Website design shouldn't be frustrating! Learn three ways to make your next project easier.

One of the most common things we hear from new clients is how frustrated they were with their last website design project. It often starts with poor communication—people feel like they are left in the dark by their website design firm. And then when they do hear from them, they hear that the project is over budget or behind schedule or are quite honestly blindsided with a design that doesn’t match their needs.

 It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, at TBH Creative we believe it should NEVER be that way.

Team planning meeting

Our years of experience have helped us develop a process that is flexible and even fun. (It’s true!) When done well, a project management process isn’t cumbersome. Instead, it reduces risk and delivers expected benefits at the end of the project. However, project management doesn’t happen in a silo. Even the strongest project manager can be stymied when members of the project team don’t follow through on expectations or when business demands delay work. Perhaps we should rephrase our philosophy like this: When done well, project management finds the team balance that reduces risk and delivers expected benefits at the end of the project.
Our philosophy to project management is just that: the balance between process and flexibility. 
We believe there is value in having a defined process to keep the project on track. We equally believe that each project needs some flexibility to allow for creativity, to account for changed circumstances and to accommodate the flow of business.

Look for a web development process that adequately covers your needs

Each website project is truly unique but they all have some common elements. Our process starts with those common elements and uses them as the core around which the customized process evolves:
  • Build the foundation
  • Develop content
  • Create design
  • Develop the website
  • Test the website
  • Train the team on content management
  • Launch the website
Those website project phases might seem to be in the wrong order. It’s worth noting that we take a content-first approach to our websites. The foundation and content dictate the design needs. Some projects need a great deal of custom design to accommodate their communication goals. Other projects are simpler and involve fewer steps in those phases. Our project management philosophy accounts for both. We have a firm process in place, and it works because it can be customized to each project’s needs.
"What I find so impressive about TBH Creative is their attention to detail beyond making a site look pretty. (I mean, they do make pretty sites, but their main focus is on understanding their customer’s strategic objectives before they even start a project.) I believe TBH has a strong grasp of what our company’s objectives are and because of that they are building a website that will not only create a better online experience for our customer, but will also provide us with a more efficient marketing tool to measure the site’s success.”
Kasey Prickel, Director of Marketing of OrthoIndy

The importance of flexibility in a website project

If there’s one thing any project manager knows it is to expect the unknown. Building in flexibility is more than just padding timelines. Building true flexibility means knowing the details of each process so that, on the fly, you can adjust the time spent in one phase to devote more time in another.

For example, one of our clients had multiple locations that would each need a profile page. As content was being developed it became apparent that those pages could require a lot of time and effort from both our writer and our client. Our project manager developed an information intake form. We sent that to each location and then used that form to draft the final content. That form served multiple purposes: it gave the designer a template for the content needs; it gave the organization an easy way to collect data; and it gave our content developer the information when she needed it to write the final pages.

Content forms aren’t always a part of our process but they were on that project. A flexible project management process is adaptable to the real work at hand. It looks for pitfalls before they happen and touches base with key players regularly so there are fewer surprises. That’s how project management can truly reduce risk and deliver results.

Brainstorming meeting

Monitor, monitor, monitor—aka who is watching your website development?

Our balanced project management approach only works if it is monitored. That monitoring goes two ways. First, it monitors the project at hand. Evaluating what is going well, what isn’t going well and adjusting accordingly. Second, it monitors how well the process helps complete the work. If we find ourselves always changing a phase’s tasks, it’s time to revisit that phase and adjust it.

Successful project management can’t be afraid of changing the process. Process for process’ sake doesn’t help anyone. Acknowledging when something isn’t working and taking steps to adjust the process is flexibility that results in more productivity.

It’s really about agile project management

If we wanted to be fancy, we could call our approach agile project management. For us, it’s enough to know that the balanced approach works well for our clients. We're small enough to tailor our process to the client's needs while being large enough to have an established process that we know leads to a successful result. We want to partner with our clients and develop long term relationships that help our clients get the most benefit from their website and online marketing. That goal guides our website development process—and even makes it enjoyable.

Looking for a website development firm that is easy to work with?

We’d love to learn more about your website project and show you how our process gives you a website that is developed on time and within budget. When you work with TBH Creative, you’ll find a partner that creatively addresses your needs, keeps you updated from start to finish so there’s no surprises, and works hard to exceed your expectations.
Let’s get started.

Barb

About the author | Barb Ruess

Barb is a project manager and content editor at TBH Creative and has worked online since there was such a thing. She uses her skills to manage development projects, organize websites, and create and edit content. She likes to blog about content writing, search engine optimization, and offer tips for a successful website project.

View more posts by Barb

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