Managing Higher Education Web Development: Traps and Tips


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Managing Higher Education Web Development: Traps and Tips. Towards the success of any higher education web project.

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  • Note how this is relevant for everyone
  • Discuss why this high level view gives a great perspective
  • What do we do on a daily basis?
  • Ive surveyed my team for lessons learned. Should note that this works in tandem with our IT program management office
  • Much easier said then done
  • Some vendors will be happy b/c of bullet 3!Don’t have to sing the praises of inside vs. outside
  • All easier said then done
  • vs. Amazon, say
  • Through a combination of usability research and interviews
  • Open with, “what is the enterprise trap?”And close with, “This gets you in trouble"
  • As to the last bullet, be a web ambassador
  • More of a general tip
  • At GW but probably elsewhere too.A little doc goes a long way.
  • Accepting agility, rather than having to scramble when the waterfall is shattered, is better. Sooner you recognize it, the sooner you can capitalize on it
  • Our waterfall projects are usually over budget, past deadlines, miss requirements
  • If a group want to use joomla, and we traditionally use drupal, they can use joomla, given they understand we cannot help.
  • This screams web!
  • We have an email marketing system that allows tracking, saves money, conforms to standard ---- we, in a sense, compete with external services which, in our opinion, lower the standards for our departments
  • We’ve tapped in one sense or another. Not always as easy as it sounds.
  • Managing Higher Education Web Development: Traps and Tips

