Small Project Success
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The typical 500 lb. gorilla of web projects in higher education is the complete campus-wide redesign and CMS implementation – but what about all the little 10 lb. monkeys? Yes, you know what I’m......

The typical 500 lb. gorilla of web projects in higher education is the complete campus-wide redesign and CMS implementation – but what about all the little 10 lb. monkeys? Yes, you know what I’m talking about. Those little monkeys that jump on your back every time someone walks into your office and says, ‘Hey, I have this idea for a website!’
Completely overhauling your main website may be an all-consuming task for nine months every four years, but the smaller projects in between are just as important and there are many more of them. For example, maybe…
you have a research institute that needs a new website to reach their unique faculty peer and professional association audiences.
you need to build and launch a microsite for admissions–quickly–to boost yield in the incoming class.
you need a blog aggregation site, or a social media campaign hub, or a campus anniversary celebration site, or any number of others.
Or maybe it isn’t the project that is small — maybe you work in a small team. Maybe you are even one of the many ‘Armies of One‘ out there who have to do it all – web content management, social media, html/css, wireframing, usability testing, and more – and now you’re being tasked with tackling that 500 lb. relaunch gorilla – hm, that might hurt a bit.
Are you nodding your head? Does this sounds familiar? Well then you should come to our next mStoner webinar on small team and small project strategy and success. mStoner strategist Fran Zablocki will share his experiences working in higher education and for mStoner to address a number of questions:
What are the challenges that smaller web teams face to produce great websites?
What are the limits to what you can accomplish with the resources and skills you have?
What are the advantages (yes, there are some!) to being small or focusing on a smaller scale project?
What tools are our there that are a good fit for small projects and small teams?

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  • 1. Creating NewWebsitesSteps to SuccessThursday, June 6, 13
  • 2. #sunycuad@ZablockiThursday, June 6, 13
  • 3. Fran ZablockiStrategistHello!mStonerThursday, June 6, 13
  • 4. Big ProjectvsSmall ProjectThursday, June 6, 13
  • 5. Big Project:InstitutionalRedesignThursday, June 6, 13
  • 6. a.k.a.“The 500 lb.Gorilla”Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 7. Characteristics:• Takes 10 - 14 months• All consuming for 3 months• Owns your world entirely• But then leaves for like 3 to 5 years soyou can...Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 8. Relax!Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 9. Hm.. Not quite.Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 10. Small ProjectsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 11. a.k.a.“Hordes of 10lb. monkeys”Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 12. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 13. Small Projects:• Alumni community site• Capital campaign microsite• Campus anniversary site• Those “Hey I need a website” sites• Those “Oh you didn’t know about thatsite?” sitesThursday, June 6, 13
  • 14. Small Projects:• Alumni community site• Capital campaign microsite• Campus anniversary site• Those “Hey I need a website” sites• Those “Oh you didn’t know about thatsite?” sitesThursday, June 6, 13
  • 15. What to do?a. Wrestle them all at the same timeb. Toss the lightest ones firstc. Shock them with an electrified t-shirtd. Tackle them with lean, mean processes,tools and communicationThursday, June 6, 13
  • 16. What to do?a. Wrestle them all at the same timeb. Toss the lightest ones firstc. Shock them with an electrified t-shirtd. Tackle them with lean, mean processes,tools and communicationThursday, June 6, 13
  • 17. Why?Because you don’t have unlimited:Time You need it as quickly as possible.Budget You aren’t minting money.People Maybe it is just you! #higheredsoloThursday, June 6, 13
  • 18. How?By taking the project lifecycle and trimmingthe fat.Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 19. How?By taking the project lifecycle and trimmingthe fat.Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 20. ApproachLean processestoolscommunicationplatformThursday, June 6, 13
  • 21. Lean means:Having the right toolsCollaborating as much as possibleCentralizing documentationBeing smart with timeThursday, June 6, 13
  • 22. Break down the process:Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 23. ToolsCommunicationProcessThursday, June 6, 13
  • 24. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 25. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Portfolio management - does this Project need to happen?• Does this meet a need?• Do we have the time/budget/resources to make thishappen?• Do we have those resources right now?StrategyThursday, June 6, 13
  • 26. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Be realistic - if the answer is no, you won’t do yourselffavors later on by saying yes• Make more time for the right projects by never startingthe wrong ones• Ultimate goal is to become more proactive, less reactiveStrategyThursday, June 6, 13
  • 27. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Don’t skip it just because “oh my gosh can’t we just getthis project done already?!”• Give yourself time to think by scheduling meetingsoutside the office.• Yes, I am suggesting you meet with yourself. Make itsound important.StrategyThursday, June 6, 13
  • 28. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateNeed / Want / Wish Grid• Identify what must be included and what can wait• Helps to define scope• Helps channel creative but distracting ideas tosomewhere usefulThursday, June 6, 13
  • 29. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Set measurable goals• Don’t get paralyzed by the details• Don’t worry if there aren’t already metrics• Pick a number, shoot for it• Adjust later when you evaluateMeasurable GoalsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 30. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateExamples of measurable goals• Reach ___ people on Facebook.• Increase engagement ___ percent.• Drive ___ people to the website.• Prompt ___ people to inquire.• Get ___ people to apply.• Attract ___ views of a YouTube video.Measurable GoalsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 31. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateSWOTAnalysisStrengths WeaknessesThreatsOpportunitiesThursday, June 6, 13
