Top 5 Elements of Successful Web Development Projects

You’ve finally made it! After all the ups and downs of building your vision, getting team buy-in, and reviewing vendor bids, you’ve signed on the dotted line and you’re ready to start your web development project. Everyone wants their project to be successful, but what’s the pattern among successful projects? I’ve seen enough projects to notice some trends. In order to get on the path to success—and stay there—here are the top 5 things to keep in mind.

1. Be Your True Self

Among oceans of paperwork and mountainous deadlines, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that really matter in life and that make us who we are. We’re all real people with unique skills, interests, and perspectives. It’s those differences that fuel teamwork, if we’re willing to let them show.

An effective team is built on a foundation of trust, which involves a balance of vulnerability and respect. Vulnerability means sharing your ideas and opinions openly, even if others may disagree. Respect means acknowledging each team member’s strengths and weaknesses—including your own—so if a discussion doesn’t end in your favor, you can still be content with the team’s final decision. It’s much easier to behave this way if you’re not trying to maintain a tough, corporate exterior.

This is what we believe in and support at The Atom Group.  We’ve found that projects run much more smoothly when we’re all open with one another. So bring that good attitude, open mind, and sense of humor that undoubtedly are all part of your real personality. Be your true you!

Trust is foundational to a team’s success.

From The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

2. Share a layperson’s understanding of your business

Start with the basics: What does your company do? What value do you bring to your customers, or what problem are you trying to solve for them? If you’ve ever flipped the TV channel to the halfway point of a movie, you’ll understand that missing the first few minutes of any story, presentation, or argument is enough to completely disorient you for the rest of its duration. However, once you’ve got that initial context, it’s an entirely different story, and you’re excited to see what happens next.

The same is true in with web development projects. When two (or more!) teams come together from different industries, there’s often a language barrier. People aren’t necessarily going to know the jargon of your business right off the bat. If the basics fly over everyone’s heads, they’ll be struggling to orient themselves, or worse, making false assumptions. You’ve got to provide a foundational understanding in words everyone can understand.

At Atom, we realize that you’re the expert when it comes to your business, just as we’re the experts in our business. Reaching a common point of reference reduces team friction and sparks creativity, which will inspire truly innovative solutions. In the long-term, the more we understand your business, the greater the relevancy and quality of the end product.

3. Focus on your customers

Scheduling, accounting, organizational hierarchy—these tools can help an organization thrive. But if we’re not careful, they can take on a life of their own, resulting in poor quality products born from hasty deployments, cheap outsourcing, and pet projects. If you’re making business decisions based on extraneous factors like these, you’re missing the point. Who are you really working for? Your customers! Your core motivation should be to produce something desirable and useful for your target audience. Success and profits will naturally follow.

Take some time to research your customers and jot down some notes. Who does your business serve? Usually there’s a few main groups of people interested in what you’re offering. Think of it like a pie chart: what percent of your audience falls into each group? For each group, what do you know about their characteristics and expectations?

Personas can be a handy reminder of who you’re really working for.

Source: https://developertodesigner.wo...

4. Create a clear project mission statement

Every team needs a central rallying point to inform decisions and keep us all moving in the same direction. This is particularly important when designing an MVP. Each feature must pass the mission statement test: is it necessary in order to achieve the true goal of this product?

Your mission statement should be one, concise sentence that communicates the core purpose of your product or service. I’m not talking about “we want to increase revenue by 20% in 2016”. It should be something idealistic like “this product exists to bring people together and build relationships” or “this service exists to eliminate illiteracy and school dropout rates”.

Once the team understands and agrees on it, the mission statement should become the driving force behind every decision that is made as the product evolves. Even if it feels redundant, repeat the mission statement at the start of each team meeting, so it stays fresh in everyone’s mind and reminds us why we’re all here.

5. Define measures of short-term success

Everything the team works on together will ultimately be motivated by your mission statement. But, as you tackle your first big challenge, how will you know when you’ve overcome it? Break down your ultimate, long-term mission into multiple, short-term goals. This is where we step down from the idealistic, bird’s-eye view, and define an achievable, short-term goal. increase leads or conversions; reduce support requests; inspire positive feedback, or even just be the first among your competitors to release that next big idea.

Simply being able to declare something “done!” has benefits from a psychology, physiology, and productivity standpoint. But, even more importantly, smaller, intermediary goals provide regular opportunities to collect user feedback and change tactics if necessary. The smaller the chunks of work you release to your customers, the quicker you can benefit from ROI, and the more likely the relevance of your upcoming releases.

Give it a Try!

These aren’t necessarily the only things you can do to make your project successful, but excluding any of these five items could dramatically hinder your innovation, productivity, or profitability. So try these out, see where they lead, and let me know how it turns out!