Establishing a schedule for the many tasks involved in developing a website ensures that your site will be deployed on time. Since scheduling entails so many things when it comes to planning a website I will try to establish some of the large items that need to be scheduled, why they need to be scheduled and some rough guidelines for when the scheduling should take place.
Upon signing of a contract a first step is to plan a meeting with the client manager to establish the delivery schedule for the items in the contract. In order to ensure that all expectations are realistic and achievable this meeting needs to happen very early in the planning process. In creating the schedule deadlines should be agreed on for all deliverables to the client as well as identifying the party responsible for the delivery.
By going through this process the basic “road map” of how the contract will be fulfilled is agreed upon. This also helps to establish what resources are needed and when they will be needed in order to meet all of the time lines. Reviewing the schedule regularly with the client manager and adjusting it if necessary throughout the development process helps ensure your site is launched on time.
Part of the success of a campaign depends on scheduling the proper amount of time for the website to be open and available to users and communicating that end date clearly to users. The client manager ensures that the site is not shut off early or late, according to your planned shut down date. So, in addition to scheduling the creation and launch a site closure also needs to be established. Also part of campaign close is the finalizing of reports, identification of any information that needs to be relayed back to the client from the site, and the process for relaying that information back to the client. Especially in the case of payroll deduction; if the information transfer is not completed accurately or in a timely manner users will become frustrated and not want to continue their participation.
Once the site is finally closed a meeting needs to be setup with the client manager to discuss how the campaign went; the good and the bad, what went well, what didn’t and what could be done better for the next time. (If your site happens to be up year-round then there should be regularly scheduled meetings to discuss these types of things.)
Once identified items that need to be changed for the next campaign should be brought to the client manager’s attention as soon as possible in order to allow time for proper planning and for proposals to be created and reviewed thoroughly. Often there is a feature already in development that will fit your needs allowing us to pass on some cost savings over the cost of new feature development. With advance notice there is much that can be done.
For both new and well established clients scheduling is essential to maintaining a good relationship and keeping the communication lines open and active. Good communication helps both sides to be proactive when issues arise either on the client or vendor side or from a regulatory standpoint.
In closing, the best practice is to meet with your client manager as early and as often as possible to allow us to be responsive to your changing needs and to ensure that you are receiving from us the best possible product.