By: Amanda Eichmann – Bayshore Solutions Project Management Team
In my last post I wrote about how project management goes well beyond executing project tasks. Since then, I have celebrated over a year on Bayshore Solutions’ Project Management team executing tasks, building partnerships and everything in between. What I’ve learned the most is that you never stop learning and are always adapting with each new partner and website. Below are seven lessons I’ve learned and how we and our partners can learn from them moving forward.
1. Don’t Forget Your Target Audience
It’s easy to get lost in all the details, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to not forget about your audience. Your website should be designed in such a way that a customer or potential customer can get to the information they are looking for quickly and make it clear and easy for them to act. Consider the top three reasons they are on your website and the top three actions you want them to take and don’t lose sight of them. It should be equally clear for people to leave feedback and get in touch with you in such a way that they will get a response within a business day.
2. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Business Goals
Going hand-in-hand with lesson #1, it’s important to remember your website is a marketing tool in your overall marketing plan and to not lose focus on the big picture. When considering the necessary elements of your site, ensure they are aligned with your key marketing objectives and plan. This includes identifying your key performance indicators early and planning your website around how to best achieve and maximize your ROI.
3. Ask the Right Questions
As I previously wrote about envisioning together, a key activity in the process is asking the right questions. At Bayshore Solutions, we use an Account Profile to help guide the conversation with you as we review these questions. As important as it is to ask the right questions, it’s equally important to keep asking and keep an open dialogue. We may have the knowledge and experience to ask most of the questions, however, you know your business best, so it’s important that both of us understand the complexities we need to consider and plan for.
4. Remember There Will Be Discoveries
As we continue to ask questions and learn from one another, know this process will open our eyes to many business messaging, processes and opportunities moving forward. No matter how much planning we do, you can’t avoid discoveries and it’s easy to get lost in larger plans and ideas than what was originally discussed and scoped. Be prepared to be flexible, focus and prioritize together.
5. Don’t Default to Custom Development
If you have a clear idea of specific functionality or a tool to use on your site, first consider if there is already an existing tool you can use and save on hours of custom development. Saving the time will not only help your budget, but also help avoid excessive maintenance in the future. Many content management systems have enough out-of-the-box technology to accomplish more than you think. Do some research first and ask yourself, do you really need a custom registration tool- or can you use an existing service like Eventbrite first and take feedback/data to better plan from there?
6. Know When to Get Stakeholder Buy-in
Since your website is an essential tool in your overall marketing plan, there will most likely be key stakeholders who want to ensure the website is aligned with the overall business strategy and plan throughout the process. While it may not be necessary to have them sign-off on every detail, it’s important that they are involved in the key milestones and the project doesn’t get too far without their buy-in. The wireframe process may not be the best time, but once the design is applied to the layout, it may be a good time to get sign-off before beginning the build.
7. Appreciate the Process
Although it may sound good to cut some corners for the sake of time and budget, there is a method to all the madness. Having a process in place is vital for the checks and balances of the website. There are key players including: designer, marketer, front-end/UI/UX developer, back-end programmers and IT who bring their expertise and checklists to cover all the bases. Each perspective is unique and important to review and consider before a website is officially launched.
If you are interested in learning and growing together, partner with Bayshore Solutions and grow with us today!
What are some important lessons you’ve learned while planning and executing website development? Please share in the comments below!