    1. 1. Managing Higher education web development: traps and tips<br />Towards the success of any higher education web project<br />Ryan dellolio<br />Web program manager<br />The george washington university<br />Columbian college of arts and sciences<br />Washington, dc<br />Given At Eduweb 2010<br />July 28 2010<br />Chicago, IL<br />
    2. 2. The george washington university<br />
    3. 3. Web activity at gw<br />Columbian College of Arts and Sciences<br />500+ faculty & <br /> researchers<br />3000 students<br />100+ staff<br />University’s largest academic unit (Liberal Arts)<br />
    4. 4. Africana StudiesAmerican StudiesAnthropologyApplied Quantitative Risk AnalysisArt TherapyBiochemistryBiological SciencesBiomedical SciencesBiostatisticsChemistryClassical and Semitic Languages and <br /> LiteraturesClassical ActingCounselingEarly Modern European StudiesEast Asian Languages and LiteraturesEconomics<br />EnglishEnvironmental StudiesEnvironmental Resource PolicyEpidemiologyFilm Studies<br />Fine Arts and Art HistoryForensic Sciences<br />GeographyGeological SciencesGenomics and BioinformaticsGlobal CommunicationsHistoryHominid PaleobiologyInterior DesignJudaic StudiesLinguisticsMathematicsMedia and Public AffairsMedicine, Society and CultureMuseum StudiesMusicOrganizational Sciences and CommunicationPhilosophyPhysicsPolitical ScienceProfessional Psychology<br />PsychologyPublic Policy and Public AdministrationReligionRomance, German, Slavic Languages and LiteraturesSociologySpeech and Hearing SciencesStatisticsTheatre and DanceUniversity Writing ProgramWomen's Studies<br />50+ Departments and Programs<br />
    5. 5. 52 informational sites, 1200+ pages at last audit<br />
    6. 6. Web properties<br />
    7. 7. <ul><li>New development
    8. 8. Redevelopment
    9. 9. Information architecture
    10. 10. Web marketing
    11. 11. Social media
    12. 12. Web strategy and consulting</li></ul>OUR pipeline<br />
    13. 13. higher education…<br />
    14. 14. higher education…<br />
    15. 15. Staffing<br />Marketing and Communication<br />
    16. 16. Lessons learned: traps<br />
    17. 17. Trap #1<br />Saying: <br />“The web is a marketing tool.”<br />
    18. 18. User experience drives web success<br />Marketing is just one component of a successful web strategy<br />
    19. 19. Instead…<br />
    20. 20. Trap #2<br />Saying:<br />“Everything must live in-house.”<br />
    21. 21. On Decisions<br /><ul><li>“This service must live in our data center”
    22. 22. “We must place this behind our firewall”
    23. 23. “The content management system must live here”
    24. 24. “SaaS is not reliable”
    25. 25. “Does that mean it will look different?”</li></li></ul><li>The right location, a tale of two projects<br />Center for the Advanced Study of <br />Hominid Paleobiology<br />Columbian College of Arts and Sciences<br /> (in development)<br /><ul><li>Large, multi-faceted prestigious research group
    26. 26. Smithsonian, other University partnerships
    27. 27. Advanced content management</li></ul>Planet Forward<br />School of Media and Public Affairs<br />Columbian College of Arts and Sciences<br /><br /><ul><li>Innovative online community
    28. 28. PBS partnership
    29. 29. Basic content management plus online community needs</li></ul>Externally hosted managed <br />CMS and online community<br />Internal CMS implementation<br />
    30. 30. Evaluation criteria<br /><ul><li>Management costs
    31. 31. Development resources
    32. 32. In-house expertise
    33. 33. Availability needs
    34. 34. Budget</li></li></ul><li>Trap #3<br />Fearing bureaucracy<br />
    35. 35. bureaucracy<br /><ul><li>Bureaucracy is a fact of University life
    36. 36. “Strategy, not sparring”
    37. 37. Educate upwards</li></ul>Bake people, process and technology into existing bureaucratic structures, establishing web governance.<br />
    38. 38. Trap #4<br />Seizing all control<br />
    39. 39. Three big distinctions in higher ed<br /><ul><li>Structure completely hierarchical
    40. 40. Web traditionally distant from the core mission (or is it? will revisit this point)
    41. 41. Revenue/enrollment model complicates requirements</li></ul>Control is difficult in the academic community, and misguided<br />
    42. 42. Seizing control produces academic/corporate divide<br /><ul><li>“You must adhere to _________ .”
    43. 43. “Our office must approve everything before it goes live”
    44. 44. “Here are web content the requirements”
    45. 45. “Our committee decided you cannot do it that way”</li></li></ul><li>
    46. 46. Techniques<br /><ul><li>Guide, don’t require (Wording matters!)
    47. 47. Advise, don’t insist
    48. 48. Make compliance easy (e.g. Newsletter generator)
    49. 49. Standard tools naturally standardize the end result (e.g. superior content management system bound to template will gain traction)</li></li></ul><li>Trap #5<br />Saying:<br />“We know who we’re building for.”<br />
    50. 50. REDEFINING USE CASES; things we’ve seen<br /><ul><li>Current students browsing admissions sites
    51. 51. Prospective students browsing information for current students
    52. 52. Prospective partner institutions browsing information for current students
    53. 53. Prospective students browsing internal department websites
    54. 54. “Navigation-phobia” – the chronic Googlers
    55. 55. Entrance paths that often defy logic</li></li></ul><li>Trap #6<br />The enterprise trap<br />
    56. 56. “We prefer large, expensive enterprise-class systems that have been in production in other Universities for at least 2 years”<br />
    57. 57. Open source on campus<br /><ul><li>The gap between open source and enterprise class web technologies is closing
    58. 58. The web has its roots in academia, and open source has been there every step of the way
    59. 59. Open source should be embraced, and evaluated along with other technologies
    60. 60. Students are already there</li></li></ul><li>Lessons learned: tips<br />
    61. 61. Tip #1<br />Empowerment is key<br />
    62. 62. Empowering your constituency<br /><ul><li>Self-service over web service requests
    63. 63. Collaborative issue tracking
    64. 64. The illusion of control
    65. 65. “If you build it, they will come”
    66. 66. Full service consulting is a must</li></li></ul><li>Tip #2<br />Document, document, document<br />
    67. 67. Documentation <br /><ul><li>Establishes accountability
    68. 68. Should be undertaken at every step of the process
    69. 69. Is traditionally lacking from higher education web presences, which often grow from web talent within the academic community
    70. 70. Is essential to sustainability of any system</li></li></ul><li>Higher education web evolution<br />Process artifacts are often created, and lost.<br />
    71. 71. Tip #3<br />Break the waterfall, be agile<br />
    72. 72. Building the Web at the pace of research<br />The traditional systems development lifecycle is not well suited to most higher education web projects<br />
    73. 73. Agility is often not an option<br /><ul><li>Continuous iteration
    74. 74. Rapid prototyping
    75. 75. Constant feedback
    76. 76. Continual defect resolution and enhancement
    77. 77. Reevaluate traditional production requirements
    78. 78. Rapid Application Development</li></li></ul><li>A comparison<br />We’ve seen improvement in nearly every metric by adopting development agility.<br />
    79. 79. Tip #4<br />Lose control<br />
    80. 80. Losing control<br /><ul><li>Rapid application development benefits all
    81. 81. Guidelines, governance and buy-in are as powerful as programmatic control
    82. 82. The web is organic
    83. 83. Arbitrary control is counter productive</li></li></ul><li>Tip #5<br />Your competitors are not always who you think they are<br />
    84. 84. Where is the web in relation to a university's core mission?<br />
    85. 85. “The George Washington University, an independent academic institution chartered by the Congress of the United States in 1821, dedicates itself to furthering human well-being. The University values a dynamic, student-focused community stimulated by cultural and intellectual diversity and built upon a foundation of integrity, creativity, and openness to the exploration of new ideas. The George Washington University, centered in the national and international crossroads of Washington, D.C., commits itself to excellence in the creation, dissemination, and application of knowledge.”<br />
    86. 86. competition<br /><ul><li>Enrollment competition is only one piece of the puzzle
    87. 87. Competition extends to:
    88. 88. Student attention to university news and events
    89. 89. Alumni participation and development
    90. 90. Prestige, online and off line
    91. 91. Academic attention on the web
    92. 92. Use of in-house services vs. the wild west</li></li></ul><li>Tip #6<br />Do more than build websites<br />
    93. 93. The web is a means to an end<br /><ul><li>Build experiences
    94. 94. Build communities
    95. 95. Contributeto existing communities
    96. 96. Embrace the semantic web
    97. 97. Educate!</li></li></ul><li>examples of On-campus expertise<br />
    98. 98. It is a privilege to work on the web.<br />
    99. 99. Contact information<br />RYAN DELLOLIO<br />THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY<br />WASHINGTON, DC<br />(202) 994-5497<br />RYAN@GWU.EDU<br />