As I indicated in my last post, considering a website redesign can be very intimidating. When one considers the time and cost and perhaps not so pleasant experience the last time it was done, taking on another project like this is likely to be put off. This can proved to be disastrous on your business, or at the least slow down your growth.
The time to seriously consider a revitalizing project is when your corporate objectives or strategy has changed, the website lifecycle is nearing its end or your competition’s website is updated. The best way to start is to establish a formal project with a designated project manager. If your organization has trained Project Managers then they should be used to run the project as it will be easier to define the objectives manage the time lines and keep within the budget. Regardless a structured process is required and senior management buy-in – which means there is a senior manager who is active in supporting this project.
If you have ever been involved in a free flowing touchy feely project with androgynous leadership then you know how chaotic it can be, although with the right person in charge miraculous things can happen. Just don’t count on it.
After the project leader is assigned, the next step is to identify the different groups involved and to have a representative on the web team. Critical involvement includes marketing, internet development and implementation and the web support team. If an external organization is involved in either designing or implementing your website, they should be brought in as soon as possible.
Ideally the first meeting should be a brainstorming session preferably facilitated by an external or non involved person, who should not be a contributor to the content. In this way the meeting is well structured and managed to ensure the objectives are met. The purpose of this strategy brainstorming is to bring out the issues and prioritize the items for the new redesigned website. It also accomplishes a sense of teamwork and contribution to the project. If facilitated properly with the right individuals, the ground work for the new website is established. It also can identify some key problem areas such as missing groups, team dynamics, difficult individuals or groups and so on. A trained facilitator can manage and deflect many of these potential disruptive elements and focus on the meeting objectives.
Team work is critical and in a project team that brings in a wide range of skills and personalities has to go through that Forming Storming Norming Performing cycle. Unsuccessful teams usually stall before the performing part of the cycle and the project falters and the whole process has to restart. This can be demoralizing, lengthen the implementation and cost lots of money. Meanwhile your web customers are not benefiting from your new website.
When using an external web design company, an internal project manager should be assigned as well. Keeping a clear line of communications with your developer is crucial to your success.
Peter de Gosztonyi