Big project success with small web teams
 

Big project success with small web teams

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Between completely overhauling your main website every three to five years and undertaking countless small projects in between, you don’t have time to spare. You work hard to launch and maintain as ...

Between completely overhauling your main website every three to five years and undertaking countless small projects in between, you don’t have time to spare. You work hard to launch and maintain as many high-quality sites as you can quickly, cheaply, and efficiently.

The smaller your team, the harder the work— let us help. mStoner strategist Fran Zablocki will share insights and tips on managing projects, increasing efficiency, and streamlining tasks. Learn from Fran’s experiences as lead project manager and strategist on dozens of large and small web projects in higher education.

Fran will break down each stage of the web project lifecycle and share processes, plan, and resources that will make your projects as lean and mean as possible — so you and your team can stay successful and sane.

This webinar will cover:
- Documents and processes for great project kickoffs.
- Ways to streamline content reviews and migration processes.
Principles for running meetings that get things done and get out of the way.
- Lean platforms for tight timelines.
- Tools to help save time and energy at each phase.

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    Big project success with small web teams Big project success with small web teams Presentation Transcript

    • Achieving Big Project Success With Small Web Teams Monday, September 30, 13
    • #mStonerNow @Zablocki Monday, September 30, 13
    • Fran Zablocki Strategist Hello! mStoner Monday, September 30, 13
    • Big Project vs Small Project Monday, September 30, 13
    • Big Project: Institutional Redesign Monday, September 30, 13
    • a.k.a. “The 500 lb. Gorilla” Monday, September 30, 13
    • Characteristics: • Takes 10 - 14 months • All consuming for 3 months • Owns your world entirely • But then leaves for like 3 to 5 years so you can... Monday, September 30, 13
    • Relax! Monday, September 30, 13
    • Hm.. Not quite. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Small Projects Monday, September 30, 13
    • a.k.a. “Hordes of 10 lb. monkeys” Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 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 that site?” sites Monday, September 30, 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 that site?” sites Monday, September 30, 13
    • What to do? a. Wrestle them all at the same time b. Toss the lightest ones first c. Shock them with an electrified t-shirt d. Tackle them with lean, mean processes, tools and communication Monday, September 30, 13
    • What to do? a. Wrestle them all at the same time b. Toss the lightest ones first c. Shock them with an electrified t-shirt d. Tackle them with lean, mean processes, tools and communication Monday, September 30, 13
    • 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! #higheredsolo Monday, September 30, 13
    • How? By taking the project lifecycle and trimming the fat. Monday, September 30, 13
    • How? By taking the project lifecycle and trimming the fat. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Approach Lean processes tools communication platform Monday, September 30, 13
    • Lean means: Having the right tools Collaborating as much as possible Centralizing documentation Being smart with time Monday, September 30, 13
    • The Advantages of Being Small. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Small Means: • Adaptable - You adapt quickly to new situations and can take advantage of new opportunities • Direct - You don’t need to run everything by committee • Decisive - Decisions can be made quickly • Multi-talented - being a generalist and wearing many hats is not always bad! Variety keeps you current. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Worst Kept Secret #1 : You can use this on big projects, too. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Worst Kept Secret #1 : You can use this on big projects, too. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Worst Kept Secret #2 : You can use this with big teams, too. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Worst Kept Secret #2 : You can use this with big teams, too. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Break down the process: Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Tools Communication Process Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • The best way to save time on a project is to never do it in the first place. • Portfolio management • Does this Project need to happen? Does it meet a need? • Do we have the time/budget/resources to make this happen? • Do we have those resources right now? Strategy Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Be realistic - if the answer is no, you won’t do yourself favors later on by saying yes • Make more time for the right projects by never starting the wrong ones • Ultimate goal is to become more proactive, less reactive Strategy Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Don’t skip it just because “oh my gosh can’t we just get this project done already?!” • Give yourself time to think by scheduling meetings outside the office. • Yes, I am suggesting you meet with yourself. Make it sound important. Strategy Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Need / Want / Wish Grid • Identify what must be included and what can wait • Helps to define scope • Helps channel creative but distracting ideas to somewhere useful Monday, September 30, 13
    • 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 evaluate Measurable Goals Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Examples 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 Goals Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate SWOT Analysis Strengths Weaknesses ThreatsOpportunities Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Strategy Brief One lean document: 2-5 pages • Business Case - Why should this happen? • SWOT - What factors will determine if this will happen? • Need / Want / Wish Requirements - What needs to happen? • Measurable Project Goals - How do we know if it happens? Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • • Planning is hard, particularly if you don’t have history on how long things take • Be conservative and take your best guess Planning Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • • Begin at the end • When do you need it done? • Back it up from there • Be realistic Planning Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • • Identify resources, roles, responsibilities up front • Use collaborative tools to help save time • Track time (even if it is a really rough estimate) Planning Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • 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 / year Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Free, Collaborative cloud scheduling • Integration with Google Drive and Business • Features similar to Smartsheet Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Outlines roles & responsibilities for project teams • Map to position or individual • Sets expectations from the start Responsibilites List Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Having trouble estimating time? This can help • Keep it simple, keep it lean Time Tracking Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • If you are having trouble estimating, this can help • Keep it simple and use tools to keep it lean Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • In the beginning, keep it simple. (paper prototyping, back of napkin). • Use online tools for collaboration points. Creative Production Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Help quickly organize and weight information visually without needing heavy design work • Allow focus on important elements such as information architecture, content organization, feature space Wireframes & Prototypes Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Don’t be fancy • Sketch it out - you don’t need to be an artist • 5 minutes, 5 people • Quick, cheap way to test visual ideas Back of Napkin Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • One sheet (or napkin) for each page element • Good for quickly rearranging page elements and testing different layouts Paper Prototypes Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Collaborative wireframing • Allows commenting, sharing, versioning • Let you discuss functionality in the context of the design instead of separately • $15 / person / month for small teams UXPin Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • $14 / month for small teams Hotgloo Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • 10 minutes of silence • Cut the chatter and get everyone’s input at the same time • Simply look at what is in front of you and write your thoughts. • Use group chat to share ideas • Open to discussion afterward Creative Review Meetings Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Usability / IA / Wireframes / Designs • Beyond your core team • As efficiently as possible • Gives you real results to justify your decisions Testing Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Efficient - use your existing student/faculty/staff/ alumni email lists Surveys • Free basic service, $17 / month for unlimited questions responses Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • OptimalSort: Online card sorting • TreeJack: IA pathing • Chalkmark: Wireframe / Design Heat Mapping • $109 / month for each Optimal Workshop Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • www.responsinator.com • Lets you see what your site looks like on muliple devices quickly • Free! Responsive Design Monday, September 30, 13
    • Responsive Design Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Accessibility: cynthiasays.com • W3C compliance: validator.w3.org • Page performance: tools.pingdom.com/fpt • Page performance: www.webpagetest.org Test, Test, Test Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Likely the most time-consuming tasks in any project • Centralizing your effort on the cloud can reduce coordination time considerably Information Architecture, Content Creation & Migration Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • Use bookmarks to allow users to quickly jump to different pages • Eliminate tons of emails / attachments • Use your information architecture as the foundation • Track what copy is in, what is missing, when it’s due Evolutionary Google Documents Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • You want your code to be • in one place • shared with everyone who needs it • always current Implementation Monday, September 30, 13
    • • When more than one developer is working on the code, having version control is a must • Git allows code segments to be ‘checked out’ so that no one else can alter them • Allows collaboration and saves on code re-writes • git-scm.com Version Control: Git Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • • 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 down and meetings can’t happen Bug tracking: Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • So easy to skip because “Oh my gosh we just finished the project! Time for cake!” • Crucially important to all the prior steps on the NEXT project you do. Evaluation Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create Implement Evaluate • So easy to skip because “Oh my gosh we just finished the project! Time for cake!” • Crucially important to all the prior steps on the NEXT project you do. Evaluation Monday, September 30, 13
    • 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 you do a project like this Project Debrief Monday, September 30, 13
    • 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 is installed! Google Analytics Monday, September 30, 13
    • Strategize Plan Create ImplementEvaluate Communicate & Collaborate Monday, September 30, 13
    • • Lean - cut out everything that is unnecessary, but don’t skip anything that is necessary • Get away from email as much as possible • Reduce the time wasted on feedback loops (ie: the endless reply all email thread from hell) Communication & Collaboration Monday, September 30, 13
    • • Don’t meet to discuss, meet to decide • Don’t have one if you don’t need one • Everyone reviews/comments before the meeting starts Meetings Monday, September 30, 13
    • • Save time by getting the basics done right • Agendas • Note-taking • Minutes Meetings Monday, September 30, 13
    • 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) Agendas Monday, September 30, 13
    • 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 always takes notes when Susan leads the meeting). Meeting Notes Monday, September 30, 13
    • Golden Rule: Copy and paste the agenda and you are halfway 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’s attention Minutes Monday, September 30, 13
    • Sometimes you need to pull your head up and see where you are in relation to where you should be. • Can be monthly, quarterly. Less frequent than regular meetings • Compare estimated timeline to actual • Let you flag slippage and discuss causes of and solutions for issues Periodic Status Reports Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 13
    • Collaboration Tools Monday, September 30, 13
    • • Shared calendars allow different levels of detail, including showing anyone (the public) when you are busy • Can share with those who don’t have Google accounts. • ‘Find a time’ allows you to quickly see what is open for a group of people • Free. Google Calendar Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 13
    • When in-person meetings aren’t possible • Hangouts are a great way to see people who might be remotely located. • Lots of tools • Chat room • Screen sharing • Document collaboration with Google Drive • Still free. Google Hangouts Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 13
    • Central location for all • project correspondence • files • agendas • notes • conversations • project calendar • www.basecamp.com • $20 / month for 10 active projects Basecamp Monday, September 30, 13
    • Monday, September 30, 13
    • Bringing it all Together: Lean Platform for Small Projects Monday, September 30, 13
    • Lean Platform • We’ve heard many times from clients about the need for an approach that is the right fit for small projects and small teams • We’ve created new approaches tailored to provide focused, nimble web solutions Monday, September 30, 13
    • Lean CMS Platform Wordpress Monday, September 30, 13
    • Why Wordpress? • Powerful platform • Easy to use: industry standard for interface usability • Quick to implement • Saves time with parallel production of design and content Monday, September 30, 13
    • Why Wordpress? • Strong base functionality • Strong development community with variety of plugins and frameworks to meet different needs • Good fit for departments and schools with small web teams that need a CMS sized for them Monday, September 30, 13
    • Lean Platform, Process & Tools • Using many of the tools, techniques and strategies you’ve seen here today • 5-6 month time to complete • Parallel tracking of phases • Tailored for smaller projects and smaller teams Monday, September 30, 13
    • Lean Timeline Monday, September 30, 13
    • We’re flexible. This is only one approach. We can: • Customize this one • Customize an approach just for you Monday, September 30, 13
    • Interested? Let us know! We’d love to work with you. Monday, September 30, 13
    • Thanks! Questions? Monday, September 30, 13
    • Fran Zablocki Strategist @Zablocki fran.zablocki@mstoner.com 585.300.4559 Mallory Wood Director of Marketing @mallorywood mallory.wood@mstoner.com 802.457.9234 Contacts Monday, September 30, 13