Regardless of whether you're implementing a Web CMS, iterating a web application or building a new web platform from scratch your technical project environment is probably fairly chaotic -- most are. Here are 8 management tips for balancing the oft dueling needs of forward progress and longer term software sanity.
I am currently providing web product management services for two clients. One client is a start-up launching a new web-based product. The other is a 100 year old newspaper. While at face value these two clients couldn't appear to be more different, they are actually quite similar.
Both clients are trying to innovate a viable product. The startup is building a new concept. The newspaper is a trying to re-imagine an old concept.
In both cases the development backlog is a chaotic mess of items that range from little tweaks to major features. There is impatience for progress -- but that urgency needs to be balanced with the need to build something that is scalable and sustainable if the business succeeds. The truth is most websites operate under these conditions to some degree. It is just the ambition of these two businesses raises the stakes and the stress level.
To be successful in these projects, I have had to draw on lots of different skills and experiences. Many of the concepts and techniques come from agile methodologies like Scrum and Lean software development. What follows is a list of principles and practices that I have found to be effective.