I recently received a call from a company that I used to do business with at my old job. The person that called me handles the territory of Ohio and Eastern Michigan and wanted to meet with me about a possible opportunity to work together. I agreed to meet and listen to what he had to say. Continue reading
Managing any web project (or any other project for that matter) can be a challenge without the proper S.E.T. of skills. The entire S.E.T. is needed in it’s most basic form in order to be successful. So Mike, what is the S.E.T.?
I Never Thought You’d Ask
The S.E.T. came about from a conversation I was having with my wife one evening. My wife is not only crazy smart and beautiful, she is also a Six Sigma Black Belt. If you’re not familiar with Six Sigma, it is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driving towards six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process — from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service. Thanks to www.isixsigma.com for the definition. My wife is always thinking of ways to make processes leaner by finding the quickest least wasteful ways to accomplish a task. She’s obviously a great resource for me. We came up with this simple acronym that spells out the most basic foundation to effective Project Management.
So S.E.T. Stands For…
Structure / Organization
Expectations That Are Clear
Tools To Correctly Perform The Job
Now we’ll tackle these one by one.
Structure / Organization
This in its simplest form is a clear and organized plan of action. The plan should contain goals that should be achieved and the dates of the expected completion. Every part of the plan should be oriented to the “outcome” or goal of the plan. It should be as simple as possible and easy for those at all levels to clearly understand.
Or should I say Clear Expectations? This is an important piece that goes for both the production team and the client. Without clear expectations from both sides you will have trouble down the road. I’ve seen it happen time and again. The team needs to know what part they are in charge of and exactly what’s expected of each member. It needs to be super clear. Now the more difficult part, client expectations. The client needs to be informed in the very beginning of what they will be responsible for providing. Whether it’s copy, images, videos, etc. they need to know upfront. They also needs a time-line of your tasks and when you expect them to complete their tasks. You also need to keep communicating with the client throughout the process so they know that you are hitting your goals along the process. An informed client is a happy client.
The production team needs the proper tools to perform the task. Basic things like the right software, content from the client, etc. They also need the Project Manager to remove any roadblocks so that they can do their jobs as effectively as possible. Screwdrivers weren’t meant to hammer nails. Give your talented team the bast chance at doing their best.
Basic and simple I know…
but it’s important. The foundation of your house is just made of simple blocks and mortar, but if done wrong will cause the entire house to fail. These are simple building blocks to a great project. Our goal should be the Six Sigma Goal: The goal is to increase profits by eliminating variability, defects and waste that undermine customer loyalty.
I’ve written about C.A.U.S.E. website design methodology in earlier posts of this site in greater detail, but I’ve gotten requests to post more of a “nutshell” version. I’ve done so below for a quick read that still gets the idea across. If you’d like to read my more detailed explanations you can start here.
Developing Websites With a C.A.U.S.E.
What does C.A.U.S.E. stand for?
Cross-Browser Compatible Websites
Search Engine Performing Websites
C is for Cross-Browser Compatible
What browser are you using to view this website?
What devices will your customers be using to view your website?
We never know if a visitor to our website is using a PC or a MAC, maybe even a Blackberry® or an iPhone®. How will your website look? Will it even work at all?
Don’t Assume Because It Looks Good To You That It Looks Good To Everyone.
It’s extremely important check your website to make sure it looks and acts correctly on virtually anything a website can be viewed on. Your goal should be to allow your website to be visible to the largest audience possible. It’s simple, more people mean more business!
A is for Accessibility
We’re talking “Corporate Accessibility”.
This is super important if your business would like to do business with large organizations. Big companies typically have many computers accessing the web through their Intranet and most of them will not be loaded with the latest software.
Why is this important?
Is your website built using “frames”? How about “Flash™”? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, your website may not be viewable to those clients that may be your most profitable.
Companies with many computers typically rely on their I.T. Dept. to update software and plug-ins, and this takes time. What if the I.T. Dept. hasn’t gotten around to updating the decision makers computer yet?
U is for Usability
Once visitors get to your website can they use it?
Getting visitors to your site is only half the battle. What happens if the website is such a mess they can’t find the information they’re looking for? They leave!
Have you ever lost your car keys? Was it frustrating? If you had a spare set of keys you probably just grabbed those. Well, that spare set of keys may well be your competitors website. Visitors who can’t find what they’re looking for get frustrated and leave.
What a shame to have potential customers leave after all of the hard work (and possibly money spent) in order to get them there. You want your website to offer visitors the information they need to get in contact with you.
S E is for Search Engines
Build it and they STILL may not come.
Just because you have a website doesn’t mean anyone is going to find it.
Even if you have the coolest website on the internet, if people can’t find you, You Don’t Exist!
You want your website built in a way that the search engines love. It’s not necessary to use any “Black Hat” search engine optimization methods that may end up getting you banned from the search engines, you also must have realistic expectations.
It’s most important that you build your website in a way that will allow it the best possibility to achieve the highest position on the search engines. That’s the first step, after that you analyze and adjust. It’s a continuous process.
I hope it was. Feel free to post any comments or additions to creating a winning website plan.