Written by Matthew Millet
Trying to get your brilliant ideas turned into a brilliant website may seem like a huge leap, but if you're serious things will come into being seemingly of their own volition. Being able to manage a website or many websites doesn't require any knowledge of code (although it helps), and it doesn't even have to involve making a lot of technical decisions. Still, there are certain things every project manager needs to know to see that the job gets done.
Know your content
I stand by the assertion that the most important aspect of any website is content. Content is what every good website
revolves around. In most cases the reason someone is managing a website is because they know the content better than anyone else for the job. If that's not the case, it should become the case as soon as possible. Many clients I've had relationships with over the years are shocked that a developer can't guess what their website needs. Now if we could, the client would be useless. If you want to have value, you need to know your content better than anyone. Understand everything that your website needs to do, discover what more it can do, find out what people coming to your site want, and prioritize features to maximize traffic to your site.
Know your experts
If you are to manage the development of a website, you need to know what your resources are. The best resource in any development is the people behind it, including you. If you are to manage websites well, you'll have to know where to go to get what done. Every manager I've had to deal with that lost their job failed at this point. They promised what they couldn't deliver, and failed to deliver that which they could. Knowing and playing your strengths are the cornerstones of any good strategy, and finding and leveraging a good team is what sets the failures apart from the gurus. Trust is inevitable for all but the most well versed do-it-yourselfers. This can be easier than it sounds. Services like Lexy
offer a trusted source for scalable hosting, development, and powerful content creation tools with customer support.
Know your project
If you are to be responsible for the realization of a dream into the web, you need to know what is going on with that project inside and out. You need to know what it can do, what it's going to do, and when it's going to do it. Having a detailed plan is what you exist for. If you don't have very explicit requirement specifications for what that site is going to do, you're not a project manager. You simply can not be actually managing a project that is going anywhere if you aren't the man or woman who can state without a doubt what it is that website is doing and what it is going to do. Make a plan, and keep up with it, because in the development industry plans aren't blueprints written in ink but things that take on lives of their own. One of the exciting flexibilities and frustrating challenges of website creation. Set up project management tools, even if your team is just a few people. A tool like Redmine
is free, can easily be set up on a web server or local machine, and provides a central place to make your plans, change them, and keep everyone involved on the same page.
The difference between the people who get things done and those who are forgotten is that they simply do it. They don't stand on the fence, too afraid to land on the other side, and they don't give up and go home. They remind themselves over and over again that the job needs to be done, and they stay on it. Part of the reason our team at VivaNet 2.0 is so successful is that we are ready and available to get the results we set out to get. For many, managing a project isn't a full time aspiration like it is for us, but it doesn't have to be. I've seen a lot of website success stories, and a lot of people who threw in the towel (and a lot of money) when things didn't seem to go right. Project management doesn't have to be hard, but it's constant. You have to get what you want figured out, and keep wanting it. This is the secret to great websites.