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«Return to Blog List Reducing Development Time by Effective Planning in Multiple Team-Member Development

When developing a website or web application on your own—or with another person you’re used to working with—planning can be pretty informal without endangering the project. When you find yourself in a project that includes several team members, however, more formal attention to planning becomes critical.

Effective planning prior to development can reduce development time, eliminating time lost due to miscommunication, rework, and restarts. The planning phase should include all parties involved in development, though planning responsibilities may rest more heavily on some team members than others.

Planning is not just meeting and talking. If it’s to be useful, there are some basic tasks that need to be accomplished:

  1. Develop team-wide understanding of, agreement on, and support for website audiences, goals, and priorities.
  2. Define audiences as completely as possible in terms of demographics, personas, technological acumen/comfort levels; also goals, needs, and contexts of the users. Ideally (sometimes critically), research in audience definition should precede project planning.
  3. With understanding of the audiences, develop a content/technology plan about how to best serve their needs.
  4. Information architecture (IA): plan how content will be arranged and accessed on the website, utilizing wireframes to map out site structure and pathways to content for various types of site users.
  5. Resolve technical and budget issues that might arise from the content/technology plan; may mean adjusting goals, priorities, or deliverables.
  6. Establish and gain team-wide commitment to a timetable for development and launch.

Though much of the planning process takes place at the beginning of a project, it should be recognized that revisiting the plan at regular intervals and adjusting as necessary is characteristic of a sound and effective development process.

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