Web Project Management
Goal of this post is teaching you How to:
- Organize your Documentation.
- Manage Tasks and Time to become effective.
- Communicate with Web Designers, Text Writers and IT people.
See other posts in the series How to plan and manage your website.
How to manage Web Project Documentation?
Project Initiation Document
Many bloggers and freelancers (including myself) have problems organizing their work. I needed some kind of document that will state what I want to accomplish with my project. For every new project, I first create a Project Initiation Document that state the following things:
- Project objective: Clear, one sentence definition of what is my website/ project about.
- Project deliverables: Answers how I am going to achieve the objective(s).
- Project Timeline: For each major task, I estimate when they will be delivered.
- Project team: Here I state what is expected from each individual working on project.
Project Initiation Document helps me track what is each of my projects about and when they will be completed.
Download a free copy Project Initiation Document here. (58 Kb, PDF)
Project Task Journal
It took me almost an hour to remember what was I working on a week before, and to actually start working. To overcome this, I use a simple document called Task Journal to track what is being worked on. It includes date, task name, person responsible for this task and a note when the task was solved.
Download a free copy of Project Task Journal here. (54 Kb, PDF)
How to manage Human Resources?
Creating a website involves coordinating work flow of designers, copywriters and IT stuff. These are three completely different personas you will need to find common language with.
Working with IT
Your IT colleagues are people who love numbers, controllable processes and technical stuff. When talking with them, you will need to express very specific requests or problems they need to solve.
Working with Designers
Web Designers are the exact opposite of IT guys . They are the creative soul of your project and they hate numbers. Giving them specific details will not do any good. Instead, give them the idea behind the project, and they will produce a design based on their own vision.
Working with Text Writers
Text writers are similar to Web Designers, they want freedom while working. Give them the ability to express themselves and empower them to write for the audience, not for search engines.
How to Manage Time and Work Effectively?
Milestones are short term achievements that help you evaluate progress towards your main objective. I like milestones, because I can always know where the project is standing.
Too many tasks, limited time and bad efficiency can be solved. But you need to make priorities! Effective way to prioritize is based on project/task value. When faced with two tasks at once, ask yourself which one is more profitable? When there are time limits, take the task that is more urgent to complete.
Make sure you and your team have best working conditions possible. You need a clean desk, working computer and fresh water :). You know what I mean. Find what works for you. Another important thing is to eliminate distractions: disturbing phone calls, instant messengers and noise are not part of effective working environment.
If you needed to remember just three things about web project management these would be:
- Create good project documentation.
- Learn how to communicate with your team.
- Use milestones and prioritize tasks.
Jakob Nielsens Top 10 Mistakes of Web Management. Although written in 1997 most of things are still very true. Worth reading!
Mindtools.com – is a great resource for time management and related issues. If you suffer from work overload, this site will surely help you. Gives solutions to common problems and provides tools for time management.
Real Web Project Management: Case Studies and Best Practices from the Trenches
by Thomas J. Shelford and Gregory A. Remillard
This book is very useful for website project managers who want to learn from real examples. Book covers basics of PM and presents whole process of managing a web project. I recommend it for beginners. CD included.