Businesses that are used to working with freelancers often question the importance of a web development project manager (PM). They believe that this additional link in the communication process may needlessly increase the price of a website, without providing enough value. Or they simply have no knowledge of what the job of the project manager involves.
However, larger WordPress solutions take more time, planning, and resources. A successful website project involves, amongst other things, carefully defining requirements and development milestones, iterating through different phases, ensuring that the overall product quality stays high at all times.
In this article, we shed some light on a web development project manager’s responsibilities and how they benefit the website creation process.
Why You Need a Dedicated Web Development Project Manager
Working with an employee or a freelance WordPress specialist usually means that a single person is responsible for both the management and the technical aspect of the WordPress development process. Changing hats all day and making sure that the project stays intact is extremely complicated, and few are capable of successfully maintaining the balance, without sacrificing quality.
A WordPress project manager is responsible for the website project planning and communicating the requirements between the customer and the development team.
Furthermore, experienced website project managers have a technical background which is vital for translating the requirements to milestones and constantly communicating the process between the development department and the client.
Benefits of Web Development Project Management
The communication and project management overhead could be 10-20% on top of the development work in most cases. As mentioned, this price jump creates concerns for business owners, as they may feel that they are stretching their budget in the wrong place.
However, website projects that are overseen by a dedicated project manager run more smoothly, have less client/developer friction, and deliver better overall quality and budget optimization.
Here’s how web development project management benefits building a website:
- Better quality. Developers can focus on their work without distractions – this improves the speed and quality of their work.
- Fewer mistakes. Developers dedicating more time to their tasks and refining the details means fewer mistakes, less QA work, and a reduced number of issues to fix.
- Improved decision-making. PMs serve as an intermediary between the client and the dev team and can find a common ground when project decisions have to be made.
- Less client involvement. PMs can identify project inconsistencies and resolve them without bothering the client.
- Improved communication. PMs have advanced B2B communication skills and technical background, which makes them capable to better understand the client’s ideas and translate them into practical solutions.
- Improved developer communication. PMs know how to talk to developers and how to help them optimize their working process.
- Optimized Budget. PMs oversee that the client’s needs and expectations are met within their required budget.
- Increased productivity. PMs manage risks, follow productivity, and make sure that deadlines are met.
All in all, having a PM is a legitimate expense for the successful completion of a top-quality WordPress project.
Top Qualities of Web Developer Project Manager
While a developer should be good at writing code and creating functional web solutions, a WordPress project manager should have a different set of skills:
- Organizational skills.
- Business management.
- B2B communication.
- WordPress knowledge.
- Basic web development.
- Attention to detail.
- People skills.
These qualifications allow a PM to stay on top of the development project and successfully mediate between the dev team and the client. Furthermore, by knowing the capabilities of the team, the steps of the development process, and the requirements of the project, the PM can plan and delegate the tasks for optimal productivity.
Website Development Project Management Plan
Part of a project manager’s responsibility is creating a website development project management plan. Having a step-by-step walkthrough of how the website building process will follow ensures that the dev team will have their priorities straight and their time and efforts will be optimized.
This, ultimately, reduces the hours the WordPress agency will spend on the project and improves the focus and productivity of the team.
The client, on the other hand, can be sure that their budget will be well-spent and their requirements met.
- Collaborating with the client. A project management plan starts with defining what the customer wants. This includes the purpose of their website, the target audience, the budget, any particular features they may request, and other ultimate objectives.
- Defining the project phases and activities. The next step is to list the tasks involved in implementing the project, prioritize them, and set milestones. The PM should plan for designing prototypes, wireframes, and mock-ups; development and design; content and copywriting; QA and testing; and deployment scheduling.
They should create a schedule for all activities, discuss it with anyone involved, and present it to the client.
- Building the project. While different teams work on their ends of the website, the project manager follows the progress of tasks and maintains communication with the client. Furthermore, the PM should monitor the workflow for any blockers and handle them accordingly.
At every major milestone, the PM may have meetings with the client to ensure that their requirements are met, and discuss how adjustments may affect the budget.
- Testing and optimization. The PM oversees that the quality of the final project meets the expectation of the customer and that the website is fully ready for deployment.
- Client training. The PM is responsible for handling or coordinating the client training process. Depending on the contracted conditions and the client’s technical knowledge, this part may involve different tasks.
Furthermore, if the client requests consulting on SEO and content management, this should be planned as well.
Having a dedicated web development project manager ensures the quality and success of a website project. While it may add up to the total cost of your WordPress agency, it is, nevertheless, essential for large and complex projects that may need longer hours to accomplish and involve the work of many experts.
At DevriX we assign a project manager to each project which usually includes 10% additional costs to the final project. Check out our work process and website development model.