Web Application Development, User Interface, and User Experience Design Constulting
Baltimore, Maryland | 443-622-9161
August Interactive’s professional project managers and consultants can help you navigate and develop your next website or web-based application. Generally we do this for our projects, but we can be available to help save a project that is on the brink of disaster or help guide you through more a complex application as a third-party manager.
Like any major construction project, it is important to spend the appropriate due diligence on planning specifications, architectural drawings, and requirements documentation. This is the most important part of any project, and yet it is often the most neglected. Most newcomers to the internet development world want to jump right into design and development with not so much as a cursory nod to the discovery and planning stage. Short term, this seems like a good way to save money. Long term though, it is a recipe for disaster. Would you really hire a builder to start construction on your home with a handful of sketches on a napkin?
Laying the proper foundation for a successful website or web-based application means paying attention to the details and starting construction with the most reliable contractors and materials. Everything needs to be ready: architectural documents, great conceptual design, fully produced production designs, photography, content, technology specifications, construction schedule, testing and quality assurance plans, delivery schedule, and launch and post-launch maintenance plans. If any of these items are missing or not properly prepared before construction, you are leaving your project open to any number of development and delivery problems.
Developing your website or application is going to take the cooperation and team work of multiple individuals: site architects, content writers, designers, CSS/HTML developers, and programmers. The general contractors, or in this case, the project manager’s job is to keep everyone on task, on schedule, and on budget. Generally, the site architecture, content and full production designs are completed, then the site moves into HTML/CSS coding. If the site is static, then you are almost done, and ready for launch. If the website is a custom application or CMS-based application (think Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla) then the expertise of a project consultant becomes extremely valuable. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of your team and the technologies to be used are crucial. Because once you get started, you have committed yourself, and the only path to a successful delivery is a full understanding of what is possible and what is not. Your project consultant can keep your expectations and the expectations of the team in line.
It is inevitable that your project will have a series of change requests, updates, and upgrades along the way. So you’ve changed your mind, you want granite instead of formica. Fine, most likely this change is easily done. However, be prepared for the type of changes that mean some heavy lifting has to be done. Need to move a door or window? It’s going to cost you. “But I didn’t know I would need a door there.” Not the programmer’s fault. Now you’re in a pickle. A good project consultant will help you through the rough spots when there is no avoiding them, but more importantly, they will help you circumvent these issues by not exposing you to the risk in the first place.
So your website is done, and you are ready to launch. What does your homeowner’s policy look like? Who is responsible for hosting, server management, site maintenance, back-ups, software updates, emergency site crashes? The responsible individuals may or may not be the same contractors that just developed your website. Best you know this before you get to the “go live” stage. A project consultant can assist you in making the right choices for the proper deployment, maintenance and management of your website.
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