Embarking on a web project can be an exciting as well as a daunting undertaking. Many benefits can be derived from the completion of a successful web project, but often not without difficulties being encountered along the way. Understanding the types of difficulties that may arise and where they originate, can help web project teams better balance goals, requirements, and expectations against the costs and risks of a project.
In the following article, we discuss four factors that impact the difficulty of a web project.
The total amount of work required for the project
The total amount of work required to complete a web project is often underestimated, most often because too much focus is placed in one area, such as design, or important aspects such as information architecture, content creation, or data migration are overlooked entirely. On the other hand, some projects become bloated and overly difficult when unnecessary components are included.
To mitigate a project’s difficulty as well as understand how difficult a project may be, keep project work requirements to a minimum and thoroughly assess the difficulty of a project based on all work needed to complete a project.
The project team’s overall technical knowledge
The potential difficulty of a web project is greatly influenced by how much technical knowledge is available within a project team. Technical issues regarding selection and use of content management systems, setting up an appropriate hosting environment, managing website domains, or optimizing a website for SEO, require a breadth and depth of technical knowledge that goes beyond any one team member.
The greater the technical expertise possessed by a project team, the easier a web project will be. But understanding where technical knowledge is not available or uncertain and planning ahead for unexpected technical difficulties can have a large and positive impact on a project as well.
The number of decision makers
Web projects will often include more than one or several decision makers and, sometimes, each with an equal say in determining project goals and outcomes. While it may be comforting to know that multiple stakeholders are guiding a project, several decision makers, particularly when their goals conflict or diverge, can, in some cases, increase its difficulty.
While assessing “how many” decision makers is “too many” is itself difficult, planning ahead by, for example, agreeing upon a process beforehand to resolve differences, can greatly mitigate any difficulties encountered.
Understanding the type of web project being built
Web projects share many similarities, yet some stand out as markedly different. Determining whether a web project fits into the standard design and development process or requires a different beast all together, is key to understanding a project’s potential difficulty. For example, web projects involving social networking, SaaS, or eCommerce aspects can present a level of difficulty far beyond anything experienced building, say, a marketing website.
Understanding the factors that push some web projects into an entirely different category of “difficult” are key to guiding a project to a successful conclusion.
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