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How to ensure your web project is a complete failure

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How to ensure your web project is a complete failure

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Set unrealistic deadlines! Don’t define your intended audience! Refuse to make decisions! Many of the ways you can mess up your new website or redesign are identical to the ways people fumble any endeavor.

After years of working with a diverse range of organizations and campaigns we’re here to enthusiastically report on the classic mistakes even the best organizers and communicators make when overseeing major website development (or redevelopment). We’ll hold your sweaty, fearful hand as we walk you through the entire life cycle of website development, ensuring that the end result is as expensive and ineffective as possible.

Set unrealistic deadlines! Don’t define your intended audience! Refuse to make decisions! Many of the ways you can mess up your new website or redesign are identical to the ways people fumble any endeavor.

After years of working with a diverse range of organizations and campaigns we’re here to enthusiastically report on the classic mistakes even the best organizers and communicators make when overseeing major website development (or redevelopment). We’ll hold your sweaty, fearful hand as we walk you through the entire life cycle of website development, ensuring that the end result is as expensive and ineffective as possible.

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How to ensure your web project is a complete failure

  1. How to Ensure Your Web Project is a Complete and Total Failure brought to you by Aaron Welch and
  2. Warning: the following presentation is ironic It is intended to help you avoid repeating the mistakes that we have seen clients make over the years. Obviously, vendors are also on the hook for making mistakes and doing things that put projects at risk. Hopefully this presentation will help clients be better clients while we all strive to be better vendors on our end. How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  3. Section 1: Deadlines Rule #1: Set your launch date before determining scope, budget or production schedule (bonus! Plan and announce a high profile event that coincides with this date - a gala for example, anything that will be sure to embarrass you and waste a lot of money if the launch slips) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  4. Section 1: Deadlines Rule #2: Start late. For example, for a 6-8 month project timeline, don't start looking for a vendor until a few months out from launch (Be sure to lead with this information, vendors *love* working under pressure and will generally give you a price break.) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  5. Section 1: Deadlines Rule #3: Once you've set the launch date and any other important milestones related to the project, DO NOT COMMUNICATE THEM TO OTHERS! (Wait until a week or so beforehand and then send an all- caps email to everyone working on the project about the looming deadline, sure to make heads explode. Perfect!) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  6. Section 1: Deadlines Rule #4: If all else fails, move the launch deadline in the last few weeks of a project. (If the vendor points out something in your agreement to the contrary, tell them you remember discussing this early on on a phone call and are not sure why they don't remember.) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  7. Section 2: The Budget Rule #1: Do not get help doing requirements gathering to get a budget range. Instead, guess! (Even better, do all the technical planning yourself, decide how much it is worth, then send out an RFP with a fixed cost.) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  8. Section 2: The Budget Rule #2: Lowest bidder wins. Always. (Seriously, all vendors basically outsource to India anyhow.) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  9. Section 2: The Budget Rule #3: DO NOT SHARE YOUR BUDGET (If vendors know how much you have to spend, then they'll be able to make recommendations that fit that range!) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  10. Section 2: The Budget Rule #4: Do not set aside a budget for additional features, post-launch support, or training. (These services should always be included, but not explicitly outlined in any contract. Vendors assume this is part of any scope of work, it's like tipping – rude to discuss outright.) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  11. Section 2: The Budget Rule #5: Hosting is cheap, the cheaper the better! ($30/mo is more than enough for pretty much any site. Bonus: just ignore hosting until a few days before launch!) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  12. Section 3: Project Management Rule #1: Do not select a project lead internally (Even better, select one who has no experience running similar projects. Bonus: ensure they have another, totally unrelated full-time job – this project should be a side thing) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  13. Section 3: Project Management Rule #2: Do not get sign-off from internal stakeholders as decisions are made (They are super busy, just show them everything at the end when it's all done and get feedback then.) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  14. Section 3: Project Management Rule #3: Rely on your vendor to handle internal communications and decision making (That's why you are paying for all that “project management” time, which is sort of b.s. anyway. Get your money's worth!) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  15. Section 3: Project Management Rule #4: Do not read anything (Contracts, technical plans, meeting minutes – all busy work designed to pass the buck along to you, don't stand for it!) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  16. Section 4: Vendor Relations Rule #1: Pay late and demand the unreasonable (See how long it takes your vendor to bring up the invoices that are due, and when they do ask about pushing the project team to work weekends and evenings – just see if they will!) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  17. Section 4: Vendor Relations Rule #2: Talk about your ex (Any time you can work into the conversation how much cheaper and/or better the other vendors you talked to were will ensure the one you have works hard to keep you happy!) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  18. Section 4: Vendor Relations Rule #3: Divide and conquer (Play team members and management against each other by sending email directly to them and not keeping everyone on the team in the loop. Eventually, you will get free work out of it as they eat each other alive!) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  19. Section 4: Vendor Relations Rule #4: Communications (Do not read any email, there will be too many, and they are too technical anyway. If you need an update, send an ALL CAPS EMAIL TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK) How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com
  20. Comments or Questions? Yay! There is: www.advomatic.com twitter.com/advomatic How to ensure your web project is a complete and total failure Aaron Welch – welch@advomatic.com

Editor's Notes

  • Disclaimer – this presentation is meant to poke fun of the things that we have seen clients do over the years that seem to boggle the mind, and appear almost meant to intentionally throw their projects off track. Obviously, vendors are just as on the hook for making mistakes and doing things that put projects at risk, but hopefully this will help clients be better clients while we strive to be better vendors on our end.
  • Many projects, despite the best efforts of the stakeholders, vendors and various parties involved manage to eventually get off the ground. To be a complete and total failure requires dedication, and following some simple rules that will ensure utter disaster. All of these things have happened at one point or another on various projects over the years at Advomatic. Hopefully by sharing these stories with you, they will help ensure that your web project is a complete and total failure also.
  • A lot of time this is not the reality, and orgs don't have the resources internally for this – regardless, they should be realistic about the time and energy required on their end to make the project a success

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