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Project Management for Web Based Initiatives

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Kelly Coulter

on 7 April 2014

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Transcript of Project Management for Web Based Initiatives

Background in commercial web development since 1999
Berkley-Fishing.com; AbuGarcia.com; PENNCustomShop.com
I want to see library websites become useful, usable, consolidated sources of information for all customers and prospective customers
Why am I here?
Start with Why
"Why" Statement
Goals & Objectives
Critical success factors
Gather requirements
Involve stakeholders
Commonly missed during this phase:
Mobile and tablet
Weed requirements using your 'Why' statement
Client's Mom
Recreating something that's already been done?
Everyone sings in the car, so everyone thinks they can sing. Hence the popularity of the American Idol audition rounds...
"Why does it cost so much? I would do it myself if I had the time..."
When is it a project?
"I could just put some 24 year old kid in a basement with a pizza and it would get done in two weeks!"
"Ah come on, you can get it done faster than that. I know it doesn't really take that long. I need it next week..."
And other boneheaded things people say about online projects
It's Simple...
Managing work in projects results in more successful products and less stress
Kelly Coulter
Richland Library
Managing Web-based Projects
"It's just like making a PowerPoint, right?"
However, everyone has also flown. If the product were an engine for a jet they would fly in - they would leave it to the experts.
Is it a Project or a Task?
A chunk of work containing only a few steps
One person can take ownership and get it completely done with minimal input
The lowest common denominator - it can't contain other tasks or projects

Involves several parties
Takes some time
Contains many tasks and can even contain other projects
VIrtual (Digital) Services Manager
Columbia, SC @KellyLCoulter kcoulter@richlandlibrary.com
You are throwing a dinner party

... right after work
A.) Fly by the seat of your pants
B.) Think it through and be prepared
(thereby ensuring something will get missed)
"Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. It's true for companies, and it's true for products" Steve Jobs
What about -
Changing a vendor or service?
Modifying a workflow?
Freshening up a homepage?
If you skip the Scope step:
Lack of a definitive "Why":
Guarantees scope creep
Starts you out at the "what" level with no inspiration ("Time to Make the Donuts...")
You have lost a critical opportunity to gather information and create buy-in with stakeholders
From "The Death of a Web Design" @ theOatmeal.com
The Plan connects the Scope (the "why") to the Executed product (the "what")
"Why" should filter through
Like turning the circle into a cone
Planning should take as long or longer than execution
From "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek
Get together
Have a kick off meeting
Talk about the 'Why'
Review the wireframe and overview documents
List, monitor, and collaborate on tasks
Basecamp (basecamp.com) or
Ace Project (aceproject.com) or
Sharepoint tasks
Start Planning for a High Impact Launch
Soft launch
Usability testing and collection of feedback
Load testing
Preview to public
Hard launch
If you skip the Planning:
You are setting up a "hurry up and wait" scenario for all involved
You won't be able to project completion dates
Pieces of the scope WILL get missed
Developers will duplicate each other's efforts and introduce unnecessary functionality
Even frat parties have some kind of plan. Have some pride!
Be available to your team at all times
The project manager is the bouncer - guard the scope and say NO!
Communicate with stakeholders constantly
Expect changes
Downhill skiing race

NOTE: make sure your plan includes time for stakeholders (check-ins and approvals)
Overview Document
Why Statement
Goals and Objectives
Critical Success factors
Dependencies, milestones & timelines
List of stakeholders
Participating vendors (along with a description of their respective roles)
The first part should help everyone understand what success in this project looks like
Identify the dependencies
Develop graphic timelines (I do this using Excel)
Now you're cooking - it's not the time to be running out to the store for groceries...
* 10 small projects grouped into phases is better than 2 large projects
The longer we work on something the more dissatisfied we become with the result
A small victory every few months creates a culture of execution
Requirements mutate with time
You will have more information to work with after you have launched Phase I
* Learn from each project through closure processes
"Hot wash" meeting
Document, follow up
There's always going to be clean up...
No boundaries access to all of the awesome things we do
... this could be a real goat rodeo ...
Option A
Option B
Think it Through
Document the scope
Separate needs from wants
Use a phased approach
Include exclusions
Write a budget
Get some tentative quotes
Get funded
"If I would have asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse" Henry Ford
but, don't get into the weeds
You can't just set it and forget it!
I am NOT a Project Manager
My Cause is:
Most time consuming piece for any one person involved in the project
(Figure out the menu, get your supplies)
Cut, chop, refrigerate
psst: Balsamiq has been know to donate user accounts to non-profits like libraries. Email them!
Simple - jumpchart (jumpchart.com)
More visual - Balsamiq Mock Ups (balsamiq.com)
These can also be done in creative software like Photoshop or Illustrator
Drupal Gardens (drupalgardens.com) for a quick simplified version of a planned site
Don't forget to show the wireframes to
stakeholders - you need their approval
Edited 4/6/14 - 946 visits before edits
Notes to accompany workshop at http://TinyURL.com/coulter-PMworkshop
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