Corporate web teams are often overburdened with a mix of one-time modification requests and huge initiatives.
Teams are forced to find a compromise between demands from other corporate stakeholders and internal web team goals.
This circumstance may result in a lot of unnecessary stress and excessive work. It may make getting the right task done difficult, including SEO-related criteria.
In this article, we’ll look at how to deal with this quandary by creating and adhering to a project prioritisation approach.
The Difficulties of Prioritizing Web Team Projects
Most corporate web teams include Development (developing and maintaining code and systems), Operations (posting content and making changes), and Strategy (specialties such as SEO, Analytics, UX, and Content) – in addition to management.
In a corporate setting, web teams are often in danger since they are expected to:
Maintain mission-critical infrastructure. 24/7/365.
Keep content that is not held by a stakeholder.
Execute projects as smoothly as possible with executive visibility.
Execute on an endless stream of content changes and technical requests from stakeholders throughout the organisation – the majority of which will likely go undetected by executives as long as they are completed appropriately and on time.
Improve your KPIs or OKRs, most of which will be driven internally.
Meanwhile, the group must:
Maintain the attention and involvement of the site employees.
Increase team morale and cohesion while preventing burnout.
Create and maintain documentation and automation scripts to aid in the completion of all other activities.
Demonstrate the significance of the Web team to other teams and high-level executives.
Demonstrate to the Web team leader and their management the importance of sub-teams and individuals.
Plan for the right amount of people with the right set of skills to do all that will be required in the next months and years for development, operations, and strategy.
Be ready to change course at any time.
Conflict may arise as a consequence of the team getting more requests and committed projects than it is genuinely capable of managing – or even as a result of intake and scope.
For a variety of reasons, just adding additional team members does not fix (and may potentially worsen) the problem.
Hiring and onboarding may take months, extra employees need more supervision, and separate projects requiring specialised staff or abilities can last just a few months (among others).
All of this takes time away from the team’s most effective, knowledgeable, and skilled individuals.
Because websites have grown into more than just the front door, but also the virtual headquarters, web teams are in a unique position inside large organisations.
As the globe has gone online (and more quickly owing to COVID), more individuals working from home must still be viewed as productive.
The number of demands for corporate online teams to publish new material, make minor updates, and connect with stakeholders has skyrocketed.
Many stakeholders see a web team as order takers rather than strategic partners.
The options are essentially as follows:
- Respond to every inquiry as quickly as feasible. This always results in excessive labour, burnout, and mistakes.
- A web team member spends a large amount of time evaluating and arbitrarily deciding on each request – whether to pursue it or not, and where it stands in the order of priority – as well as trying to explain to stakeholders why their projects are being delayed or not being worked on.
- A leadership committee reviews ideas on a regular basis and selects which kinds to support, which new projects to launch, and in what order.
- The team develops and follows a decision-making and prioritisation rubric or framework, which is used to analyse requests and prioritise among other responsibilities. If a request from a stakeholder must be delayed or disregarded, the web team may utilise the framework to explain it.
- These are not mutually exclusive – there is no reason why a committee cannot rely on a framework as well.
Whatever technique is utilised, communication with the whole web team as well as external stakeholders is crucial so that they understand how and why decisions are made.
Requirements for Basic Project Balancing
Before your team can prioritise the work they will commit to, a few essentials must be in place.
These are the boundaries that impact other people’s decisions and actions, as well as help the team define clear limitations with executives and other teams.
- Team Structure
Your online team should have a charter in place that includes information such as the mission statement, core values, and fundamental team goals.
- Current commitments, services provided, and systems maintained inventory
Consider making a list of the services the team provides to other teams, the systems and processes for which the Web team is responsible, and the commitments the team has made to executives and other business teams.
- Assessment of Potential New Projects
If there is already a backlog of future projects, you may accurately scope the projects to include likely dates, personnel required, cost, and so on, which helps in selecting which projects are worked on in what order.
- Leadership Assistance
If corporate management does not support the Web team’s ability to respond to stakeholder demands or views the Web team as strategic expert partners, your team will struggle to maintain the balance between internal Web-driven needs and the flood of requests received by the Web team.
- The Web Team’s Roadmap
It is vital to begin preparing tasks that will occur at different periods in the future.
Some projects are repeated several times, while others are done once and never again.
Some tasks must be finished within a certain amount of time.
Some initiatives are crucial, but lack a critical deadline and hence are deprioritized indefinitely.
Consider 6-month or 12-month roadmaps with particular projects outlined and a timetable for project completion in the near future.
Begin with projects with established dates, such as supporting quarterly product releases or an annual event, updating a crucial system’s version, or moving to a new technology, to prevent losing important functionality that will be phased out by a vendor.
