principles of an effective web team

Principles of an Effective Web Team Mark Wahl Technical Director, - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Principles of an Effective Web Team Mark Wahl Technical Director, Jake Group @markawahl Becoming a Web Team Getting Started WordPress provides a great foundation for web developers looking to work freelance or build a small team. Challenges

  1. Principles of an Effective Web Team Mark Wahl Technical Director, Jake Group @markawahl

  2. Becoming a Web Team

  3. Getting Started WordPress provides a great foundation for web developers looking to work freelance or build a small team. Challenges will arise as a company matures and needs to begin managing growth. Dealing with problems is often reactive, and the trajectory of your team will be influenced by these decisions. One must be prepared to react.

  4. principle: a fundamental, primary, or general law or truth from which others are derived ( English )

  5. Why Principles? 1. Principles provide a foundation for strategic thinking. 2. Principles serve as guidelines for making decisions in the moment. 3. Principles act as a measuring stick for evaluation after the fact. 4. Principles make our approach clear to the entire team, allowing all to participate and contribute.

  6. A principle is discovered rather than created.

  7. Seven Principles for a Web Team

  8. Strive to know and understand the Understand identities, history, mission, capabilities, priorities, and goals involved with your work. Know your Projects. Know your Clients. Know Yourself.

  9. Teams are contextual, built to Engage actively engage anyone who can or should contribute to an undertaking at a given moment. Everyone involved in a project needs to be involved in the project.

  10. Choose tools, processes and Empower practices that empower the team to work flexibly, independently, and confidently. Be an enabler.

  11. Communicate clearly, openly and Communicate constantly on the full breadth of your work. Miss no opportunity to interact.

  12. Be biased towards action rather than incessant planning, individual Act initiative rather than top-down direction, creativity rather than Do it now, refine it later. perfection.

  13. Strive for simplicity in the products Simplify we create and the processes we use to create them, aiming for stable, repeatable, and learnable solutions. Entropy happens. Reduce your exposure.

  14. Grow Create and seize opportunities to experiment, to learn and to teach. Observe. Assess. Improve.

  15. Principles in Action

  16. Product Challenge: Choosing A Website Platform

  17. Choosing a Website Platform After building sites as a dev team of CHALLENGES one, increasing workload and project Growing team needs to be able ● scope required additional staff. to work together more Previous custom CMS became efficiently impractical. Clients expecting better CMS ● functionality Made decision in 2009 to move to an Custom CMS becoming less ● off-the-shelf system more and less stable and cannot be compatible with an evolving team. extended

  18. Solution: WordPress! We considered several options (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Expression Engine, DotNetNuke) and ultimately settled on … WordPress! We built our first WordPress site in 2009. UNDERSTAND ACT SIMPLIFY Clients : Client-base needs Short learning curve/low Support by core WP team ● ● ● reliable but simple CMS risk and developer community Company : Front-end Rapid system set up and Quality, widely-available ● ● ● customization is key to our CMS documentation identity Theme structure allows one Opportunity to build a ● ● Team : Works with existing developer to take lead reusable skeleton theme ● stack expertise Off-the-shelf themes ● permit rapid deployment (theoretically)

  19. Process Challenge: Working with Off-the-Shelf Themes

  20. Working with Off-the-Shelf Themes While mainly a custom shop, some CHALLENGES clients are looking for a cheaper, Identity as a boutique shop ● faster, simpler solution. conflicts with prefab solutions Such clients tend to need more Standard project workflows are ● ongoing maintenance and marketing oriented towards custom support, and have growth potential. development Config options vary widely ● Ongoing client relationships help from theme-to-theme mitigate work pipeline ebbs and flows.

  21. Solution: Multiple Systems, Evolving Process We’ve experimented with several approaches, including a multi-purpose theme ( Bridge ), a page builder plugin ( Elementor ), a custom WP multisite implementation, and non-WordPress hosted solutions ( Shopify ). UNDERSTAND ENAGE GROW Clients: What are their core Bringing in the client earlier Build workflow alternatives ● ● ● business needs? and more often depending on solution Projects : Some workflow Increased design/dev Expand design strategies ● ● ● steps change, others collaboration and adjusted beyond standard tools become doubly important roles Ongoing search for new ● Company : Bespoke without Supplement staff with tools ● ● building from scratch specific expertise

  22. Crisis Challenge: Taking Over a Floundering Project

  23. Taking Over a Floundering Project We provided audience analysis and CHALLENGES IA services to a client to inform its Project had little direction ● own internal redesign project. Client team lacked expertise in ● Client reported later it was having key areas trouble with execution and facing an Technology platform and tools ● impossible deadline. were substandard or nonexistent We had an interest in seeing the Deadline was being driven by ● project complete successfully. major calendar events and frustrated internal constituencies

  24. Solution: ‘Winston Wolfe’ It We took over project leadership, and after an assessment merged our team with theirs to bring the site to timely and successful launch, and have rolled out subsequent iterations. UNDERSTAND COMMUNICATE EMPOWER Client : Began with deep Face-to-face to understand Coordinate improvement of ● ● ● understanding of project situation/set expectations client IT infrastructure goals, users and client Regular and one-off meets Create staging environment ● ● Project : Assessment of with critical parties (core train on Git and provide ● project status, players and team, IT, executive board, access to project repo challenges 3rd party vendors) Establish quality assurance ● Company : Assess what we Daily stand ups with workflow and tools ● ● can provide given the above developer and access to and our existing workload communications tools

  25. Other Day-to-Day Uses Communicate Dev Team Tools : Git, Vagrant, Trello, Slack, Google Sheets, etc. Simplify, Empower DevOps : host sites using consistent configuration Understand Workflow Meetings : priorities, milestones, standups, failures Simplify, Grow Starter Theme : evolves with each project Understand, Grow Knowledge Sharing : team expertise presentations Empower, Communicate Knowledge Management : client/project info; documentation base Engage, Grow ManageWP : frame ongoing services Act, Simplify QA Checklists : processes for testing and refinements Act, Empower A Dev Team Project Approach : hero + standups + swarm Engage, Empower Flexible Team : full-time, part-time, freelance, contract, client

  26. “Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” - Groucho Marx

  27. For More Information Don’t take my word for it, come up with your own principles. Other Questions Further Reading Do similar principles hold for a larger 10 Principles of Agile ● organization? How to Build an Award ● Winning Design Team How do principles relate to a mission Amazon Leadership Principles ● statement? Being Winston Wolfe ● Can/should a small agency team do Agile?

  28. Mark Wahl Technical Director Thanks! Jake Group | @markawahl


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