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?

Rationalize Your Project Selection Process

Bursting into my office a co-worker started ranting, "This is completely [expletive deleted] irrational. Why, the [expletive deleted], are we redesigning the press release section, again, when we could make a ton of money making user access to the support site require a maintenance contract?"

I agreed. It was completely irrational. Why would we do a low impact project now and defer the high impact project until later? Wasn’t that completely backwards?

And this was part of a larger problem. Our project to-do list was filled with every project that anyone ever dreamed up. And it seemed like all the pet projects from the politically powerful were at the top of the list and the high impact project languished, undone at the bottom.

Even though we had gotten good at executing projects, our ability to select the right projects to execute sucked.

What we needed was a rational project selection process.

We needed a process that would rate the impact of each project so we could objectively compare them. We needed a process that would separate the high impact projects we should fast track for implementation from the lower impact projects we should defer. A process that would reject the very low value projects before they got on the project list. And this process should objective reducing the chance of folks talking low impact, pet projects on to the list as well.

Yeah, that’s it. Good-bye politics. Hello rational decision.

So if this situation sounds at all familiar, you are wondering, “what’s the fix? I have this problem too”. We implemented a decision matrix process. And after some work implementing in our organization, it actually worked. Rationality broke out all over our project selection process. It was great.

A decision matrix works by turning the total benefit of a project into a numeric score. But instead of launching into bunch of techno-babble describing how it works, it’s going to be easier to understand if we just walk through an example.