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Ramblings on web design process October 26, 2013

Posted by Edwin Ritter in E-Commerce, Project Management.
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You know the phrase “It’s great when a plan comes together”? It strikes me as odd that we are surprised when the results of planning using a consistent process yields what we expect. That’s the purpose of a plan. Perhaps from experience we know that a plan and process don’t always match reality.

I found this infographic a while ago and posted it to Slideshare (shameless unintended plug). It is a useful visual to show the end to end process in plan, design and build phases of a website. From project to project, the actual timing can vary widely from what is shown. Factors such as scope and complexity, cost and resources will drive the actual durations. This graphic is useful in guiding the conversation with teams and clients alike. During status updates, it’s useful to ensure everyone understand which phase we are in. It helps set expectations and also show what’s next.

However, I’ve found that some phases are not optimized, like reviews and approvals. Reviews and approvals tend to take much more time than we expect. That makes project management interesting. How do you account for extended review cycles without impacting the delivery date? What makes it more fun is some client adding new features during the reviews. Call it scope creep. I’m sure they realize it will change the end date.  Simple math, really. More features = more time.

Following the plan takes rigor and discipline. Flexibility also helps when reality hits. Keep your plan together. Sorting out the impact to the plan and getting everyone to agree can be a daily task for project managers. I always preface updates to clients with the phrase “I don’t make the news, just report it.”  So, don’t be surprised. Expect the results you plan on.

It is great when a plan comes together. That’s why you use a process to make it happen.

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