Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Small Project? Small Team? Big Success!

1,109 views

Published on

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?

  • Be the first to comment

Small Project? Small Team? Big Success!

  1. 1. Small Project? Small Team? Big Success!Friday, February 22, 13
  2. 2. #bigideasHE @ZablockiFriday, February 22, 13
  3. 3. Hello! Fran Zablocki Strategist mStonerFriday, February 22, 13
  4. 4. Big Project vs Small ProjectFriday, February 22, 13
  5. 5. Big Project: Institutional RedesignFriday, February 22, 13
  6. 6. a.k.a. “The 500 lb. Gorilla”Friday, February 22, 13
  7. 7. 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...Friday, February 22, 13
  8. 8. Relax!Friday, February 22, 13
  9. 9. Hm.. Not quite.Friday, February 22, 13
  10. 10. Small ProjectsFriday, February 22, 13
  11. 11. a.k.a. “Hordes of 10 lb. monkeys”Friday, February 22, 13
  12. 12. Friday, February 22, 13
  13. 13. Small Projects: • Admission Microsite • Professional school site • Campus anniversary site • Those “Hey I need a website” sites • Those “Oh you didn’t know about that site?” sitesFriday, February 22, 13
  14. 14. Small Projects: • Admission Microsite • Professional school site • Campus anniversary site • Those “Hey I need a website” sites • Those “Oh you didn’t know about that site?” sitesFriday, February 22, 13
  15. 15. 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 communicationFriday, February 22, 13
  16. 16. 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 communicationFriday, February 22, 13
  17. 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! #higheredsoloFriday, February 22, 13
  18. 18. How? By taking the project lifecycle and trimming the fat.Friday, February 22, 13
  19. 19. How? By taking the project lifecycle and trimming the fat.Friday, February 22, 13
  20. 20. Approach Lean processes tools communication platformFriday, February 22, 13
  21. 21. Lean means: Having the right tools Collaborating as much as possible Centralizing documentation Being smart with timeFriday, February 22, 13
  22. 22. Break down the process: Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  23. 23. Tools Process CommunicationFriday, February 22, 13
  24. 24. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  25. 25. Strategy • Portfolio management - does this Project need to happen? • Does this meet a need? • Do we have the time/budget/resources to make this happen? • Do we have those resources right now? Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  26. 26. Strategy • 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 Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  27. 27. Strategy • 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. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  28. 28. Need / Want / Wish Grid • Identify what must be included and what can wait • Helps to define scope • Helps channel creative but distracting ideas someplace useful Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  29. 29. Measurable Goals • 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 Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  30. 30. Measurable Goals 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. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  31. 31. SWOT Analysis Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  32. 32. Strategy Brief • Pull it all together in one lean document • 2-5 pages • Business Case • Goals • Need / Want / Wish Requirements • SWOT Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  33. 33. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  34. 34. Planning • Planning is hard, particularly if you don’t have history on how long things take • Be conservative and take your best guess. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  35. 35. Planning • Begin at the end. • When do you need it done? • Back it up from there. • Be realistic. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  36. 36. Planning • Identify resources, roles, responsibilities up front • Use collaborative tools to help save time • Track time (even if it is a really rough estimate) Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  37. 37. • Browser - based project and resource planning • Collaborative - allows sharing, commenting, discussions • Current - dates adjust automatically • Compatible with MS excel, project • $160 / year Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  38. 38. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  39. 39. • Free, Collaborative cloud scheduling • Integration with Google Drive and Business • Features similar to Smartsheet Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  40. 40. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  41. 41. Responsibilites List • Outlines roles and responsibilities for project teams • Map to position or individual • Helps set expectations from the start Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  42. 42. Friday, February 22, 13
  43. 43. Time Tracking • If you are having trouble estimating, this can help • Keep it simple and use tools to keep it lean Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  44. 44. • If you are having trouble estimating, this can help • Keep it simple and use tools to keep it lean Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  45. 45. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  46. 46. Creative Production • Go back to the basics (paper prototyping, back of napkin). • Online tools can save an enormous amount of time here on collaboration Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  47. 47. Wireframes & Prototypes • 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 Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  48. 48. Back of Napkin • 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 Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  49. 49. Paper Prototypes • One sheet (or napkin) for each page element • Good for quickly rearranging page elements and testing different layouts Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  50. 50. Hotgloo • Collaborative wireframing • Allows commenting, sharing, versioning • Let you discuss functionality in the context of the design instead of separately • $14 / month for small teams Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  51. 51. Friday, February 22, 13
