantly minimise the risk of missing deadlines.
If you are struggling to come up with the essentials you need for a communication plan, we recommend creating a mindmap. They’re simple to create and you can use software like Coggle or XMind to do this.
If you’d like any help or further advice on how to make a communications plan, feel free to contact us here!