Web Team Success in the Campus Environment
November 14, 2005
Jenny Johnson Wolf and Lee Staton, Indiana University Southeast
- Customer-centered process.
- User-centered sites.
- Keeping sites “fresh.”
- Team seen as established experts.
- Adaptable, innovative, and collaborative.
- On-time deliverables.
- Meet expectations.
- Helpful resource vs. controlling.
- Improved site traffic.
How do we accomplish success? Teams and processes.
Team: It Takes A Village
- Account Manager
- Application Developer
- Usability Expert
- Information Architect
Build Your Team Based on Strengths
Recommended reading: Marcus Buckingham.
Do your employees get to do what they love every day?
Use Their Strengths
- Know your team.
- Know what can they do better than anyone.
- WOO (winning others over).
- Be willing to hire staff, then train them on the job.
- Keep your programmers engaged — let them stretch.
- Keep your creatives happy.
- Plan engaging meetings, lunches, and special functions.
- Collaborative workspace: Interior decoration colors and designs.
- Creative tools and virtual spaces.
Traps to Avoid
- Being in the same space doesn’t mean communication will happen.
- Encourage asking for help — make sure that questions move up the ladder.
Establish Team Members As Experts
- Attend department meetings.
- E-mail clients proactively.
- Take the lead on projects.
- Online training
- HR sessions
- Customer-service training sessions
- “Give ’em the Pickle” training: Extra level of service.
- “Fish” training: Seattle Fish market that turns work into fun.
What Does Your Customer Look Like?
- Often not very tech savvy.
- May never have looked at own site.
- May like spinning, flashing stuff.
- Feels pressure within own department, among peers.
- Misinformed on what Web is and isn’t.
- Doesn’t know about accessibility.
- Afraid they will be left out of process.
- Afraid there is something they won’t know.
Always focus on the goal: Web team success.
What Does Bad Team Collaboration Look Like?
- “We know best” parental attitude.
- Fake collaboration: Seeking input and not using it.
- Don’t show clients the mockups until too late.
- Leaves out key stakeholders.
- Ignores relational issues.
- Uses “one-size-fits-all” generic approach.
- Leaving customer angry or frustrated.
- Leaving a site customer who will not maintain site.
All aboard: We do want them to come along on the train.
Intelligent facilitation: Invest in a relationship with the client before it’s necessary for any project.
Initial Client Meeting
- Meet the players.
- Explain the process.
- Focus on the stakeholders and relationships.
- Discuss the look and feel: “What should the site say about you?”
- Review the current site.
- Guide expectations.
- Admit to timeline limits.
- Ask what other professional and personal sites they are using.
- Introduce accessibility: Turn off the monitor and have the client use the site with a screen reader.
- Be honest about the pipeline.
Traps to Avoid
- Meeting only with Deans or department heads.
- Meeting only with staff delegates.
- Present and explain information architecture to client as bulleted outline.
- Do usability testing, if possible.
- Must content be provided by client?
- Have a copy editor rewrite and edit pre-existing content.
- Present design mockup or functional prototype.
- Don’t get attached to results … it’s not art, it’s commerce.
- Conduct usability testing on final prototype.
Client Approval and Pre-launch Testing
- Go through pre-launch checklist.
- A Web site is born!
Post-launch Cleanup and CMS Training
- There are no perfect launches.
- Your customer can (and should) help identify any problems.
- If they won’t maintain it, it’s D.O.A.
- The human side is as important as the technical side.
- For the team to succeed, you must have someone who can take the lead on the human side.
- Momentum: Repeated success will carry you forward.
- Both team and process are moving targets — iterate.
Signs of Success
- Happy clients.
- Bragging clients.
- People keep asking you for your help.
- Student workers don’t want to leave.
- Work begets more work.
- You present at HighEdWeb!