What can you do to ensure web projects come in on-budget and on-time? Web projects are more cost-sensitive than ever, and quality is crucial to their success. In Part 1, we looked at how starting projects right can put them on track for success. In this article, we’ll look at keeping costs in check as work progresses.
In our first article on setting up projects for success, we shared insights from digital agency leaders and strategists. These focused on the importance of planning—defining the project goals and success—and good communication right from the start. The next step is managing costs during the project. What is our partners answer to this challenge? Focus on quality.
Website project managers know that at the outset of each project, things are rosy and wonderful. But at some point, challenges will stack up, and something has to give.
- Increase scope? Increase costs or lengthen timeline. If scope increases and new features are added, either the price has to go up, or the timeline must be extended.
- Want it fast? Lower the scope or increase costs. Likewise, if you want something done quickly, you will have to increase the budget, such as adding more staff or lowering the scope and quality of what can be done.
- Want the absolute highest quality? You need to increase the budget and give it more time. Planning a project with limited time doesn’t allow for adequate testing, for example.
In layman’s terms, your plumber or carpenter might tell you, “I can do the job good, fast, and cheap … pick two.”
However, this triangle doesn’t acknowledge a critical issue with web projects: If you skimp on quality now, the costs will sting you in the long run. There’s no way around this. Poor quality sites lead to bugs, downtime, slow performance, bad user experience, and increased customer support requests. That’s why we offer independent project reviews at any stage of your project to ensure you’re on the right track.
When we reached out to our partners, they offered advice on managing successful projects, delivering quality, and lowering costs:
- Ensure quality with usability testing and QA
- Leverage technology to reduce overhead costs
- Invest in usability for relaunches
- Training for project teams
- Work with qualified delivery partners
Let’s look at each one of these recommendations.
Quality assurance shouldn’t be an afterthought. Testing proactively reduces errors. Investing in user experience and usability testing saves money and increases ROI, such as making sure your site works well on mobile devices.
Work with digital agencies that build time-saving and error-reducing practices into their work. Automated testing tools can catch and prevent errors before they ever cause your customers any trouble. Our partner, Punkt.de wrote about how they test TYPO3 websites automatically to detect errors.
"Fixing problems during development is ten times more expensive than fixing them during the design phase.” Our partner Sitegeist points out that waste can be prevented with a focus on UX and usability testing.
Clients need to do their part, too. Without access to the project stakeholders and their feedback, it’s difficult for an agency to do its best work. “It gets hard to hit project milestones when the product owner isn't available to contribute much during the development or user acceptance testing phase,” says Sebastian Thomaskutty, Chief Strategy Officer & Partner, at PIT Solutions AG.
✅ Invest time and money in testing and QA from start to finish.
TYPO3 has unique features and a community of service providers that can help reduce costs.
For example, many companies manage multiple websites. Fixed costs are duplicated entirely for each website. With TYPO3’s multi-site capability, you can reduce this overhead considerably. Our partner, 3m5 has helped many customers upgrade and consolidate multiple installations into one application. They apply what they call “cross-project standards.” They write, “In our experience, this results in great synergy effects on the developer and user side.”
Some TYPO3 service providers have useful templated starter packages that suit projects with basic needs.
- T3quick.de - a quick starter package by dkd in Frankfurt.
- Jweiland.net’s “sample project”
- Toujou’s template websites are also maintained and updated.
But these off-the-shelf solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all. You might need to handle logistics, partnership programs, intranets, membership-based sites, etc. With that said, these packages are extensible and provide a good starting point for expanding later.
✅ Leverage the tools at your disposal to save money.
You might be thinking that it’s time to upgrade your TYPO3 site. Pay attention to user experience, usability, and quality assurance—it’s vitally important.
Intuitively, you’d think a relaunch would be easier than starting from scratch. It’s an existing property, a known product, or service. Surely this is familiar territory? Yet that makes the stakes even higher. Angela Lashbrook explained the strange psychological reactions users have in Why Everyone Always Hates Redesigns, Even When They’re Good. “Whenever a popular web interface gets any kind of significant visual change, a lot of people react with confusion, dismay, and even anger.”
Our partner Blindwerk explains that ‘website relaunches have many pitfalls’ and they identify mistakes, including poor usability, lack of redirects, and mobile display, which all affect usability. They recognize three challenges in relaunching a website or a webshop: technical, content, and “community and acceptance challenges.”
Our partner Schaffrath advises why launches and relaunches have to be handled quite differently. “If you have site users or admins, they will need everything working smoothly. “The current processes, everything they are used to, has to be running… The bigger the project, the greater the dangers.” Read: What exactly is a relaunch? And The 12 rules of a good website relaunch.
✅ Plan a relaunch with usability and quality at the forefront.
Misunderstandings can come from teams speaking different languages. If the product owners don’t “speak TYPO3” and understand its related technologies, it can slow things down.
Sebastian Thomaskutty, Chief Strategy Officer & Partner, PIT Solutions AG, suggests projects run more smoothly when product owners know TYPO3 backend editing. Often, individuals will have some experience with another CMS, and that might up misunderstandings. It also might put in limitations because they don’t understand the differences between other CMSs. Nitsan provides a comparison of the editing experience of TYPO3 v WordPress as an example.
Daniel Waschlewski, Senior Digital Manager at Jwied Digitalagentur explains why they offer help. “If there’s a lack of technical understanding on the customer side or no technical expertise in house, we provide a local employee who can directly support and control the project’s course with the customer. Especially for technically less-experienced customers, we usually offer classic project management. Many require close support for technically abstract problems.” This mentoring all helps avoid scope creep and change requests born of misunderstanding.
✅ Get training for product owners or ask your agency for project management.
If you need a qualified software delivery partner, that’s where we come in. We can match you to a partner in your region or the specialization you need. With the right experience and expertise, the right agency will be happy to help you make the most out of your project.
✅ Contact us to help you find the right partner.
Our thanks to everyone who contributed their knowledge and experience to this article.
- Lukas Rüegg, Managing Director, RTP GmbH
- Alexander Hornen, CEO, L.N. Schaffrath DigitalMedien GmbH
- Christoph Jochheim, Senior Digital Consultant, move:elevator GmbH
- Nitin Chauhan, CEO, NITSAN Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
- Daniel Waschlewski, Senior Digital Manager, Jwied Digitalagentur
- Sebastian Thomaskutty, Chief Strategy Officer & Partner, PIT Solutions AG
- Also referenced: 3m5 GmbH