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?

How to Use a Decision Matrix for Website Project Selection

In this example, we will make decision matrix and then use it to evaluate the “press release redesign” and “support site requires maintenance contract” from the "Rationalize Your Project Selection Process” article.

1. Make an impact driver chart – First, we need to make a list of different project impact drivers we want to measure. Revenue gain, costs savings and strategic value are things that clearly drive any project’s impact. And there are tons of other benefits we could add. But to keep it simple just add website usability improvements and availability of funding for the project.

Impact Drivers for Website Project Selection Decision Matrix

2. Assign ranges for each impact driver – To make scoring consistent and remove as much debate from how each impact driver should be scored as possible, give each impact driver a series of ranges for their possible values. Then we assign each range a score of 0, 1, 3 or 5.

Impact Driver Scores for Website Project Selection Decision Matrix

3. Weight each impact driver - Each impact driver offers a different amount of benefit to a project - revenue increases of real money is a lot bigger indication of project impact than funding availability for instance - so we want to weigh each impact driver differently. Think of each impact driver weight as a percentage of the whole project impact; We want the total weight to equal 100%.

Weighted Impact Drivers for Website Project Selection Decision Matrix

4. Make the decision matrix – Now that we have set up our impact driver chart, we need to make the decision matrix itself.

Website Project Selection Decision Matrix

5. Score your projects – This is the fun part. "Press Releases Redesign" project has funding and improves usability but doesn't add revenue, reduce costs or even have strategic value. But the "Support Site Requires Maintenance Contract " project increases revenue, has some strategic value but is a little short on funding.
Our scores, as computed using the impact driver chart, go in the score column. The weighted score is the score times the weight from the impact driver chart. Then we total up the weighted scores to get the projects total impact score.

Scored Website Projects in a Project Selection Decision Matrix

6. Bask in the brilliance of it – Now it’s clear that the “press release redesign” project doesn’t pack the impact of the “Support Site Requires Maintenance Contract” project. And our decision matrix will work for every project that comes our way. Nice.

But before you rush off and slam this process into your organization, it's important to note that getting good organizational results can be tricky. Here are a few tips on organizational roll out for your website project roadmap.