For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million is wasted due to lacking project performance. – Project Management Institute
Assume you were to develop an e-commerce website for your client, a motor spare-parts company. How would you be doing it?
You will start by asking the client for a "Project Definition"
which would be a complete description of the e-commerce website along with high-level requirements. The next step is to define the "Project Scope" with full details on the requirements and the tasks that must be performed to deliver the requirements. Next, create wire-frames and site architecture. Wire-frames provide a prototype of the site showing just the page layouts but with no other details.
Site architecture defines the data-flow and work-flow between different pages of the website
as well as the other internal and external components. At this stage, you need to get the client's approval without which it would be risky to go ahead. Once obtained, you can start with the visual graphic design
, site development, and site testing
. After all the tests are completed, and bug fixes are implemented, you need to prepare for a launch and plan for the maintenance support.
This is the basic process outline to develop a website,
and it is recommended to follow this process when you manage design projects. To complete the project successfully meeting the deadline, each of the phases discussed above must have its own turn around time, which is tighter than the client deadline. Now, how to manage deadlines? The best way to achieve this is to deploy a project management tool.
5 Ways to Ensure Your Website Design Projects Meet Deadlines
1. Visualize Project Milestones
and working to meet them is an integral part of meeting project deadlines. The best way to handle this is to have a vision board that displays milestones. Some companies literally write milestones on sticky notes and stick them onto the walls of the room where they work. This creates a sense of urgency and improves the performance of the whole team. But, in today's world, virtual boards created using project management software
keeps everything on track in a much efficient manner. Another advantage of virtual boards is that they allow keeping all projects in one place, thereby giving a view at the portfolio level. So, while choosing a project management software:
- Go for the ones that offer different kinds of built-in boards and templates for visualization.
- Select those where users can create their own custom boards.
2. Define Key Project Deliverables
Managing design projects deadlines is difficult without proper deliverable definitions. Defining deliverables
is a crucial aspect of any project. It needs to be worked out with the client, and once finalized, the project deliverable documents will serve as the master for reference. The defined deliverables are then broken down into tasks and assigned to the resources. There are project management (PM) tools on the market that can facilitate this activity.
The main reason why projects fail
is that they have vague requirements that don't help define deliverables.
If the website design project or logo design
are being executed without defining the scope and deliverables, there are high chances of clients rejecting it and asking you to rework. This will add to the cost as you will be required to pay for your team’s additional work, but the remuneration from the client is going to be the same. Thus, using a sound project management tool for managing design projects deadlines can save you costs in the long-term.
3. Set Mini-Deadlines
are the internal deadlines that you give for activities or internal milestones. Without mini-deadlines, people tend to procrastinate the work until they reach the client's deadline. How to manage deadlines using mini-deadlines?
- The first thing is to have project deliverables clearly outlined.
- Next, subdivide the deliverables into small pieces and assign a deadline to each deliverable. Mini-deadlines must be stringent than the project deadline and should also include a "schedule reserve." Reserves help to keep things under control in situations of uncertainties.
- Create tasks out of each mini-deliverable and assign it to resources along with a due date.
If there are no mini-deadlines, people usually end up not meeting project deadlines.
For example, assume that your e-commerce website is to be delivered a year from now. You can set a deadline for each process discussed earlier, including a reserve that comes within the client's deadline. To reiterate, how to meet deadlines- Use mini-deadlines.
4. Collaborate with Teams Regularly
Collaboration and communication are critical to the success of any project. Especially to manage design projects that revolve around ideas and inputs, a PM tool is necessary. Most project management software
facilitates collaboration features like:
- Sending private or group messages to each other to discuss issues and other items related to work.
- Project management software creates one centralized hub so that the users can comment on tasks or work items. If not used, users will have to take the communication over lengthy email threads.
- Creating and scheduling meetings help to block the users' calendars and get them available for the meeting. Project management software also helps to take down meeting minutes, keep track of what was discussed, and share them across.
5. Deploy a Robust Project Management Software
It is clear that project management software
is essential for the success of any website design project. Below are a few essential items you must insist on:
- Features of the project management software
You should invest in software that can manage projects end-to-end— starting from initiation to the closing of the project.
Many make the mistake of choosing cheap project management software, which proves to be of less use to the company. It is advised to try out the trial versions of multiple softwares available in the market and get feedback from your team. Always invest in a robust project management software.
- On-premise or cloud solution
Most modern solutions are deployed on the cloud, and it is highly recommended. Gone are the days when people used to reply on on-premises solutions like Team Foundation Server, MS Project, SharePoint, etc. But if the organization or the client is stringent on being on-prem, then you may not have a choice.
- Uptime guarantee and data backup
It mainly applies to cloud solutions. Most of the solutions offer a 99.99% uptime, and anything above 99% is typically excellent. Data back and data security are essential features to ask.
Most of the tools have a live chat or a ticketing system for support. If you are handling critical projects, it is advisable to invest in premium support.