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13 Sep 21

Web Design Process – Our Project Workflow Steps For Website Development Success

Julian Chan | Web Agency Life

Heard the line, businesses who fail to plan, plan to fail?

Successful projects, big or small often share 2 common denominators, a structured process and project management. A project consists of a set of tasks (with set processes) which need to be completed on time and in order to procure a desired deliverable or outcome, be it the build of a house or a new website.

Must haves for successful task completion:

  • Clear awareness of all the inputs required for each task
  • Having the right tools, resources and techniques needed to complete them
  • Clearly defined outputs
  • Well defined process to perform the work

Who can ensure a project or task is completed successfully?

A dedicated and experienced project manager. In fact, organisations that invest in proven project management practices waste 28x less money because more of their strategic initiatives are completed successfully (Source: CIO). Project management responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the project runs within the proposed timelines and budget
  • Being fully across the scope of the project and the corresponding tasks within it
  • Understanding dependencies of tasks in order to prioritise and order tasks to create the project plan
  • Document clearly the inputs, tools and outputs required to reach deliverables
  • Communicate well and clearly to manage resources and people effectively

Why is this necessary?

Structured processes and project management ensures realistic and proper expectations are set around what can be delivered by when and for how much. It sets up a team with a plan to follow through and execute a project with transparency in costs, risks, resources and timelines with no rude shocks along the way.

Scalability – if it’s important for your business to replicate this project again and again. Standardising your processes will allow you to grow your operations faster and more efficiently.

Manageable – When scope and deliverables are clearly defined, tasks and dependencies ordered efficiently, resources utilised well, a project becomes easier to manage. There will be less chance of scope creep, budget blow-outs or missed deadlines due to detailed planning.

Low risk – Detailed quality control processes and time allowances catered to ensuring this increases the assurance of a high-quality result in line with the original proposal

Predictability – Rollercoaster experiences belong in theme parks and jump scares in horror movies. You want stability and predictability when it comes to a business project. Detailed processes and good management leans on the learnings of past projects to ensure a project runs as smoothly as possible. Following a recipe to cook a complicated dish would surely give you a lot more confidence than guesstimating each step on the way.

Case studies of what happens when you don’t plan well

Knight Capital lost $440 million within 30 minutes in 2012

(Source: Henrico Dolfing)

Financial services firm, Knight Capital was recruited to work on new code for an SEC program. However, in order to meet a tight deadline, they went to production with test code. After production, a glitch within the code ended up costing the company $440 million within the first 30 minutes of trading. Company stock fell by 75% in just 2 days.

This could have been avoided if they had not cut corners in skipping crucial QA testing tasks or if they had reset their unrealistic deadlines.

$6.1 billion dollars lost in making the Airbus A380 in 2008

(Source: Calleam)

Constructing the world’s largest commercial aircraft was no mean feat. It required various production teams across the globe to work together on different parts of the plane. Things seemed to be going smoothly, until installation. They realised the parts designed by different teams didn’t fit together, because they had used different CAD design programs. This cost the company $6 billion dollars to fix and delayed the completion by a further 2 years.

The missing project management jigsaw piece in this dilemma was good communication and management of resources and tools across the project teams. Good communication has soared in importance, since 2020, due to an increase in remote work as a result of the COVID pandemic.

How do we ensure a successful web project?

2 things, and it’s not rocket science or a magic trick. It’s simply an experienced and dedicated project manager who stays on the job from start to finish and a detailed, fool-proof process framework. As a study highlights, companies that implement processes have a 280% higher success rate on their projects (95%) versus those that don’t (25%). (Source: process.st)

When it comes to building a website that launches in line with a proposed marketing campaign, meets the business goals and looks good, our project managers simply ensure every box in our process list is ticked. Within each of our standard web projects, we have 7 crucial bases (or milestones) that consist of an ordered set of processes.

The Chromatix process tailored for web projects:

  • Analysis & Scoping
  • UX and Wireframing
  • Design
  • Development
  • Quality Assurance & Testing
  • Deployment
  • Post-launch Support

Process frameworks are never final or set in stone. Good project management involves identifying, refining and tightening up operations and processes, from recognition of inefficiencies or consulting with specialists on the utilisation of new techniques or technologies.

Not every agency will do it, as detailed project management and process documentation are internal operations that cost internal dollars. However we recognise its worth, the peace of mind we can provide our clients, and the increased value we can instill in our projects so it’s not an area we will ever skimp on.

With 11 years of experience in digital, we strengthen our process frameworks with proactive learnings from hundreds of unique web projects, active listening to our digital team along with our valued clients, retrospective analysis of each project following launch and agile implementation of new processes.