NewYork2008:PM Principles - Advanced Web Projects

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Does Planning and Monitoring actually happen?

  • Yes, but often over a very long term cycle
  • Easy to get caught up in planning forever, and never move on to implementation
  • Important to have big collaboration meeting at first, but then move on to Prioritizing
  • When do you say "This is closed"?
 Websites are never "closed," they are always evolving
 Important to invest in "systems" to account for this involvement
 Transition into a maintenance plan
  • Mounds of documentation, wireframes, etc.
  • How can we be more effective? What can be thrown out?
  • What gets thrown out?
 Specs and wireframes often do not evolve as project evolves, and become useless.
 Signing off on things, clarity of understanding of clients necessary in order for things to be truly "signed off"
 Strategic technology planning meetings/process, understanding your mission is necessary, but often non-existent

Signing off successfully?

 Have clients show you working examples of what they want

Iterative approach:

  • Look for existing examples
  • Rapid Prototype to get something up and running
  • Refine iteratively
  • Costs little up front for an unrefined, rough, but working project
  • Costs more to refine, but keeps costs low in the long run as continual refinement becomes more effective

Constraints and framing necessary in order for interactions to be dynamic and effective.

Unique is not necessarily a good thing. New, unique ideas often are not effective. It is better to start with existing applications and concepts, if only as a springboard.

Draw it. What would it look like? How would it work? Show me visually.

How much does the client know what they want?

What are your goals? Guidelines? Very important to have those in place first, otherwise your project will not be a success.

How do you draw out a mission statement and guidelines from a client? -Don't let them "Pick from a menu" first. Force them to tell you what they want to do, regardless of the tech options available. -Education is excruciating, but necessary

Top Down Approach

 Strategic Principles, then drill down

Wish List Approach

 List of a million "wish" items, then forge a plan out of the list

Middlebury Example Wanted a social networking site since it was the "new thing", but when they brought together all the important Alumni, President, etc., and had a strategizing meeting, it turns out they had no use for such a tool

ALWAYS get everyone who has a veto power involved from the beginning (CEO, Board, etc.), and make sure they understand they are signing off on things as you go along.

How do you tell your client that they don't understand what they want?

 Gently.  Tell them about Data you have gathered, which is helpful.  Try to gently tell them how it is, and what kind of information you need, but in the end they have to make the decision.  If they cannot come up with the data and  vision necessary, then you need to walk away from the project.

You have to know what you're doing, and who your doing it for. What is the audience? What are they trying to do?

Three AH-HA's!

  • In the Initiating and Planning stage, Defining/Educating the client is necessary. If you do not, there are costs which can be avoid
  • Closed is a relative concept with websites. Websites go through phases, and defining those phases clearly are important, and make sure they are properly budgeted
  • Agile vs Waterfall. Understand the pros and cons of the two models, and use them appropriately.