From the Back Cover: The process of designing and building today's dynamic Web applications comes with a host of challenges not typically solved by traditional project management methodologies. A wealth of practical resources, Real Web Project Management: Case Studies and Best Practices from the Trenches is a book of solutions for designing, managing, and delivering virtually any type of Web-based project under even the most challenging of conditions. Based on solutions implemented from actual, real-world scenarios, this practical book offers a complete roadmap for navigating every facet of a contemporary Web project. Filled with tips and techniques, it provides practices to implement and pitfalls to avoid to ensure success. Beginning by outlining the responsibilities of the project manager, this hands-on guide then covers team assembly and communication, project definition, change management, planning strategies, and workflow before moving on to the design, build, and delivery stages. Although complete and comprehensive, the book's accessible format also provides immediate solutions for project managers seeking a quick answer to a particular problem. Issues covered include:
The Web project manager--definitions and responsibilities
The project team--assembling and tips for effective collaborative communication
The project--defining and planning, plus managing change in any type of environment
The Workflow--processes and analysis
The design and build phases--managing and quality control
The delivery of a completed project
The book is packaged with a value-added CD-ROM, which includes complete project plan templates, model Web sites, project checklists, consulting contracts, software vendor reviews, and more. Additional resources and templates are available on the book's accompanying Web site. All of this makes Real Web Project Management an essential reference for the working project manager, or for those new to the field. It is the most comprehensive resource available for planning, managing, and executing successful Web-based applications.
Review By: Cathy Bell 07/21/2003“I’ve managed projects for years. A web project can’t be any different.” I wonder how many project managers have regretted saying those very words? Projects on the web are usually driven by a widely publicized release date. The implications of missing the “date” usually make the release immovable. Web projects usually have less time from inception to release than standard projects take just to gather requriements.
The goal of this book is to coach the reader on how to make their Web projects meet business objectives, in the time allotted, by utilizing project management skills and processes. It contains many helpful tips and real life examples on the best way to run a project. According to the authors, “The stories herein are all based on real-life events; we couldn’t have made up some of this stuff if we tried”(xxii).
The book begins with an excellent “job description” of a Web project manager and moves on to discussion of teams. The discussion on dealing with “talented, well-paid and sometimes cranky experts” has many insights into the workings of a team and its players. There is practical advice on how to navigate the many personalities on your web project team. Tips are included on how to communicate effectively, how to listen to what is not said, and best practices to keep a lack of communication from sabotaging your project.
The author shows in chapter 4 how project documentation can serve as a road map to keep your web project on track. Rather than bogging down the project, the proper documentation will ensure a successful and timely product launch. The book comes with a CD that provides plenty of examples of tools that will make the documentation an easy beast to tame.
Chapter 5 details how the “scope of a project is the set of affordable systems and software that the project team has agreed to deliver.” There are many lessons on how to manage scope while avoiding the mentality of being the “scope police.” Chapter 6 discusses the importance of the planning process while chapter 7 tackles the subject of meetings.
Chapter 9 addresses managing the design phase. The role of a project manager is not to control the site design, but rather to ensure a “smooth sign-off process for each deliverable while making sure the client honors the sign-off procedure.” This may sound like a simple task but with so much riding on the site design, this is a critical component.
The technical build phase can inspire fear in the heart of a project manager. All the deliverables from the previous stages of the project are now coming together. Chapter 10 talks about how to manage the technical build utilizing a good code review process.
What happens when the QA team gets involved? Chapter 11 deals with how quality assurance testing is very different on the Web than it is in a traditional software project. This process can be trying for both the development team and the QA team but this book offers practical advice on how to “avoid a messy QA phase” and deploy a quality product.
The release date has arrived and the project is complete. Chapter 11 shows the steps involved in the actual site launch and prepares you for the hectic pace wrapped around the release date. The case study “The Most Expensive Launch that Never Happened” is so funny, sad, and real, I’m sure anyone who has been part of a Web site launch will find themselves somewhere in this story.
The best time to lobby for changes in your organization may be after a successful launch. Chapter 13 shows how to lobby for a Project Management Office.
This book is a truthful look at Web project management. Web projects do not have to be pure chaos. Project managers can learn to apply both traditional project management skills and some intuitive, on-the-fly practices to launch a successful site. This book is full of examples and advice on how to accomplish this task. The author has tapped his own years of experience, and that of others, to share with the reader practical advice on how to deal with these changes so they do not sabotage the release. A project manager must be able to communicate with each member of the project team and identify gaps in the communication process to fill those gaps.
This book guides the reader through this maze of interpersonal relationships and communication. And, best of all, the accompanying CD has very useful sample documents and templates. These include a complete project plan template, project checklists, an outline to help with championing a Project Management Office within your company, a database to track issues, and even an example contract when the need arises to hire a consultant for your project. There are references to additional resources throughout the book and updates are available on the book’s accompanying Web site.