After you’ve agreed on all the processes with a client and you signed the contract, it’s time for the web design 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 working time. If your estimation amounts to 45 working days, you must do everything you can to deliver a project within that timeframe. Usually, the next project is waiting after that period. This cycle is what I like to call “agency life,” or more precisely, “life.” 🙂
Before you start with timeline creation, you should define all tasks, subtasks, and milestones by category (web design, development, content, SEO…).
My advice is, determine the estimates for all the tasks, then continue to group them under an adequate milestone. For example:
Split the design milestone into tasks: Hi-Fi Wireframes, Mockup Homepage, Other pages.
Determine the estimation for each task.
When you’ve defined the estimate for all the tasks under that, design milestone, you should create a timeline for each task. However, be careful, there are variables which impact the timeline. As you can see, I’ve designated six days for a task where the 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, etc.). In the end, this will be 15 hours, but a timeline will last more than two days.
The following task is Homepage Mockup creation (colors – mood board ). As you can see, there is a task dependency. Without complete and approved Hi-Fi Wireframes, there shouldn’t be any steps forward!
This was also an optimistic scenario, but you should always count on changes from a client’s side or delayed response from them. Here’s a modified, and a bit 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 the task assignees and communicate their responsibilities well. 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?
One misunderstanding could increase the project’s cost, and endanger the project’s deadlines.
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 the client’s approval. Sometimes your client isn’t always a decision maker, and that part could last more than you imagined (for like a month – a 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 with your client and try to charge the additional hours.
Good luck! 🙂