Real Web Project Management: Case Studies and Best Practices from the Trenches

Real Web Project Management: Case Studies and Best Practices from the Trenches

by Thomas J. Shelford, Gregory A. Remillard

ISBN-10: 0321112555

ISBN-13: 9780321112552

Pub. Date: 10/28/2002

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

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

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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 road map 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 complete and comprehensive 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. The book's accessible format also provides immediate hands-on 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

This 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 at

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.


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Table of Contents




About the Authors.

1. The Project Manager: Who You Are and What You Do.

Who You Are.

The Best Seat in the House.

What You Do.

The Enabler.


2. Web Team Roles.

Common Web Team Roles.

The Project Stakeholder.

The Producer.

The Editor.

The Information Architect.

The Graphic Designer.

The HTML Developer.

The Developer.

The Tech Lead.

The Database Administrator.

The Quality Assurance Engineer.

Common Team Problems.

Missing in Action-Become Part of the Team.

The Micromanaging Stakeholder.

Case Study: Startup Breakdown.


3. Communication Cues.

Communication: What It Is.

The Unambiguous Information Society.

Translation Skills.

Nonverbal Communication.

Communication: What It Isn't.

It Takes Tact.

Know Your Audience.

Communication Best Practices.

Best Practice #1: Plan to Communicate.

Best Practice #2: The Issue Log and the Change Request Form: Communication Tools for Control.

Case Study: Peeling the Corporate Onion.


Interview: The Voice of Experience. Tracy Brown.

4. Defining the Project.

The Creative Brief.

Getting Started with Internal Initiatives.

Project Documentation.

Needs Assessment.

The Project Charter.

The Statement of Work.

Use-Case Scenarios.

Wireframe Mockups.

Content Map.

Tech Requirements Meeting.

Application Flow Diagrams.

Technical Specification.

Project Risk Assessment.

Case Study: Defining the Project with HTML “Shells”.


5. Managing Change.

A New Perspective on Scope.

Classic Scope Control.

The Project Web Site-Getting Everyone on the Same (Home) Page.

Managing Scope Change.

The Project Triangle-Scope, Schedule, Resources.

Getting Project Documents Approved by the Client.

Playing Defense.

Problems with Classic Approaches.

Iterative Approaches.

Common Scope Headaches.

Problem #1: I Sketched the Site Out on a Napkin-Is that Okay?

Problem #2: It's Nice, But It's Not What We Had in Mind.

Problem #3: Just One More Tiny Little Change…


Interview: Extreme Programming—Alex Cone.

6. The Art of Planning.

The Project Schedule.

Infatuation with Planning Software.

Planning by the Numbers.

The Work Breakdown Structure.

Drafting the Schedule.

Assigning Resources.

Obtaining Approval and Scheduling Work.

Plan (and Pay) as You Go.

Using Your Judgment.

Planning Pitfalls.

Approvals and Revisions.

Copy Editing for Design.

QA Testing.

Prelaunch Review.

Case Study: Planning Software Overload.


7. Learning to Love Meetings.

Why Are We Here?

The Agenda Is Your Road Map.

Meeting Pitfalls.

Common Project Meetings.

Kickoff Meetings.

Status Meetings.


Case Study: The Exploding Meeting.


8. Workflow.

Workflow for the Web.

Benefits of Workflow Planning.

Creating Workflow Standards.

Code Review: Standards for Developers.

What Processes Do You Need?

Documenting Your Current Workflow.

Workflow Analysis.

Workflow Recommendations.

Content Production Workflow.


9. Managing the Design Phase.

Is Information Architecture the Designer's Job?

Design Production.

Revisions and Sign-off: Making the Client Happy.

Design Production Phases.

Internal and External Design Groups.

The Internal Design Experience.

The External Design Experience.

How Technical Do Designers Need to Be?


Interview: The Information Architect Role in Practice—Fabrice Hebert.

Interview: How We Manage Design—David Young.

10. The Technical Build.

Anxiety over the Technical Build.

Mitigating the Fear Factor.


What Is Model-View-Controller?

A Generic Technical Build.

The Tech Kickoff Meeting.

Infrastructure Configuration.

Component Inventory.

Data Modeling.

Display Markup.

Application Coding.


Code Review.

Code Review Guidelines.

Production Challenges.

Problem #1: The Designer's Blind Date.

Problem #2: No News Is Not Good News.

Problem #3: “You need Java? Cool! I used to work at Starbucks!”.

Case Study: A Recipe for Disaster.


11. Surviving Quality Assurance.

A Common Scenario.

Quality Assurance for the Web.

What Does QA Test For?


Browser and OS Compatibility.


Internal Standards.

Performance and Load Handling.



How Does QA Test Web Sites?

The QA Process.

Early Quality Assurance Milestones.

The Bug Database.

The Testing Process.


Rounds One, Two, and Three.

The Blessing.

The Politics of QA.

That's Not a Bug, That's a Feature!

Who Needs Code Reviews?

Case Study: Burning QA.


12. Getting It Out the Door.

The Final QA Phase.

The Soft Launch.

Launch Deliverables.

Turning over the Keys.

Going Live.

The Launch Moment.

Case Study: The Most Expensive Launch that Never Happened.


13. Leading Organizational Change.

The Invisible Team Member.

Common Organizational Structures.

Functional Organizations.

The Functional Matrix.

The Project Matrix.

The Project Unit.

Early Stages of Project Management.

The Project Management Office.

Establishing a Project Management Office.

Case Study: Establishing Web Project Management at a Media Company.


Appendix A: Project Quick-Start Guide.


Business-to-Business Portals (“Vortals”).

E-Commerce Web Sites.

Putting the “E” in E-Commerce.

What Kind of E-Commerce?

The E-Commerce Project Plan.

E-Commerce Nuts and Bolts.

E-Marketing Projects.

The Message IS the Medium.

The Campaign Process.


International Web Sites.



Back-end Inventory.

Code Cleansing.

Content Management.


Editorial Muscle.


It Doesn't Get Much More Political than This.

Whose Site Is It Really?

Who's Going to Take Care of It?


You'll Need a Marketing Plan Too.

Intranet Resources.

Appendix B: Technology for the Web Project Manager.

What You Really Need to Know-Frameworks.

Microsoft .NET.

Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Enterprise Edition.

The Open Source Initiative.

Object-Oriented Design.

CRC Cards.

The UML.

Web Services with XML.

Content Management Systems.

Digital Rights Management.

Appendix C: Useful Web Sites.

Recommended Reading.

Index. 0321112555T10042002

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