Building a website is certainly not a one-size fits all solution. It’s easy to see that a complex online shop that syncs with stock control and accounting systems will be more complex than a 5-page place holder website. Or, a custom user system built from the ground up will need more planning that installing an off-the-shelf plugin. Add in to the mix that not all websites are new builds, and are often improvements or adaptations to existing systems, it’s clear that each project we undertake needs different types and levels of planning.
Comprehensive project analysis
First and foremost, we need to understand the project in hand. This means we need to listen to the client carefully and often look at all available resources, including code, behind the scenes. We can also look at past correspondence to see why previous decisions have been made, and there is sometimes a bit of research involved if anything is unfamiliar.
It’s imperative that we do not start looking for a solution until we understand the problem.
Strategic planning and road mapping
Once we know the problem and goals, we can figure out a way to get there, along with milestones, timescales and deliverables.
This usually isn’t straight forward with complex projects as there are often several possible paths, each with a different strategy. A good example here would be whether we build on an existing system, or create one from scratch.
We need to set realistic expectations for both ourselves, and the client, as well as ensuring the plan is flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen circumstances, to ensure the project keeps on track.
It identifies the necessary resources, defines roles and responsibilities, and sets realistic expectations for all stakeholders involved. We must ensure that the plan is flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen circumstances while adhering to the client's overall vision.
With really complex tasks, or ones with many unknowns, it may be necessary to have a paid-for feasibility study within one or both of the above tasks.
Often tasks need to be started in order to see how complex or difficult they are, or even if they are plausible, and this can often take a while. It’s of utmost importance that we explain the process, and what we expect to find to the client, so that we can manage their expectations.
Similar feasibility studies can be used where we have a project with little, or no specification, for example where the client isn’t aware of the options, or the project is investigative, such as a website that has been hacked.
Assembling the right team
Large and complex projects require a diverse range of skills and expertise. We carefully assemble a multidisciplinary team that comprises web developers, designers, project managers and marketers.
We ensure that each team member possesses the necessary skill set and experience to contribute effectively to the project's success, ensure that their own personal timelines fit in with that of the project, and create clear communication channels and regular internal meetings to help foster collaboration and synergy among team members.
Agile project management
Adopting an agile project management approach is crucial when handling complex projects. An agile methodology allows us to break down the project into smaller, manageable tasks or sprints. Regular iterations and feedback loops help identify and address any issues or deviations early on. Agile project management ensures that the project remains on track, delivers incremental value, and allows for adjustments based on evolving client requirements.
Robust communication and client collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration between our team and our client are vital to successfully navigating large and challenging projects. We establish regular touchpoints, providing project updates, seeking feedback, and addressing any concerns promptly. Active client involvement throughout the project lifecycle fosters transparency, builds trust, and ensures that the final outcome aligns with our client's expectations.
We put suitable systems in place ensuring that client communication is straight forward, and can be tracked.
Quality assurance and testing
Maintaining the highest quality standards is a top priority for any significant project. We implement rigorous QA processes, including extensive testing and bug tracking, at various stages of development. This approach helps identify and rectify any issues early on, ensuring a robust and error-free final product.
Continuous learning and improvement
We have been building websites for 22 years, but every large and complex project presents a valuable opportunity for us learn and improve our processes. Once the project is successfully delivered, we conduct a thorough post-mortem analysis, evaluating what worked well and identifying areas for improvement. These insights are integrated into future projects, enabling us to refine our strategies and enhance our overall performance.
Tackling large and complex projects requires a combination of careful planning, skilled teamwork, effective communication, and a commitment to delivering exceptional results.
Our ability to analyse project requirements, create a strategic plan, assemble the right team, and implement agile project management practices sets the foundation for success.
By maintaining open lines of communication with clients, upholding stringent quality standards, and embracing continuous improvement, we can navigate complex projects with confidence, delivering outstanding digital experiences to our clients.
If you have a project that is not straight forward, please get in touch.
We are Webbed Feet, we love complex projects!