Project management in web development
When developing websites, online shops, blogs, web portals or apps, a structured project management should not be missing. It does not matter whether you carry out the implementation yourself or with the help of an Internet agency.
What is the significance of project management in web development?
Project management is essential for larger web projects. Because often several people or service providers work on one project. Structured project management ensures a smooth web development process. It ensures that a project is completed on time, as all steps are planned in advance and the necessary information and human resources are available at the right time.
Many web agencies work with modern project management methods and tools. On the one hand, it helps them to organize their own workflows and, on the other hand, they can provide the customer with optimal information about the status of the web project at any time.
The project team for web development
Often the project team consists of the project manager, project manager and developers, web designers, etc. .
Project manager on customer side: He leads the development of the web project in the company.
Project manager on agency side: For the project manager he is the contact person in the web agency and coordinates the tasks in the agency. The project manager works closely with the developers. Together they compile a requirement specification from the requirement specification.
Developers: You technically implement the requirements from the specifications.
Web designer: you create the basic layout and the necessary graphics
Webmaster: In web agencies, webmasters build the systems on which the web application is to run.
A project team can, of course, include other specialists in addition to the above-mentioned persons. The project team is optimally assembled for web development based on the size and requirements of the project.
Perhaps you are wondering why there is a project manager on the agency side if you would like to have a content management system, an online shop or an online portal developed. In addition you must know that particularly with technical details much can be misunderstood (transmitter-receiver principle). Sometimes a "translator”; is needed who defines the customer’s wishes in a concept in such a way that a developer can implement this optimally and efficiently.
Customer: "My online shop should be optimized for search engines. "
Developer: "Okay, there are several SEO factors. Which onsite factors should be considered and how?”;
Project manager: "I work out an onsite SEO concept and coordinate it with the client and our developers”;
Phases in project management
Project definition: In the specifications you define what your content management system, your online shop, your online community or your app should achieve and what you want to achieve with it.
Project planning: In the planning phase, the project team is put together, deadlines are set, costs are planned, etc. In this phase, the web agency will create a requirement specification based on your specifications, in which all technical details are defined in order to implement the web project according to the customer’s wishes.
Project implementation: In this phase, layouts are coordinated and the web application programmed.
Project control: A project control takes place during the entire course of the project in order to react to deviations from the planning. The final control is provided by the test phase. Here the system is put through its paces and all functions are tested.
Project completion: The completion of the project is the launch / live run of the web application.
Project management tools for web applications
Structured project management includes tools that help you with planning and implementation.
Web agencies work with a so-called ticket system or issue tracking system. There are many ticket systems.
Known ticket systems are
Bugzilla – Freeware
Jira – fee required
MantisBT – Freeware
OpenProject – Freeware
Redmine – Freeware
ScrumDo – cost-intensive
trello – Freeware
trac – Freeware
VersionOne – free basic version
The functions of the tools are very similar: The entire project is divided into individual tickets. These are assigned to a person and prioritized. Comment functions are used to exchange information and define details. Attachments can be attached to each ticket. The individual tickets are organized via Status. Statuses can then be, for example, "For acceptance”;, "Confirmation”; or "Released”;. Ticket systems help to control and document the flow of information.
Bureaucracy in project management
This article may read a bit bureaucratic and to be honest, project management for web applications is bureaucratic. And from my experience, the structured process and documentation of all information and decisions in project management are very important and decisive for success. Too much information is lost when appointments and decisions are made in person. Or partial requests in e-mails can go back and forth between customer and agency. An e-mail is not read correctly or is lost in everyday stress. Afterwards the trouble is big and nobody wants to be to blame. This creates a bad mood on both sides and can lead to a scandal.
But of course you don’t have to do every web project as described in the article. Small projects with few individual requirements do not have to be handled via coordinated project management with Ticket-System & Co. But then record all requirements and appointments in writing.
Tips from experts to a professional agency pitch, some tips for the project management of web projects.
What are the decisive success factors in project management of web projects?
Answer: I am convinced that by far the most important factor is communication: very often projects get into trouble because the communication between client and implementation team is disturbed in some way. The communication tasks of the project manager include understanding the customer’s requirements, preparing them for the team and keeping the customer up to date on the development status in detail at all times. In my opinion, the next step should be structuring: The project manager should be able to structure the information from the customer at any time, but also the information from the project team, in order to maintain a uniform database for all project participants. Agile methods like Scrum help in both fields: They provide a structure for the project flow and define communication channels between the project participants. However, the consistent application of the method must be supported by the entire team.
In your opinion, when is it worth using ticket systems and when not?
Answer: I am a great advocate of ticket systems and always pursue the vision of completely dispensing with e-mail in projects. Of course, this always remains a vision, but it helps to discipline oneself. I recommend using a ticket system for every project. For very small projects, the prerequisite is of course that a ticket system already exists. However, it is also possible to fall back on systems that are available ad hoc as SaaS: For very small projects the free trello is sufficient in case of doubt, for larger projects you should have a look at Jira, ScrumDo or VersionOne, which already provide powerful tools for the organization of agile projects.
How should web agencies react when new or changed requirements get the effort and costs out of control?
Answer: We hold it like this: If a change in the requirements does not influence the already implemented part of the product and if the change does not result in any additional costs, the implementation can be carried out without any additional costs. If the change results in additional costs, the customer can decide whether to reduce other parts that have not yet been implemented or whether to increase the budget accordingly. We inform the customer directly about the effects of his requirement changes and demand a corresponding decision from him. Agile methods always start from such changes and offer their own processes in order to handle them confidently.
And how should customers react if the agency’s cost estimates do not apply and costs are considerably higher?
Answer: "The customer should ask the service provider to precisely identify the causes of the misjudgement or the cost explosion. The possible solutions must be as individual as the causes can be. In principle, in the case of fixed price offers, the customer can assume that he will receive the agreed service at the agreed price. Nevertheless, he cannot invoke this alone in the case of apparently unrealistic offers. If the price is considerably lower than that of competitors or comparable projects, the client must assume that the service provider did not understand the task correctly. In this case, the client, as a proper businessman, must also fulfil due diligence obligations. In this context, agile methods at least ensure that no unlit corners can arise in the project in which unnoticed expenses arise that are disproportionate to the respective business value.
The project management helps you and the web agency with a structured process of your web project. The larger a project is and the more individual your requirements are, the more important project managers on the agency side and tools such as ticket systems are. In addition, all information and decisions are documented in one place.