  52. 52. Creative Review Meetings • 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 Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  53. 53. Testing • Usability / IA / Wireframes / Designs • Beyond your core team • As efficiently as possible • Gives you real results to justify your decisions Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  54. 54. Surveys • Efficient - use your existing student/faculty/staff/ alumni email lists • Free basic service, $17 / month for unlimited questions responses Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  55. 55. Optimal Workshop • OptimalSort: Online card sorting • TreeJack: IA pathing • Chalkmark: Wireframe / Design Heat Mapping • $109 / month for each Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  56. 56. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  57. 57. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  58. 58. Responsive Design • www.responsinator.com • Lets you see what your site looks like on muliple devices quickly • Free! Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  59. 59. Responsive DesignFriday, February 22, 13
  60. 60. Test, Test, Test • Accessibility: cynthiasays.com • W3C compliance: validator.w3.org • Page performance: tools.pingdom.com/fpt • Page performance: www.webpagetest.org Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  61. 61. Content Creation & Migration • Can be one of the most time-consuming tasks in any project • Centralizing your effort on the cloud can reduce coordination time considerably Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  62. 62. Google Docs w/ Bookmarks • 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 Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  63. 63. Friday, February 22, 13
  64. 64. Friday, February 22, 13
  65. 65. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  66. 66. Implementation • You want your code to be • in one place • shared with everyone who needs it • always current Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  67. 67. Version Control: Subversion • When more than one developer is working on the code, having version control is a must • Subversion allows code segments to be ‘checked out’ so that no one else can alter them • Allows collaboration and saves on code re-writes • www.subversion.com Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  68. 68. Bug tracking: Google Docs (again) • 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 Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  69. 69. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  70. 70. Evaluation • 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. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  71. 71. Evaluation • 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. Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  72. 72. Project Debrief • 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 Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  73. 73. Google Analytics • 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! Strategize Plan Create Implement EvaluateFriday, February 22, 13
  74. 74. Strategize Plan Create Communicate & Collaborate Evaluate ImplementFriday, February 22, 13
  75. 75. Communication & Collaboration • 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)Friday, February 22, 13
  76. 76. Meetings • Don’t meet to discuss, meet to decide • Don’t have one if you don’t need one • Everyone reviews/comments before the meeting startsFriday, February 22, 13
  77. 77. Meetings • Save time by getting the basics done right • Agendas • Note-taking • MinutesFriday, February 22, 13
  78. 78. Agendas 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)Friday, February 22, 13
  79. 79. Meeting Notes 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).Friday, February 22, 13
  80. 80. Minutes 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 attentionFriday, February 22, 13
  81. 81. Periodic Status Reports 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 issuesFriday, February 22, 13
  82. 82. Friday, February 22, 13
  83. 83. Collaboration ToolsFriday, February 22, 13
  84. 84. Google Calendar • 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.Friday, February 22, 13
  85. 85. Friday, February 22, 13
  86. 86. Google Hangouts 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.Friday, February 22, 13
  87. 87. Friday, February 22, 13
  88. 88. Basecamp Central location for all • project correspondence • files • agendas • notes • conversations • project calendar • www.basecamp.com • $20 / month for 10 active projectsFriday, February 22, 13
  89. 89. Friday, February 22, 13
  90. 90. Bringing it all Together: Lean Platform for Small ProjectsFriday, February 22, 13
  91. 91. 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 a new approach tailored to provide a focused, nimble web solutionFriday, February 22, 13
  92. 92. Lean CMS Platform WordpressFriday, February 22, 13
  93. 93. Why Wordpress? • Powerful platform • Easy to use: industry standard for interface usability • Quick to implement • Saves time with parallel production of design and contentFriday, February 22, 13
  94. 94. 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 themFriday, February 22, 13
  95. 95. 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 teamsFriday, February 22, 13
  96. 96. Lean TimelineFriday, February 22, 13
  97. 97. We’re flexible. This is only one approach. We can: • Customize this one • Customize an approach just for youFriday, February 22, 13
  98. 98. Interested? Let us know! We’d love to work with you.Friday, February 22, 13
  99. 99. Thanks! Questions?Friday, February 22, 13
  100. 100. Contacts Fran Zablocki Mallory Wood Strategist Director of Marketing @Zablocki @mallorywood fran.zablocki@mstoner.com mallory.wood@mstoner.com 585.300.4559 802.457.9234Friday, February 22, 13

×