After you’ve agreed on all the processes with a client and you signed the contract, it’s time for the project organization.
Through this article, I will give you an example from my experience.
Create a project timeline and integrate it into your project management tool
In an agreement you signed, usually, there is a deadline or estimation of the duration of the project (for example, 45 working days). On the other side, you should protect your agency because you sell hours. If your estimation is 45 working days, you must do everything you can to deliver a project within a deadline. Usually, the next project waiting after that period. This is “agency life,” correctly “life.” 🙂
Before you start with timeline creation, you should define all tasks, subtasks, and milestones by category (design, development, content, SEO…).
My suggestion is that you define estimations for all tasks, and then you proceed to group them under proper milestone. For example:
Split for instance Design milestone into tasks: Hi-Fi Wireframes, Mockup Homepage, Other pages.
Define estimation for each task.
When you’ve defined estimation for all tasks under design milestone, you should create a timeline for each task. However, be careful, there are variables which impact timeline. As you can see, I’ve put six days for a task where estimation is only 15 hours (approx. 2 working days). Why? Because there is always a task gap (holidays, missing information, creative process, waiting for the client’s response, weekends…). In the end, this will be 15 hours, but a timeline will be more than two days.
Next task is Homepage Mockup (colors – mood board ). As you can see, there is a task dependency. Without complete and approved Hi-Fi Wireframes, there is no step ahead!
Also, it was an optimistic scenario, but you should always count on changes from a client’s side or delayed response from them. Here is a changed and more realistic situation:
- More iteration included (client’s changes included)
- Possible delay in client’s feedback
- Other (there are a lot of other things that could happen during a project)
Finally, we have a realistic timeline for a design milestone. Create other milestones in the same way.
How can you define a realistic timeline? In my opinion, that part depends on your experience, and I would like to suggest PERT estimation for accurate project (tasks) estimation.
Add team members and define responsibilities
It is essential to determine task assignees and communicate well their responsibilities. Of course, that part depends on your team structure and capabilities. It is not the same if we work with the senior or junior developer. My experience is that you should always “put on paper” all the details about task responsibilities. Why?
Trust me, one wrong understanding could increase the project’s cost, and deadlines could be endangered.
Communicate with a client about critical points and impact on a project deadline
Usually, if you work directly with clients, there is always room for misunderstanding. In my opinion, the main task of the project manager is to explain to the customer (client) the importance of critical points. Usually, clients think that their involvement in a project isn’t necessary.
For example, your team finished wireframes, and you need client’s approval. Sometimes your client isn’t always a decision maker and that part could last more than you imagined (one month, real situation from my project). So what happens? You booked your resources, but they are waiting for the client’s response. You are losing money, and this is a typical situation in web design agencies today. How to solve that problem? Communicate this with your client and try to bill additional hours.
Good luck! 🙂