Long-term planning might benefit from addressing extremely broad objectives over the course of two or three years. How do you see the team working in the future, and how does that vary from how it operates now?
A Framework for Project Prioritization
The methodology for prioritising web team tasks and requests is sketched out below.
Consider this a beginning point, but bear in mind what is most essential in your organisation and with your technological stack – and which buckets are most appropriate for your team.
Highest Keeping The Lights On (KTLO) – Addressing production defects that have a big effect on a large number of users, as well as crucial system upgrades.
Everything else on the list is dependent on these actions, which take priority when they occur.
Here are a few such examples:
- CMS-critical infrastructure updates
- A website or portion is inaccessible when the Status Code is 0 or 5XX.
- Expired hyperlinks
- Other features of the user interface for mission-critical web sites.
- Projects requested by a VP or other high executive, even though they do not seem to be likely to move the needle on a specified business-critical KPI.
The most essential thing you can do in almost any organisation is to support and trust your leaders.
Working on these projects may entail not working on other projects and maybe missing certain KPIs.
If a trade-off with other work is necessary, it is critical to tell the executive of what we will not be doing to fulfil their request so they may make an educated choice.
The trade-off KPI, which you are now less likely to meet, might become a stretch objective.
Here are a few such examples:
- The homepage is being redesigned.
- Site navigation is being redesigned.
- Making a microsite.
- Including visual flourishes.
- Firm-Critical Projects — These are projects that are required to keep the business running.
Typically, these requests assist stakeholders other than the Web team.
A senior executive may be aware of these efforts, but it is not their pet project.
Dealing with acquired websites, product renaming and launches, fixing analytics for existing reports/use-cases, legal-requested changes, retiring old domains & websites, updating an annual event website, publishing new blog posts, editing critical webpages, implementing cookie notices & accessibility standards are some examples.
Medium sWeb Team Initiated Projects – Projects initiated by a Web team to progress the team’s business KPIs and “doing the right thing” for the company.
Examples include optimising for conversion rate, increasing potential user experience, bringing a website up to date with competition in areas such as resource centres, improving product or free trial pages, A/B testing, or improving site navigation.
Web Team People Projects – Projects that illustrate the worth of the Web team or that promote team culture.
Quarterly on-site/off-site meetings, quarterly meetings with other business units, monthly analytics reporting, all-hands meetings, virtual or in-person coffee, games and team building activities, designing T-Shirts/mugs/swag for the team are some examples.
Enabling Projects — Projects that automate or free up Strategy, Development, and Operations time, allowing the Web team to focus on other projects.
Here are a few such examples:
- Reduced website/domain footprint.
- HTML componentization.
- Sitemap automation.
- A tool for redirect management.
- Jira cleaning up.
- Processes have been improved in collaboration with other teams.
- a low s
- Non-Critical Bugs — These are issues that must be addressed but may not have an immediate effect on business KPIs.
Here are a few such examples:
- End-users reported minor production issues on small pages.
- Resolving analytics concerns in order to allow future reporting use-cases.
- Improving the user interface for a subset of device types.
- Non-Critical Upgrades — These are site improvements that must be made, but not necessarily promptly.
Here are a few such examples:
- Removing redirect chains.
- A/B testing is not important.
- Optimization of site speed.
- User testing/feedback/surveys that aren’t important.
- Non-critical defects that are not visible to users (such as bugs on internal interfaces or redirection that do not include analytics monitoring) (such as bugs on internal interfaces or redirects missing analytics tracking).
- Requests from Other Stakeholders – Projects sought by others that are not vital to the company or Web team KPIs and are not supported by Executive leadership. If there is enough capacity, working on these initiatives may help improve connections across teams.
Depending on your team and organisation, some of these areas may be more or less important – or the duties may be totally different from what is stated here.
Other Considerations And Assumptions
Certain assumptions must be made in order to apply a project prioritisation framework. Some examples may be:
- A substantial backlog of possible projects will always exist. A website may always benefit from more optimization, automation, modifications, and upkeep.
- Not all projects are created equal. Some seem nice, others are recommended by senior executives, and some will get the site or team closer to a KPI.
- Some suggested projects are terrible ideas and should not be pursued.
- A web team cannot and should not respond to every request that comes in.
- Priorities should be guided by the priorities of the larger team to which the Web team reports – whether marketing, growth, or something else.
- When data is used to justify projects, prioritise tasks, or measure success, accuracy is critical. As a result, projects to improve or maintain data accuracy must be prioritised.
- Wrapping Up sWeb teams simply cannot do everything they want and everything their stakeholders – including those in SEO – expect of them.
Set up a framework to decide what the team should work on immediately, what to work on later (and what requests or projects to never touch).
By establishing a decision-making framework, you will avoid the pitfalls of arbitrary one-off decisions and help your team stay aligned and motivated to complete the most important work for the business.