  • 32. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateStrategyBrief• Pull it all together in one lean document• 2-5 pages• Business Case• Goals• Need / Want / Wish Requirements• SWOTThursday, June 6, 13
  • 33. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 34. • Planning is hard, particularly if you don’t have historyon how long things take• Be conservative and take your best guess.PlanningStrategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 35. • Begin at the end.• When do you need it done?• Back it up from there.• Be realistic.PlanningStrategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 36. • Identify resources, roles, responsibilities up front• Use collaborative tools to help save time• Track time (even if it is a really rough estimate)PlanningStrategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 37. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Browser - based project and resource planning• Collaborative - allows sharing, commenting,discussions• Current - dates adjust automatically• Compatible with MS excel, project• $160 / yearThursday, June 6, 13
  • 38. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 39. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Free, Collaborative cloud scheduling• Integration with Google Drive and Business• Features similar to SmartsheetThursday, June 6, 13
  • 40. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 41. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Outlines roles and responsibilities for project teams• Map to position or individual• Helps set expectations from the startResponsibilitesListThursday, June 6, 13
  • 42. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 43. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• If you are having trouble estimating, this can help• Keep it simple and use tools to keep it leanTime TrackingThursday, June 6, 13
  • 44. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• If you are having trouble estimating, this can help• Keep it simple and use tools to keep it leanThursday, June 6, 13
  • 45. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 46. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Go back to the basics (paper prototyping, back ofnapkin).• Online tools can save an enormous amount of timehere on collaborationCreativeProductionThursday, June 6, 13
  • 47. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Help quickly organize and weight information visuallywithout needing heavy design work• Allow focus on important elements such asinformation architecture, content organization,feature spaceWireframes &PrototypesThursday, June 6, 13
  • 48. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Don’t be fancy• Sketch it out - you don’tneed to be an artist• 5 minutes, 5 people• Quick, cheap way to testvisual ideasBack of NapkinThursday, June 6, 13
  • 49. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• One sheet (or napkin)for each page element• Good for quicklyrearranging pageelements and testingdifferent layoutsPaper PrototypesThursday, June 6, 13
  • 50. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Collaborative wireframing• Allows commenting, sharing, versioning• Let you discuss functionality in the context of thedesign instead of separately• $14 / month for small teamsHotglooThursday, June 6, 13
  • 51. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 52. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• 10 minutes of silence• Cut the chatter and get everyone’s input at the sametime• Simply look at what is in front of you and write yourthoughts.• Use group chat to share ideas• Open to discussion afterwardCreative ReviewMeetingsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 53. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Usability / IA / Wireframes / Designs• Beyond your core team• As efficiently as possible• Gives you real results to justify your decisionsTestingThursday, June 6, 13
  • 54. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Efficient - use your existing student/faculty/staff/alumni email listsSurveys• Free basic service, $17 / month for unlimitedquestions responsesThursday, June 6, 13
  • 55. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• OptimalSort: Online card sorting• TreeJack: IA pathing• Chalkmark: Wireframe / Design Heat Mapping• $109 / month for eachOptimalWorkshopThursday, June 6, 13
  • 56. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 57. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 58. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• www.responsinator.com• Lets you see what your site looks like on mulipledevices quickly• Free!ResponsiveDesignThursday, June 6, 13
  • 59. ResponsiveDesignThursday, June 6, 13
  • 60. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Accessibility: cynthiasays.com• W3C compliance: validator.w3.org• Page performance: tools.pingdom.com/fpt• Page performance: www.webpagetest.orgTest, Test, TestThursday, June 6, 13
  • 61. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Can be one of the most time-consuming tasks in anyproject• Centralizing your effort on the cloud can reducecoordination time considerablyContent Creation& MigrationThursday, June 6, 13
  • 62. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Use bookmarks to allow users to quickly jump todifferent pages• Eliminate tons of emails / attachments• Use your information architecture as the foundation• Track what copy is in, what is missing, when it’s dueGoogle Docs w/BookmarksThursday, June 6, 13
  • 63. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 64. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 65. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 66. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• You want your code to be• in one place• shared with everyone who needs it• always currentImplementationThursday, June 6, 13
