Good communication is the backbone of web project management.
This is especially true for any web development process, where many clients may feel “out of their element” in discussing web technologies. The simple fact that clients may not clearly understand what goes into the development of a website or web application may cause expectations to not match reality when it comes to budgeting, timeframes or resources. Used properly, good communication and meetings can help bridge the gap in understanding between a client and a web project manager.
Projects are more successful with good communication. There is a tendency with project managers to handle everything through email. Certainly, having a written dialog between the agency and client is vital and useful. However, there is a huge value in direct, human-to-human communications, which cannot be experienced through email alone. Personal contact can keep a project manager close the pulse and vision of the project, and the subtleties of human communication can help project managers build a deeper understanding of the client’s concerns, expectations and goals.
Certainly, there needs to be balance. Too many meetings can kill a creative process and slow production to a crawl. But using meetings as a tool can help web project managers drive the success and fluidity of a project.
Reasons why meetings help the project management process:
- Use meetings to remain in contact with project sponsors. Meetings can be a great way to keep everyone (including senior leadership) on the same page and in-line with project expectations
- Vision alignment: Remembering and addressing the core vision of the project can help set priorities and ensure the whole team (agency and client) focus on the right priorities. Sometimes, people can focus on small, insignificant details and miss the bigger picture.
- Process oversight: Meetings can help project managers become aware of the latest developments from all sides of a project–ensuring that nothing happens in an insular fashion. Becoming aware of changes and developments in a project or it’s environment can help a web project manager stave off problems before they occur.
- Keeping commitments: Meetings can drive positive peer pressure forcing people to be accountable for deadlines, scheduling and generally “getting things done.”
- Confidence of progress: Meetings help keep clients happy by making them feel like they know that progress is being made and there is a plan for getting the project done–meetings also reinforce this understanding. Progress reports are fine by email, but ultimately with time, clients can feel detached from a process and need to feel reassurance.
- Get support: Having everyone “around the same table” can help the project manager get support from their team, whether designers, developers or other production specialists. This context also helps improve the quality of the end product, as team members can approach the project with an understanding of the business goals and project purpose.
- Team spirit is a vital part of a project. Helping build camaraderie and spirit within a team helps drive innovation, creativity and dedication.