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Have you ever tried to find a good “how to” article or a good strategy overview written for professional website managers?

I did. And I could find plenty of good stuff aimed at the “I love thinking about the Internet” set or the “I love cutting edge web technology” set. But very little at the “I am running a website group at a real company” set.

Although techie articles and pie-in-the-sky articles have their place, when you need real answers for real problems they just don’t give you what you need. You want actionable answers not down-in-the-dirt details or information about macro trends on the Internet.

So I set out to make a website that provides actionable answers to the questions that website managers ask on the topics that matter. Topics like:

  • Project Management finding big problems, coming up with solutions and mobilizing the teams to get the problem solved
  • Content Management slicing and dicing through requests for new web pages, getting the pieces together and getting it live without hiring a legion of web producers
  • Internet Marketing getting the folks to the site, getting them on the list, and then getting them through the funnel to sales or a shopping cart
  • Web Development developing the technology that makes it all possible

And while those are pretty big topics, they are the topics you deal with every day when you run a big-ish website. And if you hang with me, I am going to spill the good stuff I learned from doing this stuff myself.

The next question you are thinking is… who is this guy?

9 Things to Improve Your Next Project BEFORE It Starts

Improving a project after it starts is hard. You have already started down a path; expectations have been set and you’re committed.

But what if you started the project from a better place… a place where all your projects had less to do because the approach, techniques and guidelines were figured out, quality was assured, and the arguing stopped because you all shared the same vision.

If you could go to that place… it’s like every project would be set up for success before it even started. So how do you get to this place? Each step takes you a little closer to the Promised Land…
  1. Rationalize Your Project Selection Process – If there isn’t process to figure which project is next, well, which project is next? Lead a group of business folks and use a simple spreadsheet tool to rationalize this normally irrational process.
  2. Build a Website Project Roadmap – A high-level project schedule with enough detail to tell folks what is happening and when, is an amazingly powerful thing. The best use of an afternoon ever.
  3. Adopt a Time Boxed Project Strategy – If projects aren’t released regularly, heads will roll. But what if you delivered a project full of business value every couple of weeks, guaranteed? Try time boxing your projects to keep your head attached forever.
  4. Get Agile – Lightweight agile project methodologies are a natural fit with websites projects. Adopting an agile project methodology for your functional, design and content releases makes your team and website… um, more agile.
  5. Bugs – Track ‘em to Squash ‘em – It’s simple. If you don’t track bugs, they don’t get fixed. With tons of cheap hosted or onsite bug database options, there isn’t a reason not to have one.
  6. Revisit your Site Design Guide – You probably have a site design guide. Somewhere. And if it was up to date, maybe you could avoid that “I want my project to work completely different than the rest of the site” conversation again.
  7. Get on Board with the Branding Guidelines – I never get to own the brand. And every time I start wanting to change some brand treatment or anything having to do with the brand, I get slapped down. So instead of trying to do something cool with the brand, go with what the brand owner wants and live to argue about something you can actually change.
  8. Release a Release Checklist – Wouldn’t it be great if you could know when the project is ready to release instead of just guessing? Move the “it’s done” decision from gut-feel to science using a release checklist.
  9. Perfect Your Release Process – Getting content and functionality from the website group live on to the site reliably is a must. If your team can’t do it perfectly every time, then getting it perfected should be next on your to do list.
Now close your eyes and imagine that you had these things done. Do you think you would be in a better place... where it’s pretty darn near all good? I thought so. Now go make it happen.