  • 67. • When more than one developer is working on thecode, having version control is a must• Subversion allows code segments to be ‘checkedout’ so that no one else can alter them• Allows collaboration and saves on code re-writes• git-scm.comVersion Control:GitStrategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 68. • Keeps the bug list up to date• Automatically tracks changes and allows reversions• Allows comments and live chat while viewing• Invaluable during crunch time when heads are downand meetings can’t happenBug tracking:Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 69. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 70. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• So easy to skip because “Oh my gosh we justfinished the project! Time for cake!”• Crucially important to all the prior steps on theNEXT project you do.EvaluationThursday, June 6, 13
  • 71. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• So easy to skip because “Oh my gosh we justfinished the project! Time for cake!”• Crucially important to all the prior steps on theNEXT project you do.EvaluationThursday, June 6, 13
  • 72. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Scheduled right after launch• Honest assessment:• Did we meet our goals?• How close were our estimates?• What did we do right?• What did we do wrong?• What did we not see coming?• Make it the first thing you look at the next time youdo a project like thisProject DebriefThursday, June 6, 13
  • 73. Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate• Free, powerful. Get it.• Allow you to measure against past pages• Tons of options for goal setting• Pathing and funnel reports• Visitor behavior• Device usage (ie mobile)• If you have a brand new site, be sure this isinstalled!Google AnalyticsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 74. StrategizePlan CreateImplementEvaluateCommunicate &CollaborateThursday, June 6, 13
  • 75. • Lean - cut out everything that is unnecessary, butdon’t skip anything that is necessary• Get away from email as much as possible• Reduce the time wasted on feedback loops (ie: theendless reply all email thread from hell)Communication& CollaborationThursday, June 6, 13
  • 76. • Don’t meet to discuss, meet to decide• Don’t have one if you don’t need one• Everyone reviews/comments before the meetingstartsMeetingsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 77. • Save time by getting the basics done right• Agendas• Note-taking• MinutesMeetingsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 78. Golden Rule: never have a meeting without one.Template:• Date, time, connection method• Agenda items• Review deliverables from last meeting• Discuss open items• Add new items• Upcoming deliverables and responsibility• Upcoming milestones (next 3-5)• Next meeting (if known)AgendasThursday, June 6, 13
  • 79. Golden Rule: always take notes. No, you won’t remember.• Designate a meeting leader and note-taker• Have a note-taking buddy system (ie: Fran alwaystakes notes when Susan leads the meeting).Meeting NotesThursday, June 6, 13
  • 80. Golden Rule: Copy and paste the agenda and you arehalfway there!• Date, time• Attendance• Agenda items• Review deliverables from last meeting (notes in italics)• Discuss open items (notes in italics)• Add new items• Repeat upcoming deliverables & milestones (next 3-5)• Schedule next meeting date while you have everyone’sattentionMinutesThursday, June 6, 13
  • 81. Sometimes you need to pull your head up and see whereyou are in relation to where you should be.• Can be monthly, quarterly. Less frequent than regularmeetings• Compare estimated timeline to actual• Let you flag slippage and discuss causes of andsolutions for issuesPeriodic StatusReportsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 82. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 83. CollaborationToolsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 84. • Shared calendars allow different levels of detail,including showing anyone (the public) when you arebusy• Can share with those who don’t have Google accounts.• ‘Find a time’ allows you to quickly see what is open fora group of people• Free.Google CalendarThursday, June 6, 13
  • 85. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 86. When in-person meetings aren’t possible• Hangouts are a great way to see people who might beremotely located.• Lots of tools• Chat room• Screen sharing• Document collaboration with Google Drive• Still free.Google HangoutsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 87. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 88. Central location for all• project correspondence• files• agendas• notes• conversations• project calendar• www.basecamp.com• $20 / month for 10 active projectsBasecampThursday, June 6, 13
  • 89. Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 90. Bringing it all Together:Lean Platformfor Small ProjectsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 91. Lean Platform• We’ve heard many times from clients about the needfor an approach that is the right fit for small projectsand small teams• We’ve created new approaches tailored to providefocused, nimble web solutionsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 92. Lean CMSPlatformWordpressThursday, June 6, 13
  • 93. Why Wordpress?• Powerful platform• Easy to use: industry standard for interface usability• Quick to implement• Saves time with parallel production of design andcontentThursday, June 6, 13
  • 94. Why Wordpress?• Strong base functionality• Strong development community with variety of pluginsand frameworks to meet different needs• Good fit for departments and schools with small webteams that need a CMS sized for themThursday, June 6, 13
  • 95. Lean Platform,Process & Tools• Using many of the tools, techniques and strategiesyou’ve seen here today• 5-6 month time to complete• Parallel tracking of phases• Tailored for smaller projects and smaller teamsThursday, June 6, 13
  • 96. Lean TimelineThursday, June 6, 13
  • 97. We’re flexible.This is only one approach. We can:• Customize this one• Customize an approach just for youThursday, June 6, 13
  • 98. Interested?Let us know!We’d love to work with you.Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 99. Thanks!Questions?Thursday, June 6, 13
  • 100. Fran ZablockiStrategist@Zablockifran.zablocki@mstoner.com585.300.4559Mallory WoodDirector of Marketing@mallorywoodmallory.wood@mstoner.com802.457.9234ContactsThursday, June 6, 13