So, you’ve decided you need a new website this year? Read on to find out how you can keep costs low and stick to a timeframe when working with a website developer.
Let’s face it, creating a website is daunting for many people. Deciding on functionality, making sure it is scalable, stable, fast and accurately reflects your organisation’s objectives is no small feat.
Particularly once you begin content loading, you’ll think of many new ideas for your site - so be wary of scope creep if you don’t want your budget or timeframe to blow out.
Scope creep [skohp kreep] v. 1. The unexpected increase of project specifications, rules or parameters during the project’s process. 2. The result of project mismanagement or misunderstanding. 3. As a result of new ideas beyond the project briefing or IA phase (in website development).
As a digital producer here at Mudbath, I see many projects through from the design to content phase. In my experience, here are the five best ways you can avoid scope creep and project-manage effectively to get your digital project live in the best way possible.
My top 5 tips to ensure your digital project delivers on time and budget constraints
1. Know your content
Sometimes the timelines of a project can be pushed back while the site is loaded with content. A clear vision of the content you want from the outset can mean you can enlist a copywriter or source images earlier in the process, i.e. once your Information Architecture (IA) has been completed. A few good questions to ask yourself here are:
- Do you already have content for the site?
- What do you want your content to say?
- What do you want your audience to do with your site? Are there any Calls to Action (CTA's) - i.e. what is the button on your page asking them to do: sign up, get in touch, etc.
- Do you already have images or do you need some taken or otherwise sourced?
2. Understand the design
Scope Creep can occur when content or items don’t work well within the constraints of the design.
When reviewing a design, think about the images that you have, and what headings/sections you need to accommodate in the design. Ask yourself:
- Do you have services or products with unusually long names?
- Are there areas in the design with consistent content, e.g columns next to each other? Are you happy to conform text to certain areas?
- Is your site going to grow and affect your navigation?
- If you already have images, will they fit with the placeholders in the design?
3. Spend time thinking about your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is an oft-used term in project management. It is the minimum functionality required for the launch of your digital project. In essence, it means you don’t need to have absolutely everything included in your project at launch. Additional functionality can be added through a phased approach following the launch and once you can ascertain some user feedback.
- When first thinking about what you want on your site, think about your users, and more specifically, what they need to be able to access/do on your website.
- Can any non-essential items be released in subsequent phases after launch to allow you to launch earlier?
- Is there an item that is better waiting for your site to gain more traffic before implementing?
- What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)? How can this be included in your MVP? What problem is your website solving for your visitors?
4. All the little things add up
Although asking to move one button slightly more to the left or adding extra space here and there are tasks that may only take 5m of time, they do add up.
Ask yourself if that change will ultimately affect the bottom line of your business.
- Is there a much larger change that you would rather effect, vs all the little things?
- Is it better to wait until you have several little things to change then address them altogether?
Agency partners (like Mudbath) can sometimes enter a 'support' agreement, where we can devote a number of hours per month to site changes and optimisations sent through on an ad-hoc or batched basis. Beware though, not every web development agency offers this service, and you may pay a premium for any change requests.
5. Have a clear brief before you start out
Don’t lose sight of your original goal in the project management process. A good website developer will remind you of your original objectives and USP throughout the project to help avoid scope creep, and to give you the best chance of successfully completing your project.
- What is the main goal you want to achieve with your site?
- Have you written your goal?
- How will your site be better than your competitors’ sites?
If you’re stuck with your project scope and not sure how to progress your website development or need some help understanding your MVP, please contact us for a confidential discussion.