In the world of web development and design, everyone likes to think of the best-case scenarios. It’s more fun to imagine what could be possible with a brand-new website. And it’s often more productive. Fear can be a deterrent. Dwelling on potential mistakes or problems can steal your focus. You won’t be able to see the opportunities that are right in front of you. You can’t fix something that doesn’t exist.
Despite this, we still ask our clients to think ahead. What could go wrong during the discovery and project planning phases? Anything that requires a large investment of time or money should be well thought out. Risk management is essential for large website projects. We want to avoid loss as much as possible. What parts of the project are worth the effort? By figuring out what could go wrong, we can plan for the unknown. In some cases, we can even prevent it.
What kind of risks should you watch out for with your web development project? Here are a few we try to be wary of.
What will happen to your project if work takes longer than expected? Your creative firm could fall behind. Members of your team could be unable to provide content or feedback. These are two examples of scenarios that can cause major hold ups. Without necessary information, everything can sit at a stand still. If you’re working on a tight deadline, such a halt can have long term consequences.
Building a flexible schedule at the onset can help when time management issues arise. As much as we want to avoid mistakes, you can not work on the assumption that nothing will go wrong. When you run into a roadblock, what will be your plan? Will it be better for you to delay the launch of your website? Should you release a scaled-down version online instead? Being aware of your options, should your schedule derail. Leaving some wiggle room and having a Plan B will keep your project moving forward.
Projects That go Over Budget
Do you have room in your budget to accommodate any cost overruns? That’s important to know, particularly if you decide to add new features, pages, or ideas as you go. During the planning phase of your project, dig deep into the research. Having a clear understanding of your user’s needs and your company’s goals will help. What components of the website matter most? Prioritizing your needs and wants will allow you to make smart, budgetary decisions.
Be aware that new ideas may develop during the project. Or your team may discover more issues that need resolution. Can your budget handle such changes? Decide in advance how you want to address unforeseen adjustments. This will lessen the monetary pains of any surprises.
Big Changes in Creative Direction
Web development projects are complex and strenuous. Changing course mid way can seem ludicrous. But, it’s not completely unheard of. Though rare, clients will want to switch strategies well after work has commenced. Despite significant progress, they want to implement a completely different design. Would your project be able to survive such a dramatic turn around?
Proposing major changes can alter budgets and schedules alike. It can also affect team morale and be a mental strain. If you know where your priorities lie, you’ll still be able to get there, even if you end up taking a new path. A laser sharp focus on your ultimate goals can navigate any shifts in the plan.
Unfortunately, you can never know exactly what your competition is thinking. But, it’s possible they’re planning something that will alter your web design. It could also affect your online marketing strategy. The actions of your competitors could come light well after work on your website has begun. Despite the direction you’re going in, their work could cause yours to change course.
If that happens, there might be tough choices to make. How much stock do you put into what your competitors are doing? If you believe their plans will be a detriment to yours, how do you adjust? Some companies may choose to pick up the speed and be the first out the door with a new feature. Others might want to do the opposite of what their competitors are doing. As always, if you know your priorities, the path there will be clear, no matter what arises.
New Regulatory Guidelines
Certain industries have very stringent guidelines about reporting and compliance. The financial, medical, and credit-processing fields must adhere to specific rules. They are not alone. Governments also have numerous, and sometimes complicated, regulations to follow. Therefore, their websites must fall in line with these requirements.
Policies, though, can change. Sometimes they are gradual. There is plenty of advance notice that a new law will soon go into effect. For example, government websites had years to be in 508 compliance. There was plenty of time to add the new developments before the regulations became law. It’s possible to anticipate changes in certain policies and prepare for them. However, it’s always possible new regulations could force you to adapt on the spot. Sudden changes are rare but not impossible. Be sure to stay up to date with any regulations your site must comply with.
Organizations often face changes in leadership. This naturally affects a project’s decision-making tree. This could mean that existing preferences and priorities could go out the window. New leaders often come with new ideas. Maintaining realistic expectations will help as your project changes gears. Consistent and clear communication will also be your friend.
Leadership changes are not the only staff shake ups that can affect your project. The loss of any team member can require adjustments or alter the work. Big web development projects take time. Try to anticipate any turnover that might affect your project before it’s completed.
It’s unlikely that you’ll run into any of these issues during your web development project. In fact, it’s not all that probable you’ll encounter several of them. But, thinking in advance about the issues that might arise gives you an advantage. While you’re building a new website, you can focus on just that. You’ll be better prepared to overcome the challenges you thought about. Even better, you’ll be ready for the ones that didn’t even occur to you to begin with.
Want to work with a web development partner who can help you prepare for anything? Contact Atlantic BT today to learn about our work for corporations, universities, government agencies, and nonprofits.