Requires a small portfolio of customer sites

Avoid mistakes in project management

This article was originally published on May 3rd, 2016.
That was quite a while ago. The content may be out of date.

1. The offer

The customer is a perfect fit, the project sounds exciting and would be a great asset for the portfolio. There is not much budget, so we are making a particularly cheap offer. After all, we have experience and know how to carry out a project efficiently.

LESSON 1 Driving the ideal line does not work
The idea of ‚Äč‚Äčcompensating for a budget that is too small with efficiency and speed is a stupid idea. Because in the rarest of cases you can get through the curve on the ideal line. In reality, the road conditions are only average and you have to reduce your speed. Without a buffer, a project will not be financially profitable.

2. The timing

The time recording always runs, but it is not defined which sub-steps are to be reached and when. So we and the customer lack orientation.

One of our last projects, for example, lasted three years, the plan was 6 months. The longer the project ran, the more project management costs were incurred and other costs also came under pressure.

LESSON 2 No project without a schedule
There has to be a time schedule for every project. The planning is recorded in the calendar or in the project management tool. This planning can only be internal at first, but I can react at the moment when something gets out of hand.

Fixed billing periods are also important (monthly, every two months). So I can check the status of each project at regular intervals. Are we still on schedule? How much of the budget have we used so far? Have there been any additional requirements that have not yet been planned for in the budget? What budget do we set for this, how do we prioritize the new tasks?

3. The capacities on the customer side

A website is always created in a team. The team not only includes the agency's designers and developers, the contact persons on the customer side are also part of it.
Customer teams are set up very differently: At a company that has a large online shop, I work with a group of experienced online editors. But that is rather the exception, often one person alone bears the entire responsibility.

LESSON 3 Realistic Assessment of Capacities
It's important to have a clear picture of how much the team can do on the customer side. The project managers there have different prior knowledge, have to take care of other tasks at times or are absent for a longer period of time. This can cause delays.

4. The learning curve

Often the old website is getting a bit old and the editorial system that the customer has worked with so far comes from a different time. WordPress is a new experience for many customers.

LESSON 4 There must be time to study
Depending on how much prior knowledge the customer has and what type of learner you have in front of you, a considerable part of the project management flows into the handling of fundamental WordPress questions. This is also a factor that is reflected in the costs.

5. Texts and images

Some customers have enough text material in their drawer, but the structure is often lacking. A large part of the work on the content therefore flows into the ordering, sorting and weighting of content.
And texts have to be produced. Texts that hit the right note and appeal to the target group. This requires experience and craftsmanship.

LESSON 5 Good content doesn't just fall from the sky
Personnel and financial resources must be available for texts and images, either on the agency side or on the customer side.

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