It’s no big secret that a website project is a complex process, having multiple elements and multiple teams to co-ordinate, that’s why good project management is essential. The key is to have a comprehensive project plan in place from the outset. Here’s our 6 tips for how to successfully manage a web design project:

1) Project process

It’s essential to have a tried and tested project process in place from the start. We’ve been around for a while so ours is well tested, being based on 6 simple steps: Discovery, Planning, Content, Design, Implementation and Delivery – you can read more about our process here

2) Get a contract in place

Before project kick-off, we’d definitely suggest getting a detailed contract in place, this way you can be clear from the start what the project involves and have agreed milestones with the client and agreed stage payments linked to these. Our goal is to ensure that at no point in the process are our clients thinking ‘when will I see the first design?’,‘when do I need to feedback?’ or ‘when will I need to make payments?’.

3) Milestones

Once the contract is signed off, we suggest adding all the agreed milestones to a calendar. We use ‘Google Calendar’ for this and allocate every stage of the project to the team, that way everyone knows what they’ll be working on, and when, and what the delivery dates for each stage of the project are.

4) Checklists

We set up checklists for every stage of each project. These provide a complete breakdown of every element and the tasks that need to completed for each one, that way nothing gets missed and we know we’ve got everything covered.

5) Project management software

It’s a good idea to think about utilising project management software. For our web projects, we use “Basecamp”, this keeps all of our project communications in one place and it’s a great repository for project assets and resources. We use Basecamp from day one for all of our web design projects, inviting all the client’s team and everyone in ours. We keep in touch with our clients via Basecamp throughout the project and share links to the design as it progresses, making it clear when we need comments and approval and giving the client the opportunity to feedback either by posting their comments to Basecamp or having a catch up by phone, skype, as needed. Basecamp’s also a good place to keep ‘to-do’ lists, these can be set to be visible to the client or just internal notes for the team.

6) Communication

Keeping in touch with the team and the client throughout the project is vital to any project’s success. We use multiple ways of doing this:

  • – daily team updates/meetings: we always have a full team briefing before kick-off so everyone gets a good feel for the project and the objectives we need to achieve and the timescales we’ll be working to. We also have regular/daily discussions which sometimes may only last for a few minutes but ensure we keep on top of objectives and keep track of daily progress.
  • – project updates: we utilise Basecamp to post project progress and updates to our clients and make it clear when we’re looking for approval, comments and feedback.
  • – client meetings:these can be planned into the project milestones. They can be on or off-site, via skype or just a catch up on the phone, whatever is needed.

Good communication throughout every stage of the projects is essential for success. Our clients can speak directly to the designer or developer who’s actually working on their project so they’re fully versed in all the fine detail.

To conclude

There’s no doubt that there’s many elements and variables with every project and every client but if you’ve got a solid project plan in place and keep communication regular and useful all of your web projects will be enjoyable, successful and delivered on time!

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