How can you ensure you don’t miss any critical steps in your website design and development process? In this article, we outline the essentials for website project management, step-by-step.
Becoming a web creator is getting harder with each passing year. A checklist for a website project management plan is essential for productive web creators (And, that’s you!). So, you’re ready to start your website project. Your first question may be, “How do I write a web development plan?”
Too many developers and designers initiate the process without taking the time to devise a proper plan. Any time you begin creating a website, it’s vital to divide your time wisely for planning (two-thirds) and execution (one-third) to actually save you time and effort in the long run.
There’s a tremendous amount of work to do, and you need to manage the requirements of the project from the client. You’ve got to coordinate the client’s demands with your team (developers, designers, writers) that can help you deliver successful websites faster and more efficiently.
I’ll outline the essentials for website project management and how to match the complexity of your plan to the complexity of the project. Together, these factors will set you up for success.
In any case, whether you’re starting from scratch or just taking over, you want a creative direction. The following checklist will start your web development project right with a higher success rate.
How Do You Plan a Web Development Project?
When designing a great website, often people build something aesthetically pleasing and forget that the website also achieves your business goals.
This is crucial for the development of any website project. You need to have a strategy that focuses on identifying the business objectives and building tactics to accomplish them.
With the help of this article, you won’t fall into this trap. I’ll demonstrate how having a step-by-step process for a website can organize your thoughts, actions, and speed up the overall process. Let’s get started:
1. Collect Information: Purpose, Goals, and Target Audience
When you build a website, you need to know what the specifics are and have a clear understanding of what the future finished site should look like. Here’s a little groundwork. Consider the following:
There you have it. Different websites have different purposes: some sell products, others convey specific information, while others still are for entertainment or ecommerce.
A person comes with different needs, looking to solve different problems. Look for what you are specifically trying to accomplish by building this website — make money or share information.
- Target Audience
“Start with the end in mind” and know which specific group of people will help you reach your goals. Know the ideal person you’re talking to, what they care about, and what functionality they expect. Give thought to how each user section will interact with the website — this will help determine the best style for your site.
2. Quit Using Email to Discuss Projects and Report Status
Email is simply not a productive way to keep track of your to-dos. Using emails to track the progress of projects will inevitably produce a big mess. Surely you have experienced a constant influx of emails, how threads pile up on top of each other, and new tasks add up where each one is more urgent than the last, making it impossible to track project-related information.
Luckily, there are project management tools that can capture all your tasks in one cloud-based space and take care of all your to-do list issues. It makes it quick for your remote or in-house teams to track tasks without going back and forth between emails.
Moreover, when you have to loop someone else from your team into the project, these tools are designed to keep everyone on the same page to track project statuses, create task visualization, set milestones, and meet deadlines effectively.
3. Keep the Design Organized: Page Layouts, Review, and Approval Cycle
It’s time to lay out the look and feel of the website. Because no one wants to waste time and energy re-doing it. You can draft a non-functional version (prototype) for your client to see what the final product will look like.
Using a layout you can create the structure, visualize the content, and get an overview of the basic functionality. It provides a general understanding of the final website, including colors, logos, images, and the overall feel.
Further, the client will send you feedback after the review process. The cycle keeps on repeating until the client is completely satisfied with all design aspects. The whole process of review and approval can be a challenge; therefore, designers and developers make use of a proofing tool to make it easy to have revision until the final approval.
4. Checking the Development: Framework and Functionality
Arrange everything that will be needed to implement the project. Take a strategic approach to keep code organized to avoid any hassles as you go.
- Build a development framework
If you’re using Ruby on Rails or a content management system or any framework, implement it and get it running. Thousands of developers are using Elementor to design great looking pages for their site, further extending the functionality.
- Develop and test interactivity
Before you add the static content, take care of this. Some developers like to get forms and validation up at this stage as well.
- Fill with content
Upload all the content provided by the writer giving careful attention to detail.
- Verify links and functionality
Walkthrough every single page you built and make sure everything is in working order.
5. Milestones and Meetings
Milestones are a powerful component in project management because it shows the key events and maps forward movement in your plan. It shows more than just progress. Set the most important events of your web development as milestones on a Gantt chart software, easily viewable and mapped by the project team.
Ask yourself these questions if you are not sure what your milestones are.
- Is this a deliverable or a task?
- How does this impact the final deadline?
- Will this progress the project?
- Will this event impact the project?
Create weekly milestones and have daily/weekly team meetings or clients to show your progress. In case there are no milestones and discussions, you will end up delaying the project delivery.
6. Follow Up: A Clear Communication Line
There are many things subject to change on the roadmap to app development. Some things may not work, but it’s good to be clear on how you construct schedules and how they assign priorities.
After you finish your development plan, make sure you have a clear communication line for the follow-up. The better your lines of communication, the fewer surprises. Some methods of improving your communication are:
Start Queries: Put forward questions about how everyone on the team approaches their work and see if they connect to the idea of a roadmap. Ask them questions like:
- How do you prioritize your tasks?
- What are the things you plan on?
- What potential challenges do you expect?
What’s Next: It is best to go hand-in-hand with your client to understand future expectations. Ideally, keep your client in the loop about what is expected and what will come next. You and your team should have a clear idea for better planning and troubleshooting problems.
Bonus Tip: Website Project Management Software
Although businesses can hire the best developers to handle different projects who have the best ideas and strategies for the development of a website, the right toolset can increase efficiency.
Here’s a roundup of the most useful ones:
- Flock — for team communication
- ProofHub — for project management
- Zoom — for video conferencing
- PomoDoneApp — for time tracking
- Timetastic — staff leave planner
The list of tools and the checklist mentioned above will help you stay on track and ensure you don’t miss any critical steps in your website development. Keep in mind that the website development project should follow the above checklist and doesn’t just start with coding and end with the final launch of your website. This will save you from unexpected troubles and have full control over your project.
Hopefully, this article provided you with information to smoothly develop your website. If you have any strategies, share them with us in the comments below.
* The author of this article is affiliated with ProofHub.