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How to Plan a Successful Website Development Project


Hello, I’m Tom Kelly, Chief Operating Officer at Marcel Digital. 

If you're a B2B company embarking on a web development project, you're in the right place. With 15 years of experience as a COO and Project Manager, I've seen it all so let's dive into the essentials of planning a successful web project.

For many in positions like yours, it's likely there will be a third party involved in delivering on this project for you and it’s crucial to align with your agency from the outset. 

One of the biggest risks to your project is scope creep and misaligned expectations. I always like to talk about “The Priority Triangle” as a way for everyone to be honest about how to think about projects of a certain size. For those who are not familiar, this is the idea that you have three variables, speed, cost and quality - you can have two of those, but not three. If you want high quality and you want it fast, it won't be cheap, if you want cheap and high quality, it won't be fast and so on. Being honest about this will serve you well. Negotiating aggressively on price while expecting high functionality rarely ends well.

Clearly define the project scope in your contract. Include as much detail in your features list as well as any specific functionality you need. It’s also wise to have a contingency fund for unplanned changes, ensuring your budget is prepared for the unknown.

Set realistic timelines. If everyone comes to the table and works to find a timeline that is realistic whilst at the same time meets the goals of the business, this will very much help set you on a path to success. Being upfront about what drives your deadlines helps prevent unnecessary pressure and potential failure. 

If a proposal seems surprisingly inexpensive, scrutinize it. Remember, ‘the poor man always pays twice.’ Ensure it covers everything you need to avoid future regrets.

Engage your team from the start. Clear communication and involvement keep everyone motivated and aligned. Use tools like RACI to clarify roles and responsibilities if there are large number of stakeholders involved.

Regular check-ins and updates help manage risks and keep the project on track. Ensure your project management process includes these touchpoints. Effective communication is key. Regular meetings with the whole team ensure everyone is informed and any concerns are promptly addressed. Be transparent about what you know and don't know.

Choosing the right Content Management System (CMS) is critical. Do thorough research, consult experts, and involve your team in the decision. We recommend Umbraco for its speed, security and user-friendly features. Validate your choice by reviewing case studies, speaking with other users, and testing the CMS thoroughly before making a decision.

Ensure you have the right team in place. Include designers, developers, project managers, and quality assurance specialists. Their expertise is crucial for timely and satisfactory project delivery.

In conclusion, a well-planned web development project minimizes risks and maximizes success. Follow these tips, and partner with a trusted team. If you need help and are looking for a partner that will keep you on the right path, please get in touch as we’d love to help.

Thank you

  • Web Development

  • Digital Marketing

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