The qualities of a good project manager can be described nicely by
adapting Larry Wall's Three Great Virtues of a Programmer: Laziness,
Impatience and Hubris. My version goes like this:
Laziness: The desire to put great effort into reducing overall
energy expenditure such as late nights and weekends in the office. It drives
you to create a labor-saving process that other people will find useful, and
document what you developed so youíre not answering so many questions.
Hence, the first great virtue of a project manager. (And hence,
Impatience: The anger you feel when the process isn't working properly.
This makes you create a process that doesn't just react to your needs, but
actually anticipates them. Or at least pretends to. Hence, the second
great virtue of a project manager.
Hubris: Excessive pride, the sort of thing Zeus zaps you for. Also the
reason you write (and maintain) a process that other people
won't say bad things about. Hence, the third great virtue of a
Depending on the size and budget of your Web project you could be working
with millions of dollars and dozens of people around the world, or you could
be building a five-page site about your dog Sparky. I just finished a job
where the client was located in Switzerland and Italy, the design team was
in San Francisco, user interface was in New York, business affairs in
Atlanta, and engineering in India.
However small or big the site is, you
still need to start a project with some kind of a process, whether itís the one I'm
going to describe below or one of your own.
Once you have an acceptable process framework, document it and lead
the entire staff through a training session. Be certain everyone understands
it and agrees with it. Once you have a structure, it can be can improved and used
over again and again. The staff will get used to it and find it becomes second nature. They'll wonder how they managed without it.
Be consistent. If it's going to help, everyone needs to
follow it even if you think you can get by without it -- just this once. The
process is a tool that keeps the work predicable and easier to manage.
Have a checklist
For your own sanity, put together a checklist of everything that must be completed to launch the site. Pass it by others in your team in case
you forget something. It's a good place to list things like 'Check that
group server permissions are set up correctly' or 'Arrange for approvals and
reviews of UI and design.' You can even assign dates to
create a schedule for yourself.
I'm going to take you through the four basic stages of development for a Web project.
You need to understand what happens during each stage in
each department. Only then can you schedule and hire properly. This takes
practice, but soon it will become second nature.