Web Design Project Management for Startups
Why Project Management is key to a successful web design project
Project management can make or break your web design project – Whether it be due to poor
communication, poor briefing or a complete lack of understanding of your needs – Without great
project management, your website project could fall apart. The project management process starts before you agree a deal with your chosen web design agency. During your initial chemistry/briefing meetings with your web design agency the project management process starts there.
The web design agency that you work with will begin planning and mapping out your project during
the early meetings – They will be asking questions not just about your overall idea but also about the
nitty gritty functionality, third party APIs and likely challenging your ideas and way of thinking to try
and make your website the best that it can. Here are some of the things to look out for to ensure that poor project management doesn’t let your web design project down.
Process – What is the project management process that your web design agency goes through?
During your initial meeting with your agency you should ask them clearly to outline their process.
The process shouldn’t be overly complicated but it should include things such as: Who the project
manager is, how much of your time they will need pre-project to draw up a brief, what will the brief
look like, how will the design brief be drawn up, how will you leave feedback on your designs, how
will you communicate with your project manager and how will you deal with change orders to your
initial project brief? These are just some top-level questions that you should be asking to get a better understanding of the process you will go through. Your chosen agency will be able to introduce you to their project manager who will be able to answer these questions with compete ease and walk you through their process without any technical jargon.
Communication – A project manager and an account manager are two different roles within an
agency although often the lines between the 2 blur and your project manager may be
communicating with you instead of your account manager. An account manager typically deals with the top-level day to day communication, they will take you to lunch, see how your project is going, ensure you are happy and sell you other agency products that you may need. Depending on the size of the website design agency your project manager may communicate with you on a day to day basis and fire questions/calls over to you directly rather than your account manager.
Communication should be streamlined, and most agencies have a process in place for you to
communicate with your project manager directly whether that be via email, support ticket, phone or
some online project management software such as Basecamp to allow for communication and
change order tracking.
Adherence to time scales – One thing that can make your project fall apart at the seems and end up
costing you more money, if not by increasing your budget but by missing time lines and losing you
potential revenue, it’s due to missing deadlines and not meeting time scales. Your initial project brief should outline time scales and your agency should be confident in meeting them and be able to show how they can meet them rather than just show it. As part of your project proposal your web agency will outline specific timescales, breaking down the design stage, development stage and the individual elements of the development stage. To ensure that time scales are met your project manager will likely provide you with weekly reports that outline what work was completed that week, what the plan is for the following week and outlining if you are or aren’t on track time wise.
Great project management can really make your project go super smooth and bad project
management can make your project fall apart at the seems and end up costing you 3,4,5 times as
much money originally budgeted for your project.