You’ve got this great idea for a web project – you know it will benefit the people who have to do all the input of X and your end users will think it’s super swanky. You engage Company Y to do the design and develop the project. You work closely with Company Y and learn some really cool stuff. You think the project rocks. You go into testing. The people who input X scratch their heads. They ask for changes. Company Y charges for those changes. The project launches. End users stumble and call your customer support team. Company Y makes changes to meet user need. Company Y charges for those changes. The project is finally complete, you are 35% over budget and the customer support team is exhausted. What happened?
A project is only as good as the thinking behind it. Vendor partners like Delphic Sage can take credit for only a portion of the planning. We gather requirements, we plan the architecture of the site, we make it attractive, we consider online marketing needs – including SEO – and we give you a robust CMS with oodles of control over the site content. What we can hint at, but cannot control, is the need to involve all areas of the business that will touch the project throughout planning and post-launch.
Over the years, we’ve worked with some pretty interesting, smart and sophisticated clients – yet they sometimes struggle to identify the right internal team members. Here are a few suggested roles and/or business areas that should be included in your planning – and why:
- Internal Project Lead – S/he needs to be able to track progress and keep team members in the loop on the inside. This person should be the main point of contact for your vendor partner. S/he can distribute info internally, as needed…so s/he needs to be organized and empowered to move things forward.
- Sales – Maybe you call it sales and maybe you don’t, but someone at your company is responsible for generating business and/or representing the company to the public. Sales personnel often have the best insight into customer need, pain points, etc. that can inform the project focus.
- Marketing – Often marketing folks are tasked with developing content, updating content, developing sales materials to promote the new project, etc., so without them on board, you risk not having ongoing support, proper promotion…and the list goes on.
- IT – Not a good group to leave out. Even if your project is not being hosted internally, IT should know what is out there and where. They may have a preferred platform or you may need to hook into systems they do support – all info you and your vendor partner should be aware of.
- Operations – If you are considering launching a project that has implications for the way things are done internally – such as process, fulfillment, customer service, etc., operations folks need to be in the loop. They’ll know the process, as it stands today, inside out so you can avoid skipping a step that could prove costly.
In short, you need a cross-discipline team who is invested in the project and led by someone who can get things done. Always consider political implications, as proper buy-in for your project will ensure better adoption rates, better communication and more positivity about the project in general. Getting the right people involved early will prevent you from making potentially costly changes to the project as you roll it out.
Happy planning, everyone!