Podcast Episode #135

Website Project Management, with Dee Teal

Dee Teal
The Web Princess
Podcast Episode #135
Website project management
Website project management

Does the idea of website project management for large-scale projects scare the pants off you?

Fear not! You’ll be able to tackle any project after listening to today’s guest. Dee Teal is a Certified Scrum Master, full-time project manager for Human Made, and has been a WordPress enthusiast since 2011.

Today Dee and Cath cover project management at scale and look at the tools and techniques she recommends. Tune in for that and more on this week’s WP Elevation Podcast!

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Show Notes

Dee’s been in the web world since the early 2000s and has done everything from web development, community organization, training, blogging, and even running her own freelance business. She truly is the Web Princess!

She joined Human Made recently and made the transition from independent business owner to project manager on their team. A lot of her friends worked at Human Made before she joined their ranks, and she’s happy to have done so. On today’s show, she explains why she made the transition and how it’s been a good fit for her.

She also tells Cath about a big project she and her Human Made team are currently working on. Right now they are creating a new CMS and newsroom management workflow based on WordPress for a big newspaper publishing company. It incorporates the client’s different workflows, so it is unique to this company. There is a massive amount of customization, so much so it’ll nearly be unrecognizable from WordPress at the end.

It’s such a large project that Human Made will spend nearly a year on it. They started last October in 2016 and the site will go live in August of 2017.

Since she’s working on such a large project right now, Cath and Dee segued into the key aspects of project management (whether the project is big or small). Dee explains one key is to remember that you are always starting from nothing and creating from there, whether your project is small or large or in-between.

But when you’re working on a large-scale project, some things are different. For example, you have to remember you are coding for performance (you may have to code for a particular web host that allows some types of code and not others).

You also must have strong revision control and processes, so no one is tripping each other up and breaking things that have already been coded.

But the advantage in large-scale project management is that you can build in teams, and multiple people will be working on the same pieces; it’s a much more agile and flexible process than if one person was building a web site by themselves.

At about the 15 minute mark, Dee gives 3 pieces of advice based on her own personal experience:

1. Stop being scared of the client

An important piece of any working relationship is transparency. Be transparent with your client while staying in consistent, regular, but not constant contact with the client.

2. At the top of the project analyze what you are doing

See the big picture and the parts that are needed to create that big picture. Then have conversations with clients around those pieces explaining what you’re doing and why.
Get to the bottom of what the project is that you are building. Do this in consultation with the client and the people using the project. But doing it this way, you’ll build what they want, rather than what you think they need.

3. Do the stuff that is going to help build their business value first

You’re winning yourself over to the client in many ways when you do. Even with a standard WordPress project, you can break down all the parts you need.

So when creating a project make a backlog (which is just a list of all the things that are needed), and then use other tools to organize that backlog. You always want to be working towards something you can show the clients that is working; by doing this you create easy wins and valuable milestones, and you’re partnering with your client rather than creating an adversary who “gets in the way”.

Cath and Dee finish up with tools Dee recommends, including one you can start with now, and Dee’s takeaway on the most important thing necessary for good project management.

Join us for that and more on this edition of WP Elevation!

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