Let’s recall a little from the first part of the article on project management in the web industry. Poor project management is the reason for the poor performance of over 50% of software products. The conclusion is that project management in the web industry is a key element for the development of complex solutions and customer satisfaction.
That is why we are already in part 2 and together we will look at the process from the start of a web project to its completion and maintenance. Let’s get started.
1. Set and meet customer expectations
Set and meet customer expectations. This will not only help you not to burden the team with work that you cannot do, but will also satisfy the other party.
The success of a project in the web industry depends on how well you set and meet expectations. With the team members, make sure they understand their responsibilities and how they are expected to perform and communicate during the project. With the customers, make sure they understand what you will deliver and the timeframe in which you will deliver it.
Once you have the base on which to build the foundation, always think about how to improve the project and make it a success for the company. The easiest way to determine the client’s expectations is at the initial meeting.
How to structure an initial meeting?
The kick-off meeting is an excellent opportunity to bring together all project stakeholders at the same time so that everyone understands what the project is about, what is expected of them and what the results will be.
There are a few steps you need to take before scheduling an initial meeting. First you need all the documentation: contract, brief, etc. It is easiest to have a template contract and brief, which you supplement and change together with the client.
Here is a sample template for an initial meeting that you can adapt to your projects:
- Project – Outline the problem and the proposed solution
- Scope of work – what your team can do and how far its capabilities are
- Workflow – breakdown of tasks, results and main stages
- Roles – who is responsible for what
- Questions and answers
In general, everyone should leave the meeting with a clear understanding of what the expected project will be, what will be its management and follow-up.
2. Appoint a project manager
One of the most effective ways to maintain customer-team satisfaction is to appoint a special project manager. This person will be the main point of contact between your team and the client. Here are some reasons why it is so important to have a project manager for project management in the web industry.
A good project manager can help you develop your business
It is very difficult to delegate responsibilities to another person, but with the growth of your company, it’s bound to happen. If you do everything yourself, talk to clients, monitor the work of the team, even upload content to the finished web product, at some point you will have no time to think about the development of the company.
For small teams, consider the colleague who has the deepest relationship with the client.
Maintaining small teams may mean that there may not be a clear project manager in the beginning. In these cases, the role of project manager usually falls to the person who has the most developed relationship with the client. The key approach in this situation is to enable each member of the team to do their part and make sure that the feedback from the customer is positive.
Good project managers are responsible for the following:
- Preventing project outages or performance errors, etc.
- Adding project deadlines
- Communication between the team and the stakeholder
Here are some useful links to communicate with different parties during project management.
For communication between the team and the client:
Design and programming:
- Figma— for team design projects. Best for designing, prototyping and generating code.
- GitHub— to share code with version control. Best for joint code iteration and development.
- Tuple— for remote programming by teams. Best for remote teams using the Apple operating system.
- monday.com—for full integration of projects with your business operations system, including the Shopify customer’s store. Best for teams that require a lot of application integration to keep their workflows streamlined.
- Wrike— for complete project control and version control. Very good for large teams with many tasks.
- Asana– the best workflow control, reporting and automation of repetitive tasks.
- G Suite– for a fully integrated digital work environment. Good for teams that want the whole activity to be in the cloud.
- Basecamp– for organized asynchronous communication and task management. It is best if you and the client are in different hours or part of your team works remotely.
- Trello —record tasks similar to Kanban. Best for a team with recurring tasks in projects.
- kanbanize – software for managing Kanban projects and tasks.
- Daily task monitoring and reality check meetings
Here are some key points to address during such meetings:
Scope: Have any results changed since the beginning of the project or since the last meeting?
Schedule: Is the project on schedule?
Budget: Are the costs proportional to the results already sent?
Quality: Are all stakeholders satisfied with the quality of the results so far?
Stakeholders: Have any roles, responsibilities, or stakeholders changed?
Risks: Does anyone experience challenges? Does anyone anticipate any potential obstacles?
3. Get stakeholder information at an early stage
You need to know exactly who will be actively involved in the project and what everyone’s responsibilities are. This also applies to the team, management and stakeholders or customers. Involving the right stakeholders during the planning process will distinguish good from bad.
As you schedule your project, here are six questions that will help you support your team throughout the project management process in the web industry:
- Who is responsible for each outcome?
- Who is the contact person for each result?
- Which member is the best at solving problems?
- What are some of the issues you see that could slow down the project?
- Are there any tools you need but don’t have?
- Do you have questions for the client?
4. Deal with workflow interruptions
The way you deal with workflow interruptions can make the difference between successful and unsuccessful project management in the web industry.
When a client does not respond or a team member is unexpectedly unable to deliver their work on time, it can be difficult to decide how is it best to proceed. But these work interruptions happen, so it’s important to be prepared and take action quickly. Let’s look at two common problems and how to actively prepare for work interruptions:
What to do when the client does not respond
When the client does not respond, this can lead to long delays in the rest of the project, as in other projects on which the team works. It can be a challenge to readjust work if customers fail to provide key assets, feedback or guidance.
Here’s what to do when a customer doesn’t respond.
- Call him right away
- Choose the most appropriate type of communication (email, phone, video chat, etc.)
- Keep the tone friendly and professional
- Be aware of what you need
- Indicate what happens if you do not communicate actively by the deadline
- Include the role clause and responsibilities in the contract
- Make sure that in case of delay caused by the client, additional payments are charged
What to do when a team member or contractor cannot deliver his work on time
It is rare for a team member not to deliver his work on time. However, it is important to prepare if another member of the team needs to take on responsibilities.
With good documentation and monitoring of the work process, it is very easy for another member to take over from where the first one stopped. Here are some quick steps on how to cover the work of a team member if they fall behind or leave:
Your action in steps when a teammate can’t complete a task on time:
- Talk to your team to see who can cover the person who can’t deliver your work on time.
- Overestimated the workload of the team. What can be withheld or rescheduled?
- Redistribute the work to another person – share with them any relevant documentation or partially completed materials.
- Inform your client if there are delays or a change in the contact person – always keep them informed.
Be okay with the changes!
In a perfect world, all your web projects will go according to plan. But the reality is that uncertainty and change are part of any web project: results can be delayed, priorities can be adjusted, and customers can change their minds. Project management in the web industry is fraught with change at every level.
Even if you’re working on a project similar to something you’ve done with the team before, there are a lot of variables that can happen. Hope for such customers, but most likely there will be none.
If you learn how to accept change with a smile, not only you but also your team, will be more proactive and prepared if something goes wrong. With each project you embark on, keep looking for opportunities to improve workflows, automate processes, and incorporate strategic redundancies into systems.
This way, what was once a major problem is now becoming a slight inconvenience.