I’d like to save a bunch of you from the heartache that comes with realizing you’ve made a mistake in your digital project planning that could cost you your launch.
A digital project requires the “content creatives” to work with the “digital techies”. The problem with this is that both will feel their work is more important. Both sides will push for more time. The truth of the matter is that everybody needs an adequate amount of time to do his or her job.
Unfortunately, no matter what, digital production requires content to move forward so your content due dates are crucial to a successful launch. To avoid bottlenecks, you need to be strategic in handling your timeline milestones from the very beginning.
Avoid these five mistakes in your project timeline management and you will bypass common delays and launch on time.
It’s really important to have test content ready for the early stages of your project. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s best if you have three or four pieces of content ready ahead of time, for each section of the new website. Your developers will be able to test a variety of scenarios to make sure your CMS will accommodate the desired functionality.
It’s crazy to have one due date for launch content. A website will have many sections and many pages. To have it all at once is too overwhelming for any team. Space out your due dates by section and content type so that both teams can start working simultaneously once the first content due date is met.
Testing is one of those things that most people won’t understand if they’re not on the ground level of digital production. Most will fight to shorten the testing period or ignore it altogether. This will be a battle – work it into your timeline somehow and enforce it no matter what. The result will be a better user experience for your readers and a product that performs to the standard everybody expects.
It’s important to remember that human error exists and that during the inputting phase, mistakes happen. It’s important to review the content once it’s been processed into the CMS. Things like italics, bolds, links and even characters like apostrophes and dashes sometimes don’t get carried over. Additionally, things read differently on screen so your content may benefit from some last-minute edits.
A soft launch is good for manner reasons. It does give you that last bit of padding time-wise for unexpected delays, but it really pays to review your new site in its working entirety with fresh eyes. My favourite part of this phase is to send links out to family and friends, getting them to experience the new site and provide useful feedback that might require attention.
What lessons have you learned on your way to launch and what mistakes will you avoid in the future?