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How to manage the deadlines of a website?

If, like me, you were not able to manage the deadlines of a website, this article about my mistakes and the way I dealt with them will surely interest you.

Updated on

5/8/2020

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

We all dream of signing a big contract, of realizing a big project of website creation... And if one day, this dream becomes reality? Actually, I recently had the chance to live my dream. Everything didn't go as planned, unfortunately. I made a mistake: I didn't know how to manage the deadlines of a website. However, respecting deadlines is important.

Why do we have to meet deadlines?

Isn't the important thing to deliver a quality project, regardless of the delivery date? This is not false; quality must be assured first and foremost. But managing a website's deadlines and meeting them is the same as respecting the client himself. Your image is then enhanced in his regard. He trusts you so much that he won't hesitate to recommend you to his network.

On the other hand, there's a reason why at the beginning of your exchange he asked you how long you would be able to complete his project. He also has plans and deadlines to stick to. He, too, has surely announced to his colleagues and clients a specific date (according to the time frame you have estimated). He may even lose money if the deadline is not met.

However, managing and meeting a website's deadlines goes beyond these facts. It is also a way for you to work less. The more you accumulate delays, the more work you have to do, and the more difficult it becomes... As the saying goes, "the sooner the better".

I know you're aware of that. As a matter of fact, so was I when I offered my last client a two-month extension on a big project. However, the problem was that I didn't analyze the situation properly. But how do you analyze it?

Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

How to manage the deadlines of a website?

I'll guide you through my mistakes.

First mistake: all projects look the same

However, this is not the case. They are all different according to the customer's requirements (details, features, number of pages, type of design...). Managing deadlines for a large website is never easy.

Before, I used to take care of average projects, i.e. websites of 5 to 10 pages. I completed them in less than two months, more or less. It's quite natural that I thought that the recent project my client entrusted me with was the same. It was very different that I even used the help of a few people. 3 other people helped me.

Second error: not being reasonable in the dates

As this was a larger project, 2 months was clearly not enough time. The estimate was simply unreasonable, because it actually took me about 6 months. I did not take into account any contingencies.

In this case, my client is understandable and responsive. But have you ever thought about the kinds of clients who are not very responsive? Their attitude will delay the project.

How to organize a project?

I have a roadmap on which I base myself before managing the deadlines of a website, and setting a date.

There is a Youtube video in which I describe this at the bottom of the article. Support me by subscting to the YouTube channel "Happy Desk Design"

Photo by Mariam Soliman on Unsplash

1) Divide your project to better manage the deadlines of a website

I divide each web project into 5 distinct steps:

  • vision
  • structure
  • design
  • development
  • publication online

As you can see, I don't just design a website (it's only a part of the long process); a whole reflection, a gathering of elements... are behind it. Each of them should be considered. Not only does it save you a lot of time in the realization of the project, but you will be able to better estimate the delivery time.

When dividing your project like this, try to be as detailed as possible (obviously, by setting a non-exhaustive date).

2) Take margins

To help you stay as realistic as possible when you start managing the deadlines of a website, how about taking margins for each date you set? A 30% margin is more than enough in my opinion.

You may have noticed that e-commerce sites offer a delivery date of 5 days, whereas after 2 days, the package arrives at your door. So take a look at them. Your customers can only be satisfied!

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Take some precautions

Even if you've taken all these steps, you have to look beyond that. What will you do if you can't deliver your project on time? This is precisely where you need to make the necessary arrangements, by setting a very precise general condition of sale. For my part, I have written that the deadlines set are only indicative. I will not be penalized if I fail to deliver the project on time.

I'd rather warn you anyway: missing a delivery date is unprofessional. Maybe for beginners it's okay, but not for experienced people!

Conclusion
Managing the deadlines of a website is of paramount importance. There is no excuse for delays in delivery, and this should be valid for beginners. You are therefore very lucky that I share my experiences with you. Take advantage of this opportunity not to make the same mistakes I made! Don't think that all projects are the same and stop trying to impress your customers by giving them an unrealistic deadline.

Come back to this page whenever you want. Did you come up with any ideas I might have forgotten? If so, what are they? Leave a comment below or send an email to hello@happydesk.be.
Kevin Palombo, Manager of Happydesk.

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