Lecture 5

Lecture 5

Class 5:  Introducing Web Project Management to Your Organization

Readings: Lecture
•    Strategies for introducing Web Project Management to your organization
•    Web Project Management Tools

What you will learn in lesson 5:
1.    Why your organization might resist using Web Project Management
2.    5 strategies for gaining support for implementing Web Project Management in your organization
3.    Circulate lessons learned and create expectation that progress might require a bit of patience
4. How to choose the right Web Project Management software for your organization

In classes 3 and 4 we examined essential techniques Web Project Manager use to keep projects on track, their teams motivated and to continually improve the efficiency and professionalism of their teams.

In this lesson we will discuss how to introduce Web Project Management to an organization that is not using a Web Project Manager or an organization that is not using a formal Web Project Process.

Introducing Web Project Management to Your Organization
People are often wary of change so if your organization has been running Web sites without a Web Project Manager in the absence of a Web process, the introduction of a process must be done with care. The sudden requirement of listing tasks, estimating times to complete tasks and having daily meetings where developers and designers have to discuss what they have accomplished, what they are working on today and what needs to be completed, will not necessarily go over well. Web team members, executives and previous clients/stakeholders have to be convinced that introducing a Web Project Management process will improve results for them.

This requires the Web Project Manager to address concerns. Here are some of the top worries that will prevail:

•    Having to fill out a bunch of forms will increase the time to deliver a project
•    Taking the time to estimate task activities will increase the time to deliver a project
•    Having to prepare a formal Project Brief (or Creative Brief) will delay start of project
•    Charts will be used in performance evaluations
•    Tracking time to complete tasks will be used in performance evaluations
•    Every little change request will result in an excuse to delay the project launch
•    Great ideas will be discouraged because of desire to avoid changes
•    Mistakes will be highlighted and used to fire people

I’m sure you can think of your own reasons the team, executives and stakeholders might resist a formal process. My favorite by the way is when a VP told me we were too busy to implement a Web Project Management process.

So, how do you convince everyone that a Web Project Management process would reduce costs, allow projects to be conducted more efficiency and increase the chance of meeting deadlines and staying within budget?

1. Ask the Web team for their ideas on how to reduce the stress of producing Web projects. No one likes having to work long hours, and weekends all the while having the client, account manager and executives leaning hard to get the project done by an arbitrary launch date. When the launch date is chosen independent of the tasks to be accomplished and a list of tasks compiled without research conducted on the time to do the tasks the organization sets itself up for failure. Sure, maybe the first time around everyone pitches in an makes a deadline that should never have been set but after the first few projects, the team knows that the organization is mismanaging the process.

During the discussions with the Web team about how to improve the way you handle projects, talk about the advantages of a Web Project Management process that everyone understands. Emphasize how a Web Project Management process will reveal when the feature set is too large to accommodate the deadline. You’ll have a receptive audience.

2. Present your proposal to introduce a Web Project Management process to whoever in the organization can grant approval for changes in how projects are conducted. Focus the presentation on the predictability of completing the project and the improved accuracy of quotes/budgets.

Review the problems with a past project and how introducing Web Project Management techniques would have avoided some or all of the problems. Consider bringing in a Web Project Manager from another organization or a local college, a consultant or an outside vendor who knows your organization well to discuss the benefits of Web Project Management, including cost savings, predictable delivery dates, improved reputation with clients/stakeholders due to time for testing and improved quality. If you know someone at the level of the person you are talking to who can address their experience going to a Web Project Management process, all the better.

3. Once you get approval for using a Web Project Management process, introduce things gradually.
Start by explaining the Web Project Management process you are going to implement. Get feedback on the process. You’ll be building acceptance of the change as the team gets excited about the possibility of achieving more.

It is important that the team feel they are part of the process. Listen to their comments and encourage some brainstorming as ways of improving on your initial ideas.

Recommend that the organization start using the following minimal documents:
Project Brief, Project Specification, Project Closing document

If you are already using these documents or once everyone is comfortable with the first three documents then introduce other documents that can help your process stay on track, such as the Communication Plan, the Risk Management Plan and the review process or Closing Plan (page 79 in the book, location 1518 in the e-book.)

4. Bring in an outside speaker
Many organizations only have one Web Project Manager. If you run into opposition you might need help. Consider bringing in outside help to reinforce your claims that a Web Project Management process will improve the efficiency and success of your Web projects. Outside help can be found among:
•    Other Web Project Managers.
•    Among LinkedIn connections
•    Web Project Managers working for trusted vendors you deal with
•    Web Project Managers (or Web Service Directors or VPs of Digital Marketing) you meet at conferences
•    Web Project Management Consultants or Web Project Manager author or even the Web Project Manager that works for a client

5. Signup for a Web Project Management Webinar and invite everyone to a lunch time online presentation that analyzes a case study of the difference Web Project Management made for an organization similar to yours. (Almost every Project Management vendor offers one.)

How to choose the right Web Project Management software for your organization:

Many organizations manage their projects with Google docs, Excel sheets and DropBox, but as your organization and team grow and the projects you manage get more complex with possibly more teams, you might need a more comprehensive solution. Comprehensive typically costs money. The important thing to remember when you start looking for Web project management is you need three things to successfully use Web Project Management solutions:

1) Support from the executive level of your organization

2) A well defined Web Project Management process

3) Acceptance (and even enthusiasm) from the team members who will be using the software. If the solution doesn’t make their job easier or their work more professional, then the software can easily turn into a very expensive email system – that no one uses.

Here are some articles to read on Choosing a Web Project Management solution for your organization:

>”How to Choose the Right Project Management Software” Web Based Software
http://www.web-based-soft.com/how-to-choose-the-right-project-management-software/

“11 Tips to Get the Most Out of Project Management Software” CIO.com
<http://www.cio.com/article/718387/11_Tips_to_Get_the_Most_Out_of_Project_Management_Software”

This article is from 2009, but the tips are still good so I’m including it:

“How to choose the right project management software?” Publicado el marzo 20, 2009 por Alberto Dominguez, PMP
http://www.simpleprojectz.com/2009/03/choose-right-project-management-software/

There are a lot of Web Project Management Software solutions available. Choosing one depends on the size and complexity of your team; your budget and your needs. (Remember your needs might change over time. Changing software will be disruptive so try and choose a solution that will accommodate your growth.)

One decision you will need to make is whether to utilize a group of tools (this usually costs less and is for less complicated project needs) or whether to go with a more extensive solution that will most likely be expensive, accommodate growth, take longer to install and have greater training requirements.

Web Project Management Tools [for Design and Development Teams]:

 Lighthouse – Free – $100/month depending on plan [http://lighthouseapp.com/plans] Features: bug- and issue-tracking; timeline tracking ; milestones, email integration; ticket handling and prioritization; beta testing management.

Springloops – Free – $200/month depending on plan [http://www.springloops.com/v2/plans.php] Features: easy to use. Tabbed navigation, Starter templates. Works with Basecamp.

CreativePro Office – Free (nice if you are a startup.) Tabbed navigation, calendar with upcoming events, project list handles outstanding invoices, notes and search functionality. Project creation, Client tracking and can be used as a simple CRM program.

Basecamp – $20/month and up.[http://basecamp.com/pricing] Great communication tool. Not complicated but no customization. You have to run your projects their way.

 

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